Are Quality Interventions in Customer Engagement Beneficial?

Is the drive to apply quality management tools always a good thing? Not always, as many organizations have found out the hard way.

Most of the popular quality matrices, such as Six Sigma, focus on standardization and averages. While this makes sense in a factory or plant layout when dealing with inanimate materials, application of such concepts in the customer interface space may do more harm than good.

A good example is automated customer support numbers. An automated customer support center, which directs the users to press different buttons on the phone based on the instructions, does wonders for in house efficiency and productivity. However, nothing irritates a customer more than having to navigate  multiple obstacles and waste precious minutes waiting to speak to a customer service representative regarding a simple matter, which may not even be available in any of the given options.

This system may work well for most basic questions and problems. However, the business environment today is far from ideal and the world we live in is imperfect. This brings about unique situations more often than not, and going overboard with standard fixes in such situations is like trying to plug a round hole with a square peg.

Implementing systems and procedures are always a good thing, but such systems and procedures should focus on the customer rather than in-house process efficiency. Try to cater to unique situations and customized service.  A quality intervention should increase customer engagement, not reduce customer engagement to a mechanical menu-based process.

The bottom line: adopt quality interventions for a purpose, and let that purpose be customer satisfaction, as it is satisfaction that nurtures engagement. Providing quality for the sake of quality, or jumping on the bandwagon for some popular technology, without a focus on customer satisfaction most often results in customer DIS-engagement!

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