Customer service is a primary element in the success of a business, and many companies are seeing this as a critical factor that can make or break a deal. Thanks to digitization, modern customers are very well-informed and demand a high level of bundled services. The choices in technology are broad, and businesses seek to use these technologies to change the way customer service is addressed and improve customer experience.
These various channels include mobile apps, social media, and now, artificial intelligence. However, businesses must understand that a bad customer experience today is not just a grumpy cashier or negative receptionist. A bad customer experience today is one in which the customer is taken through a disconnected journey, where there is no proper coherence between the various channels to deliver a cohesive customer experience.
As a marketer, you should make sure you are asking the right set of questions at the right time to ensure a connected customer experience. For example, if you have sent out an email, newsletter, or tweet, do you want to get feedback at every instance? Don’t think that’s the right approach?
Enterprises create multiple touchpoints to deliver a connected customer experience. They are creating silos and not trying to focus on the end-to-end journey. The key factor is to have a way to measure customer satisfaction. It should be achieved in a way that connects all channels and delivers a comprehensive experience. It is important to bring in the behavior factors of a customer to help deliver a better experience across multiple channels.
Enterprises must also understand the tastes and preferences of their customers, which can be captured through data coming from various channels, including social media. Once the information is in place, it is about leveraging technology to create automated processes that will deliver an experience that meets the expectations and demands of customers.
Today, banks are required to deliver more open services, thanks to fintech startups that have popped up and are completely changing the face of financial transactions. The traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are now forced to deliver omnichannel experiences, courtesy of e-commerce giants such as Amazon who deliver experiences across all channels. With this type of expectation, marketers must find and implement ways to create a cohesive and connected customer experience. Now, let’s take a look at some innovative ideas to improve the customer experience at your business.
Create an Emotional Connection
The best way to create a connected customer experience is to make an emotional connection with your customers. A great example of this is from Zappos. When Zappos found out that a customer was late to return their package due to their mother passing away, they not only took care of the return shipping and had a courier pick up the return package but they also sent the customer a flower bouquet offering their condolences. Going above and beyond to make an emotional connection with your customer is always worth it in the long-run.
Capture Real-Time Feedback
To improve the customer experience at your company, all you really need to do is ask your customers for feedback. Try distributing post-interaction surveys or making outbound calls to gain insightful feedback. It’s impossible for you to improve your customer experience strategy if you don’t know what your customers are looking for when they interact with your organization.
Satisfy Customer Needs
To improve the customer experience at your company you don’t need to wow every customer, you just need to address their issues and resolve them as painlessly as possible. Matthew Dixon, Karen Freeman, and Nicholas Toman argued in the Harvard Business Review, “True customer satisfaction and loyalty come from reducing the amount of effort a customer has to expend to get their issue resolved.” It’s much more beneficial to your customer experience improvement efforts to reduce customer effort than to engage in tactics that don’t scale well and take too much work.
The best ideas and most creative solutions come when you take the time to look at problems from multiple angles or points of view. In her Harvard Business Review article, Kerry Bodine states, “Companies need to start their innovation initiatives with an outside-in approach that frames their business challenges within the context of customers’ unmet needs.” She also states that “only 8% of the companies in [their] annual benchmarking survey received a top grade from their customers” while “73% of interviewees say they plan to launch innovative customer experiences in the upcoming year — and two-thirds believe that they already have.”
While most companies believe they are launching innovative customer experience practices to improve their connected customer experiences, they’re not successfully implementing these ideas. Bodine states, “Here’s the problem: Everyone talks about customer experience innovation, but no one knows quite what it is or how to attain it.” The best way to ensure that your innovative customer experience practices will pay off is to look at all customer problems and issues from the point of view of your customers and solve these issues in a way that eliminates customer effort entirely.
Create Brand Specific Experiences
Customer experience management comes when you are able to maintain a great customer experience for your customers, no matter how or when they interact with your company. A great way to improve customer experiences is to create experiences that align with your brand. When you align great customer experiences with your brand, prospective customers will think of this whenever they see or hear from your brand. Your company doesn’t need a huge budget to pull off great brand experiences, they just have to be unique to your brand.
When your company can create experiences that feel specific to your brand, it becomes much harder for competitors to copy you. Even sending Tank-You notes can go a long way in the eyes of your customers. Kerry Bodine explains in her Harvard Business Review article, “The qualities of these customer experiences create strong associations with their brands. And the more a new customer interaction looks, feels, smells, sounds, and tastes like a specific brand, the harder it will be for competitors to copy.”
Offering an exceptional customer experience is very important today, especially thanks to how fast the internet can spread positive and negative activities. In fact, according to Esteban Kolsky, “if customers are not satisfied with the experience your company offers, 13% of them will tell 15 or even more people that they are unhappy. On the other hand, 72% of customers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people.”
When your company fails to deliver a great customer experience, people are more likely to know about this than when you provide an exceptional one. The old saying is true, you can do 100 great things that no one will remember and the second you perform an unfavorable action, it’s all anyone can talk about.
Offering a comprehensive mobile experience is also very important in our highly digital society. In fact, according to WOW Local Marketing, 52% of customers are less likely to engage with a company because of a bad mobile experience, which is why 84% of companies focus on the mobile customer experience. It’s also estimated that by 2019, mobile search will generate 27.8 billion more search queries than desktop search, making the mobile customer experience a make or break marketing aspect for business.
Creating a strong omnichannel customer engagement strategy is also essential to the livelihood of your company. According to Aberdeen Group, companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.
The bottom line is this:
• 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience (ThinkJar)
• 84% of organizations working to improve CX report an increase in revenue (Dimension Data)
• 79% of consumers want brands to demonstrate they care before considering a purchase (Wunderman)
You can easily improve customer experience and offer a connected customer experience to your customers if you think outside the box and thoroughly understand what your customers look for when they interact with your company. With an effective customer experience strategy in place, and practices to maintain an exceptional customer experience for your clients, you can easily address all customer problems and issues and offer customers a seamless experience whenever and however they interact with your brand.