How do you deliver a great customer experience?

Author: Sachin Datta | Categories: Professional Services, Customer Engagement

We live in a world dominated by clever ad copies, brilliant marketing campaigns and all the hoopla about content that’s viral and at the core of it all, customer experience remains the single most important factor for business success. Although customer experience entails all the interactions a customer has with an organization, it is often seen with a narrower view. Customer experience isn’t limited to customer service or service excellence alone but the entire gamut of experiences that a customer may have with the brand – from the service promise to the moment of truth. After all, what an organization says in its advertising has far less impact on customer perceptions than what it does in reality.

Every standpoint in the customer journey (awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy) contributes as a critical spoke in the customer experience. Although there are no magic potions to achieve a great customer experience, in this blog post, we have summarised the 7 ways in which organizations can deliver a great customer experience.

1. Etiquette matters

Oft the literature on customer experience tends to lay more emphasis on other aspects of service but what we primarily value is something as common and as rare as etiquette. Right from greeting the customers to bidding them adieu, every aspect of etiquette is instrumental in giving the customers an experience that they would admire.

2. Don’t make them wait

To make your customers wait can be termed as the negative turning point. It is always hard to win back a disgruntled customer so service providers need to ensure that they have enough resources at bay – to keep the customers from waiting. If the service is going to take time, let them know in advance. Be forthcoming and informative. The speed of service needs to be built into your policies as nobody likes to wait and certainly you should not test the patience of a customer. According to the ninth annual Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey, between 2012 and 2013, 77% of customers expected their service to be faster; in a separate study, 88% of customers noted response speed was one of the most important parts of their customer experience.

3. Incorporate technology in the customer experience

With the advent of technology, there has been a radical shift to the way businesses embarked on delivering customer experience. One of the key shifts can be observed in the way enterprises are empowering their customers to help themselves – whether it is the on-the-go trackers or seamless do-it-yourself features enabled online, technology has permeated to provide customer delight.

4. Fix problems immediately

No matter how hard you try, if something has to go wrong it would go wrong. (Thanks to Murphy’s law) Whatever the problem, a business must have the primary service goal to please the customer. How a business stands up in the face of adversity defines how good a customer experience it can eventually deliver. It is vitally important that the service providers deal with the problems immediately.

Not solving the problem on the first try can create an even bigger one: 72% of customers switched companies after their issue wasn’t resolved the first time. If you are managing customer complaints online, make sure that the offline and online systems are integrated so that the appropriate response can be given to the customer by the system or the customer care representative.

Every time lag in the problem resolution leads to customer anxiety. Here are a few tips for dealing with customer problems:

  • Listen intently to their problem without interrupting.
  • Own the mistake. Acknowledge the problem, and apologise.
  • Be empathetic, keep calm, even if you don’t agree with your customer.
  • Ask your customer what they’d like. Try to negotiate a solution that is acceptable to both of you.

In the B2B marketplace whether you are a business connecting with your server provider for domain related queries or a franchisee raising an invoice query to the business, multi-channel support is now a necessity.

5. Provide your customers a consistent experience

Consider a real world scenario where you visit the same neighbourhood café parlour every day and order a cappuccino with one tablespoon of sugar. You’d eventually expect the employees to know your order. The same kind of logic applies to customer experience: each time a company interacts with a customer, they should keep track of why they were contacted and what their response was. Customers expect you to know what their past interactions were about without having to repeat themselves. A CRM can be of great use here which can help the service team with the past history of the user with the service provider. Remember, data is of the essence but how you use it to deliver an excellent customer experience is even more important.

6. Personalization

We are living in a ‘Me generation’ where customers are more inclined in knowing what’s in it for them. With personalized content, companies have a better shot at reaching consumers: 83% of consumers see a value in the delivery of a personalized experience across devices. Customers want an experience that recognizes them across delivery points, service centres, internet devices etc. and delivers them a personalized experience.

Personalization can be as easy as including a customer’s name or as complicated as creating an algorithm that predicts what they’d like to see based on their past usage. Personalization also isn’t limited to just one channel: customers want an experience that recognizes them on any device. Companies should consider tracking a customers preferred channel and direct their communications there to increase engagement.

7. Self Service

Self-service is attractive to companies because it’s significantly less expensive than assisted services and, when done properly, can help generate revenue. It is very important to empower customers to use self-service for business tasks they can themselves resolve. More than half of customers believe it’s important to be able to resolve product issues themselves rather than relying on customer service. In fact, by 2020, Gartner predicts customers will be able to manage 85% of their relationship with a business without human interaction.

Well, these were our suggestions for creating that “wow!” experience for the customers. We would love to hear from you on how you plan to delight your customers.