Enhancing Customer Experience and Service Using Flowcharts

“This goes back to technology, so pick a great CRM with job-flow charts” – Tommy Mello

Each of us is a customer for some business / company, and in our experience we know that great customer service is usually the difference between staying with a company and leaving it for a competitor. How a business treats its customers decides the perception of a brand – you could be the best brand and yet your customers could be lining up at the door of a smaller competitor because it provides top class service. It makes sense to understand that amongst the top ways to boost sales and profits, is by visibly and significantly enhancing customer experience and service processes and the standard of the customer service team. Smart companies use simple yet effective tools to meet this objective – one such tool being flowcharts.

Before deploying tools however, it is important for a business to first understand the expectations of their customers. Conducting surveys and research, monitoring customer complaints, asking for and analyzing customer feedback, and ensuring the decision makers within the company speak to customers regularly – all great methods to learn what customers expect. Based on the expectations, a business would be better equipped to establish and maintain service quality standards and values that everyone within the organization would need to follow. Setting expectations of customer service personnel does not suffice, it is important to ensure that the staff is trained to meet service demands both from the technical and soft skills aspects. With training, staff would be empowered to make spot decisions to speedily resolve customer issues.

To be able to monitor whether your business is able to keep up to the established service standards, deploying a flowchart makes a lot of sense. As a visual tool a flowchart has the ability to outline process steps in a simpler and easy to follow format – saving the time and effort of service staff to flip through pages of text based instructions, which could be onerous and tough to understand. Enhancing customer experience and service is critical to success, and flowcharts are an ideal tool to help a business with also helping the customer service team to perform optimally at all times. Using a flowchart enables the business to understand what customers would receive at each step of a process, and whether the order in which they receive is exactly as they expect. Putting down the process steps in a flowchart, facilitates stronger internal communication and allows people from other teams to remain aware of their responsibilities towards customers, either directly or indirectly. When each person within a company has the same understanding of how to enhance customer experience and service, the results would be significantly better and sustainable.

By adding ‘swimlanes’ to a basic flowchart not only will the flowchart depict the process in sequential steps, it would also illustrate which team / member would be responsible for a step / task within the process. This would help to enhance customer experience and service since it would become easier to identify efficiencies within the process – an inefficient step or team / person. Quick identification of such inefficiencies through a flowchart enables quick resolution, which in turn enhances customer experience and service. Additionally, the documentation of processes using flowcharts helps to standardize processes, use them as training material and disseminates them throughout the organization both locally and across the world where the company may have offices.

The main purpose of a customer service team is to resolve any problems / issues that customers may face. Through a flowchart it would be simpler for the team to understand what steps they need to take in order to provide the most accurate solution for a particular problem. In addition, there may be times when the service team may face issues with finding quick solutions for a problem, and this is also when a flowchart can be effective to analyze the issue step by step, and arrive at a smart solution.

One of the main concerns that customers have is that customer service agents are unable to communicate effectively, causing lowered customer experience and service. A flowchart can be used as a script that visualizes the flow of a conversation between an agent and a customer. The flexibility that a flowchart affords, allows the content / ‘conversational script’ to be adjusted as required, and the flowchart can also serve as an efficient tool to train new service agents.

One of the top ways of enhancing customer experience and service is by a clear understanding of the incidents / encounters a customer may have when they interact with a company. This is defined as the customer journey and is amongst the most potent ways for a business to know whether they are succeeding at engaging their customers at every possible occasion and in the best manner conceivable. Using a flowchart to map their experiences and ‘behavior’ with the products, will allow the service agents and other teams to communicate better with the customers. In addition, by mapping the information received from the target audience, it would make it easier for a business to address similar issues faced by a larger market.

Flowcharts not only assist the service teams to enhance customer experience and service, but also help marketers to make better assessments of the products and services that customers prefer. The flowchart approach helps the marketing team to plan and leverage the journey of customers with the aim of enhancing customer experience and service. Flowcharts are a data driven methodology that capture the most and least favored interaction points for customers, enabling rectification of problem areas, thereby significantly elevating the customer journey. Happy customers make great brand ambassadors by spreading the positive word of mouth for a business / brand.

As mentioned the customer service team is usually the first point of contact for customers, and hence it makes good business sense to ensure that they are thoroughly and accurately trained in dealing with customers. In companies that support large teams and or those that face high employee turnover, it becomes even more important to have a quick yet effective method to train new team members in customer support. The visual and lucid nature of flowcharts enables even the new members to quickly grasp the various processes, understand how each process fits into the overall aim of enhancing customer experience and service, and what role they essay to ensure that customers remain satisfied with the company.

Given that customer service can be a high pressure point for any business, and for the staff that works therein, it would seem counter-intuitive to have thick and cumbersome instruction manuals. Flowcharts on the other hand prove to be extremely beneficial as manuals and guides for the users, since they would explain cumbersome text and processes using basic text and symbols, easily understood with one read. As part of enhancing customer experience and service and contributing to the overall business process improvement (BPI), using flowcharts to map processes is an effective and robust strategy. BPI is not only the collection and storing of customer data, but also the effective presentation and assimilation of the data by those responsible in the first instance, to help customers.

A simple tool such as a flowchart proves extremely beneficial in enhancing customer experience and service by standardizing and visually presenting steps of a process. Do you have your flowcharts in place yet?

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