"The issue is how are you doing relative to your peer group," Maoz says. "The issue is where are you, where are you inside our own industry and what can you do about it."
But across companies and industries, Maoz sees some general strategies that can lift an organization's customer experience apparatus, ranging from taking an honest look to discern what, in fact, the typical customer wants most from an interaction with the firm to an effort to "act as one," delivering customers a consistent experience regardless of whether they are interacting with a representative on the phone, in a store or online.
To achieve their desired effect, those and any other similar customer-service efforts will require an alignment of front-office operations with back-office processes, and it never hurts to bring some C-level clout to the operation, either.
EMC's Customer Service System Supports Success
Maoz describes the customer-service apparatus in place at enterprise-storage giant EMC, which he says has engendered a 99 percent loyalty rate based on product support.
So attuned have EMC's systems become to their major clients' storage systems, "If you have a breakdown of one of those things, it will tell you instantly. I mean, EMC gets a message before you know about it," Maoz says.
And when a repair ticket comes in from one of those A-list clients?
"If something breaks, they have a four-hour window for their critical customers," says Maoz.
With the clock ticking, EMC's tech support team has a strict timetable for a phased response. Within the first hour, the customer must have received word about EMC's plan to address the issue. By the end of the second hour, the response team is to be deployed, and then on site working on the problem within four hours.
If the first deadline slips, according to Maoz, EMC's CTO is notified. If the second hour passes without sufficient progress, the head of customer service is alerted. The next alert goes to the corner office.
"After that you might as well just flip the switch and kill yourself, because the CEO gets a message," says Maoz. "You know what you don't want to hear? The CEO's voice at EMC, because that's the hatch door falling."
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