In 2020, the importance of customer experience cannot be overstated. In a saturated market, this is what sets one brand apart from the next and captures long-term customer loyalty. Customer service is essential to the brand loyalty of over 96% of consumers. In other words – almost everyone expects excellent customer experience. This is true for the service sector eg hotels, airlines, professional services etc and for businesses selling products eg automotive, technology products, telephony, white goods etc.
The customer experience has a direct impact on the bottom line of your business. Customers are generally willing to pay a higher price for a better experience. The opposite is true for negative service and one-third of customers would consider switching to a different company based on just one negative customer service encounter. In today’s digital marketplace, this means you are just one click away from losing customers, sales and profit.
With this in mind, how do you make sure your brand offers the best possible service to your customers? Here are 5 ideas to improve the customer experience.
Create Brand-Specific Experiences
Your customer experience management should be part of your branding strategy. This means that the service your consumers receive should align with the purpose, values, mission and personality of your brand. Create brand-specific experiences to make yourself memorable and stand out in your customer’s mind. You don’t need a massive budget for this, just some creativity and a good understanding of what makes your brand special.
Top tip: translate your organization’s values into practical day to day behaviours for your employees to practice.
Take every opportunity to celebrate examples of great customer service because these stories will reinforce the positive behaviour you want to see and become the folklore of the organization for your employees to be proud of and follow.
Top tip: set up a group of frontline employees to review the stories about great customer service (to “real” customers and also to internal customers) and nominate a monthly “winner” then publicize this widely with an explanation of what the employee did and why it was so important.
Obsess over Customer Experience
Understand the end to end customer experience, even where you do not have control, to consider how you can improve the customer journey. This involves consciously designing a customer experience that can be delivered consistently irrespective of time, geography, or channel eg the mobile experience has become critical and is a focal point of 84% of companies already. It can also involve reducing the service you provide: when and how does the customer prefer a self-service solution? Always be visible and easy to contact.
Top tip: Encourage your customers to share their thoughts and feelings about your products, services, and brand on social media. Customers are the new marketing department.
Systems & Processes
Just like the swan, even when the customers see service being delivered smoothly and brilliantly, there is a lot of unseen effort making this happen from technology platforms, operating processes, communication channels, organization structures, health and safety, finance procedures etc. Remember that these systems and processes would not be needed if you did not have customers.
Top tip: review all operating processes and ask, “How does this benefit the customer?”
Measurement & Insight
Knowledge is power, and the quicker you can access information, the better. Improve your customer experience in an agile environment by asking for feedback straight away. You can do this in a number of different ways to build up as complete a picture as possible eg post-interaction surveys, verbal feedback, focus groups etc
Top tip: build into your customer interactions the simple question: “What one thing could improve your customer experience with us?”
Improve Your Customer Experience. Achieve Service Excellence.
Use these five ideas to improve your customer experience strategy and implementation. Remember, exceptional service isn’t about bells and whistles. It’s about providing quick and efficient solutions to your customers, valuing their time and requests and treating them with a personal touch. It’s about reinforcing your organization’s unique purpose and values at every opportunity. It’s about recognizing that your employees are your brand ambassadors. It’s about making sure that systems and processes enhance rather than hinder the customer experience. It’s about capturing measurement and insight and taking action to improve.
At SERVICEBRAND GLOBAL, we understand the importance of brand-aligned customer experience. We can help craft a strategy that communicates your values and engages your customers and employees alike. Contact us today to explore how we can help you.