“Thank you for calling [insert company name]. This is [insert name] speaking. How may I help you?”
This is the most generic line you hear if you are lucky and patient enough to get through the long wait time of a customer service hotline. The kind of interaction that follows tells a lot about a company and its position in the race to deliver the best customer experience.
There are companies, service providers and brands that excel at providing exceptional customer experiences. In fact, from a report published by Adobe and Econsultancy, nine out of 10 companies are said to be competing based on customer experience. Those who have taken customer experience seriously get to share the following benefits:
- Average earning of $700 million within three years of investing in customer experience
- Revenue increase by $1 billion
Which can then be attributed to the fact that:
- 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great experience
- 49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience
- 72% will share their positive experience with 6 or more customers
- Loyal customers spend 140% more and remain advocates for up to six years
- Customer experience has now overtaken price and product as key differentiators
So how can you take charge of your customers’ experiences?
Five Tips to Take Charge of Customer Experience
To deliver a positive experience, you must take charge and get to know your customers. Gartner found 10 different ways to exercise customer-centricity that result in memorable customer experiences:
- Continuously listening to customers
- Ensuring follow-up with customers on their feedback
- Acting proactively in anticipating their needs
- Respecting customer privacy
- Building customer empathy into processes and policy
- Delivering value across customers’ lives
- Motivating employees to stay engaged
- Building a sense of purpose and carrying it through
- Creating accountability for customer experience improvement
- Adapting to customer demands and circumstances in real time
These can be attained by following these tips:
Tip 1: Solidify your customer experience vision. Start with a vision. Your customer experience strategy must reflect what you believe in as a company. Create a culture around that vision and make it a guiding principle for every decision you make as you move along your customer experience improvement journey.
Tip 2: Use customer analytics and VOC data. Talking to customers is indeed the fastest way to know if you “wow” them with your service or if their experiences were exceptional. However, what worked for one customer might not work for another. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to delivering the experiences customers demand.
This is where data and analytics come in. Having the ability to collect and analyze data will give you the direction you need to create, manage and improve your customer experience delivery. Let data speak for your customers.
Tip 3: Prepare your A-Team. Create a customer care team to support your initiatives. Identify and provide for their training needs. Also, put a plan in place to develop their competencies further, especially via regular coaching sessions, career path discussions, eLearning and continuous training. Invest in your people, and they will take care of your customers.
Tip 4: Provide high-quality content. Companies that aim to improve customer experiences must implement solutions that enable them to publish high-quality product data. A solution that effectively supports the delivery of high quality content, according to Gartner, is Master Data Management (MDM). MDM systems facilitate the delivery of accurate, complete, consistent and appealing product content across multiple touchpoints.
Tip 5: Aim to deliver contextualized product experiences. Prior to purchasing a product or signing up for a service, customers often conduct extensive research online, via social media and using other trading/retail partner platforms. Furthermore, they expect complete, consistent and appealing product information wherever and whenever they encounter your product or brand.
Customers feel more emotionally connected to brands that seem to know what they need and want at any given time, at every touchpoint. A study found that 50% of an experience is based on emotion. These emotions fuel attitudes that drive customers to decide if they will become loyal to your brand. Therefore, leveraging both analytics and high-quality product data is key to deliver the personalized information that today’s customers seek.
There is no perfect and easy way to get in charge of customer experience. And there is no shortage on strategies to design a delightful experience for your customers. No matter what approach you decide to take, it is important to always keep customers as your main priority to truly become a customer-obsessed organization.