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AMiable Solution #459: Removing the Red Tape from Your Customer’s Experience

We often think of “red tape” as something that impedes our own progress. But did you ever stop and consider the red tape your customers go through?

Let’s face it, “red tape” has a bad reputation. The term usually describes processes or rules that slow down or impede progress, hinder productivity, discourage employees, and alienate customers, particularly in businesses or industries that are regulated.

But while red tape can have detrimental effects on both the customer and the employee experience, it doesn’t have to be all bad. In fact, “red tape” processes can actually improve safety, ensure quality, and save a company money. You just have to know how much “tape” to use and when to use it.

How do you get there? Start with these three steps:

  • Look at your rules and processes. Are there outdated or unnecessary steps customers have to take to submit a request, lodge a complaint, receive a refund? Are there any steps that could be automated to increase speed and accuracy? Streamline and/or update your systems as much as you can. You want to make contacting you—no matter what the reason—as easy as possible for your customers.

  • Talk to your customers. You may think your operations and procedures are easy-to-use, black-and-white, and peachy keen, but do your customers agree? Have you ever asked them? If not, do it. Find out what frustrates them about working with your company, what operational functions they would like to see improved, and how they would improve them. They’ll not only appreciate your concern and interest, but they’ll also love seeing their suggestions put into action.

  • Talk to your employees. The same is true here. You may think you have a great work culture, but there could be some underlying unhappiness that you don’t know about. Find out what frustrates your employees when it comes to dealing with customers, where they feel their hands are tied, what operational functions they would like to improve, and how they think your company could make the overall experience better for everyone involved.

You can’t completely eliminate the checks and balances put in place in your company, but you can keep them in check and balanced to maximize satisfaction and efficiency for all.

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