Customer Service meets Customer Experience
Customers will continue to show their disapproval with inconsistent and unfulfilling brand experiences. In an attempt to raise the bar, Caribbean brands will and must, change their customer approach and start thinking about how to deliver greater value. This will include improving customer service models, investing in customer service solutions that afford better monitoring and management and improving online engagement.
What does Customer Experience mean?
Customer Experience encompasses every opportunity your customer has had to interact with your brand. To fully understand what the term customer experience means, think about it as the sum total of individual customer service moments a consumer has with the folks who represent your brand. This interaction may have initiated with marketing during the early stages of the buyer’s journey, but would certainly have pulled sales, customer service and maintenance and support into the engagement loop.
Why brands need to improve their customer experience
In today’s world, brands easily suffer from curtailed customer lifecycles, with leads falling out of the sales funnel after encountering either poor customer service or when faced with inconsistent brand experiences along the way. A 2013 study by J.D Power and Associates recognised that consumer expectations for social interactions vary across industries, however, quality content and responsive service representatives were keys to unlocking higher satisfaction levels. Just as brands have begun engaging in social marketing practices, they must close the customer satisfaction loop by providing social servicing
If you’re not sold on the need to deliver quality experiences that ensure positive brand sentiment and lead to overall brand loyalty, then let’s consider the impact on your business’s bottom line. For those of you who are keen on measuring the ROI of a company’s expenditure on the machinery needed to deliver a blue ribbon brand experience, consider the performance of these companies –
- Amazon Q4 14, net sales increased by 15% over Q4 13
- Apple 39.9% profit per product – (3 months to end Dec 14)
- Disney Earnings per share up 27% in year to Dec 2014
- Zappos Annual revenue in excess of 2 billion
- Starbucks Revenue rose 13% in Q1 FY15
- BMW 7% increase in vehicle sales – Jan 15 vs Jan 14
Apart from their obvious successes, these companies have 2 things in common – they deliver exceptional customer experiences and they have loyal, happy customers. It’s no coincidence that they’ve been able to obtain this level of success while consistently delighting their customers at every interaction with their brand. Like Tony Hsieh and the folks at Zappos, each of these brands is focused on putting the customer first and supporting this drive with a strong internal company culture. None of these are out of your reach, here’s how you can get there too.
Building a Great Customer Experience Strategy
It’s not too late for brands that are not currently wowing customers with a great experience to make a turn-around. The best place to start is by developing a customer experience strategy, much like the one we’ve found on The Client Heartbeat – 5 customer experience strategies that work.
1. Define the customer experience and keep it consistent across all touch points
The best companies recognize that customers interact with different parts of the organization and across multiple touch points. They know customers engage with different employees when they make a purchase, when they’re getting service and support, and when they’re talking to billing or accounts.
2. Base the experience on individual customer needs
Customer experience strategy must start with knowing what your customer needs and wants, which will equate to their expectations. Once you know that, you can work backwards to create an experience that exceeds those customer expectations.
3. Leverage technology to enhance the customer experience, not create it
It is recommended that you define a customer experience, and then identify what tools and software you need to assist in making it happen. Do not mold your customer experience strategy around technology. Find technology that you can use within your strategy.
Here are some tools you should look into:
- CRM tools for relationship management: keep all data and communications between your company and employee in one spot so everyone can see it quickly.
- Marketing tools to engage with customers: send trigger emails based on specific actions.
- Online survey tools and customer satisfaction tools: survey customers, get feedback and measure satisfaction.
- Web analytics and tracking tools: Measure engagement, number of site visits and page visits. Build out customer profiles full of data to help manage the experiences.
It’s all about integration
To effectively address the needs of our consumer base, brands must evolve their customer strategies into a three-pronged approach that can treat with marketing, sales and service engagements. Brands can no longer ignore the growing social customer demographic. For companies that are interested in fostering positive customer experiences across this audience, they must treat with digital strategy holistically.
Change your perspective around customer experience. Consider delivering exceptional customer experiences as an economic asset rather than additional company expense. “70% of companies say it’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire one and 49% say that, pound for pound, they achieve better ROI by investing in relationship marketing over acquisition marketing.”
 Social Servicing – Social servicing engagements include answering specific consumer questions or resolving problems via social channels.