Anyone who knows me will know that I like to talk about the Customer Experience. It’s my job, I know it and I love it! So I’m sure you can imagine that the recent BA fiasco really caught my attention and got me thinking, if their IT infrastructure isn’t up to scratch, how is their Customer Service looking?

The huge furore surrounding BA’s systems failure has shone a big bright spotlight on how they handle the complaints procedure and the customer journey – something that their customers are having to deal with before they even take off the ground.

I’ve read many stories about the complaints process, about customers being told via BA’s online complaints form that they will need to appeal to their insurers in the first instance, to seek financial compensation or track lost luggage, possibly incurring an excess. How frustrating would this be after suffering days of delay, both costly and a further drain on time! There are further reports of numerous phone calls going unanswered and a text messaging service alerting customers to collect baggage from airports in countries they hadn’t been able to fly to! Sadly, it seems the left hand wasn’t in tune with the right throughout the whole process.

So I wanted to outline a few trends and modern practices in CX across all sectors, so you know how it can be done and, frankly, should be done – especially by a big-hitter like BA.

We look for these high standards in our UKCX Awards. It’s exciting and inspirational to see businesses handling these areas of operations smoothly and successfully and many are ahead of the CX curve – BA take note!

Big Data and Personalization

Technology has made it easier than ever before to personalize Customer Services as Big Data gives us trends and personal insights. There should be no reason why a company as vast as BA can’t tailor their customer interaction individually. The example given above about customers being notified to collect their baggage from countries they weren’t in….that could have been avoided with more efficient gathering of customer data to build an individual profile, offering a personal touch for communications.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

This is already proving very effective at driving companies forward in their CX and providing a better experience for customers. It helps to make better decisions for businesses and customers, and although it can’t replace human interaction 100%, it massively supports those in Customer Service roles, often being referred to as an Intelligent Assistant.

The Rise of Chatbots

Chatbots are getting better! Working together with AI, the experience of communicating via these mechanisms is improving. They are able to create a positive experience with the user and many are now sophisticated enough to hand over to a real person when they recognise that a customer is confused or that the dialogue isn’t going as expected. The whole BA operation would have been under massive strain last week and if chatbots could take as much of that strain as possible, the human support staff might have had more room to breathe and been able to work under a bit less pressure.

Proactive Customer Service

This is so important. In this instant-access world of wanting things NOW, proactive customer service is an important strategy. Just think if BA had sent just one email pre-empting the flood of queries and complaints. They would have got out of the starting blocks and been respected for facing up to the situation. Sitting back and waiting for customers to make the first contact is perhaps the easier approach to take but doesn’t give the impression of a company that wants to grab the bull by the horns and improve the CX journey, even under such dire circumstances.

So, is your business applying these simple, yet vital strategies to your customers’ journeys? Are you doing all you can to provide the best Customer Experience possible?

Come and test your mettle at the UK CX Awards. Entries close on 30th June and the awards ceremony and gala dinner takes place on 28th September. It’s a huge event in the CX calendar and there is a vast amount of kudos to be gained by even being a finalist, not to mention an overall winner!

Written by: Neil Copping, General Manager at Awards International

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Customer Experience Magazine

Published for all CX professionals, the digital Customer Experience Magazine is packed full of industry news, blogs, features, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience. CXM will help you learn what makes an outstanding customer experience that wins both awards and the hearts of customers. And sometimes we share some cool music as well.