Customer Service

Beta Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Even during a trial run, customer experience management should be a concern. The importance of this is not lost on software and e-commerce developers who understand the importance of first impressions.

I was reminded of the importance of customer experience management during a recent technology presentation from a young but experienced CEO of a big “clicks and mortar” organization.

He told the large audience confidently, “Beta means never having to say you’re sorry.”

“That’s right,” I thought to myself. “When launching the beta test of a new web-enabled process, customers must understand it’s only a pilot run and should be forgiving if things mess up or don’t work out as planned.”

I was totally wrong about his point of view in regard to customer experience management.

In direct contrast to my thinking, this e-commerce veteran explained that new web-based interactions often do not work properly during a beta test.

However, from the customer’s point of view, he insisted, your pilot run must be successful enough to avoid creating negative customer perceptions or the need to apologize after the fact. In short, customer experience management is vital even in a test run.

The cost and consequences of doing it badly are customer skepticism, hesitation and negative word-of-mouth. That’s a cost too high to pay in today’s fast-moving world of instant communications.

Key Learning Point

If you are planning the design and launch of a new customer interface or web-enabled process, be sure to have enough staff and resources on hand to execute brilliantly from the customer’s point of view, even if the technology itself proves problematic.

Action Steps

Plan ahead, staff up and allocate more resources than you will require. When you do launch, do whatever it takes to create a positive customer experience. Keep your breakdowns and learning behind the scenes. Make sure your customer is well satisfied and well served out in front.