Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

Xerox – Dedicated to Customer Experience

Posted by Becky Carroll on February 22, 2007

xerox-3.jpg“Xerox is dedicated to a great customer experience.”  This is according to their CEO, Anne Mulcahy.  For a technology company, nowhere is this more important than in customer service and support.  I recently interviewed Bill Steenburgh, senior vice president Xerox Services, to learn how Xerox uses certification to focus on customer experiences.

Customer service and support is among the top 3 considerations for B2B companies when purchasing technology.  Xerox recently became the first company to earn back-to-back recognition for their Enterprise Document Management Solution customer service and support in North America under the Certified Technology Service and Support program.  The program was jointly developed by J.D. Power and Associates and the Service and Support Professionals Association(SSPA).  I read about this from the SSPA, then I read this post by Meikah over at Customer Relations which has a short Xerox customer testimony.  I asked Bill how Xerox accomplished this distinction.  (Note: Joanne Weigel of the SSPA helped fill in the details on the JD Power certification process.)

The Best Possible Experience

“Do what’s right for the customer — that’s our grounding principle.”  To support this principle, Xerox communicates the following four themes through which they focus on the customer:

  • Dedicated to a great customer experience
  • Your experience, our priority
  • Unmatched breadth and depth of support capabilities
  • Convenient, fast, reliable, and responsive

According to Mr. Steenburgh, while the J.D. Power certification was awarded to the delivery of service and support, Xerox focuses on the complete customer experience in all of their activities.  This includes the product and service experience, cradle to grave.   All customers will benefit from the improvements which come from Xerox’s certification.  He says,

“The rigorous evaluation to become certified continually raises the expectations for technical service providers to deliver an outstanding customer experience.”

The Process 

In order to achieve certification, Xerox went through a two-phase process.  The first phase was an audit to look at how Xerox runs their support operations.  The second phase was an independent survey of Xerox customers, based on recent support interactions, with results benchmarked against competitors in the same industry.

In the first phase, Xerox had their support centers put under the microscope.  Over two to three days, auditors physically visited the support centers and reviewed everything, soup to nuts, comparing what they found against a list of support best-practice criteria.  The review included evaluation of areas such as in-house and partner call center operations, call listening, call center metrics, internal talent, agent retention, back-end processes, and field operations among others.  Interviews were conducted with first line managers as well as individual contributors to confirm the operational processes which had been outlined by senior management.  The audit process was quite intensive!

Why Did Xerox Pursue Certification?

I asked Steenburgh why Xerox chose to pursue the J.D. Power certification.  The following are Xerox’s four reasons, in his words:

  1. Improve our processes.  To prepare, we had to internally review our service delivery processes in over 300 separate categories.  We thoroughly assessed ourselves and utilized LSS (Lean Six Sigma) to improves our processes and challenge ourselves where our practices did not align with the processes.
  2. External benchmarking and validation.  J. D. Power rigorously audited our processes and viewed evidence.  This audit resulted in an external assessment and benchmarked our strengths and developmental opportunities.
  3. Demand Creation.  External validation drives awareness of our service delivery capabilities and created demand for Xerox products and services.
  4. Recognition.  This certification recognizes the excellence in service delivery we provide day in and day out.

The Business of Customers

Excellence doesn’t come by accident.  It is not achieved by call center agents committing “random acts of CRM” or who are extra-friendly.  Excellence is achieved with careful planning and execution.  Steenburgh attributes Xerox’s success in earning this certification two years in a row to the discipline of Lean Six Sigma.  “(We have) strict adherence to processes and procedures that are continually focused on delivering an outstanding customer experience.  Nothing new was developed for this certification; this is the way we do our business.”

One of a company’s goals would be to craft the optimal customer experience at each stage of the customer lifecycle, taking the needs of the customer into account.  Every touch point is an opportunity.  We need to ensure that each customer touch is giving the message we want to give about our products, services, and brand.  This is especially critical for customer service , as it is one of the main points of interaction between company and customer.

How can an organization improve its customer experiences?  Put simply, for each place that customers touch the company, the organization should ask itself what it can do for its customers to help them achieve their goals.  Companies such as Xerox will continue to raise the bar when it comes to expectations of technical service and delivery of an outstanding customer experience.

Xerox is in the business of customers.  What business are you in?

Note: This post is based on my article in the February issue of the SSPA News.  You can find the SSPA’s new blog here.  Welcome to the ‘sphere!

(Photo: Xerox Corporation)

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6 Responses to “Xerox – Dedicated to Customer Experience”

  1. Douglas said

    Very insightful! Great job, Becky.

  2. Thanks, Doug. That means a lot, coming from a great interviewer like you!

  3. I agree with Douglas, this is very well done. Kudos!

  4. Thank you, Kevin. It was great to get this kind of insight from the folks making it happen.

  5. [...] to find out how Xerox supports their principle of “Doing what’s right for the customer”, read the article by Becky. The Customer’s Shoes® is fresh, innovative, inspirational and engaging for staff and customers [...]

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