There’s a lot of buzz right now around customer experience, but what are people really saying about it? By dedicating themselves to a better customer experience, companies can reap many benefits including: higher revenues and retention, happier employees, recognition, and a chance at thriving even when their industry is not. In addition it is easier than ever to upsell after a good customer experience to customers that are even happier. Examples of these companies are seen all over business magazines and they line the business bookshelves of the world. Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, and Whole Foods Market are revered icons of this paradigm. So how did companies like these mold themselves to become the model of great customer experience?
When we discuss “customer experience”, people assume we’re really talking about two things – face-to-face or call center interactions. And believe me, when people get started on call centers. There’s no stopping them! (Note to companies: customers hate dealing with auto-dialer menus that loop or lead them to powerless call center reps. We hate it – with a capital H.)
But I could not disagree more… the customer experience is really a lot more than that. It’s the series of interactions and exposures a customer has with your company that, cumulatively, creates the subjective customer perception. The customer perception is how an individual customer feels about associating with your company through the whole multichannel customer journey. The customer’s perception is the reality of the customer experience, not your intention or assumptions for the customer. Case in point: No matter how many times SBC’s advertising tells us they are going ‘beyond the call,’ we don’t believe them as we don’t experience it when dealing with their company. Our perception is the reality – not what their marketing is trying to tell you.
Well we all know instinctively that better customer experience has got to be good for a business, but why? What are the tangibles that good customer experience delivers to a business? Here you have few ideas to help your business case for developing your customer experience.
Why is Customer Experience important to your business?
First things first, customer Experience isn’t just about Customer Support. Nor is it about the buying process. Its a holistic view of a customer becoming aware of you, your products and services, his experience in the buying process, his experience in the consumption process, his experience in support, his experience in sharing the same with his friends and family. Now, you can realize how one single customer can significantly influence your business. Each customer has got plenty of touch-points with your brand, product & services, and he has several touch-points elsewhere (his friends, colleagues, family etc).
So, Companies that are very customer focused (well, every company has that focus, isn’t) ensuring that all the touch-points are sufficiently optimized to offer a compelling, consistent customer experience is very important to your business. All it takes it just one silly user experience to drive hoards of customers (and his contacts) away from your business.
One small user experience fix can lead to significant business results!
At best, measuring and managing your customer experience is small things that you can react fast. Recently, while speaking to a Hotel Manager, I learnt an important aspect of Guest Experience. While the Hotel offered a great In-Room service that the customer really enjoyed, the Check-Out process wasn’t that smooth. The guest was made to wait for a long time before the Check-Out happened and the guest has to rush to the airport to not to miss his flight.
The Hotel Manager was able to spot and fix the problem using a Customer Experience journey software that alerts you immediately something goes wrong. They were able to reach the customer straight and correct the mistake while actually selling him more at the same time! Now, the Hotel has increased its number of loyal guests, who frequent the hotel not because of the reward points for repeat visits, but because of great guest experience and the offers they are able to give them. That’s true loyalty.
Measuring and Improving your Customer Experience is important if you want to build a loyal customer base. Loyalty is about emotional engagement. We are redefining Loyalty, and help convert your most loyal customers as your sales force and grow sales.
Jaakko is an award-winning CX professional and entrepreneur at Feedbackly, founder and community professional at the biggest entrepreneurial digital community in Finland – Yrittäjä.io. He is a notorious keynote speaker from entrepreneurial stories to day to day human communications and customer experiences.