The age of the customer is well underway. Ready access to information has shifted power back to the people and now businesses are only as successful as their last customer interaction. New information is always in circulation, shaping and re-shaping customer perception and experience on a constant basis. A consistently incredible customer experience is only achieved by staying switched on at all times and measuring the success rate of each interaction in order to sustain quality.
Take the enviable success of brands like Amazon as an example. They understand how to delight their customers not just once, but over and over again. This has created a high level of expectation across all industries; customers are quick to move on if they don’t get the quality of service they’ve grown accustomed to.
It follows, then, that businesses across the board are scrambling to create an unforgettable customer experience. Often this translates to isolated initiatives such as hiring more staff to manage the company’s social media platforms and respond to customer queries faster. This is a worthy tactic in and of itself, but to create a truly incredible customer experience, you have to establish a customer-centric culture throughout your workplace.
Walk the walk
So how do you do this?
You should start by determining what your organisation stands for and building it into every brick and boardroom. Make sure that all employees, from top to bottom, don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk – living and breathing your company’s customer-focused philosophy.
Remember, your company’s principles are also your guide to hiring the right staff and subsequently training, supporting, and motivating them to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
Share your knowledge
It’s very important that you don’t think of customer experience a linear process, but rather as a continuous cycle that can shape future product and service innovations. By paying close attention to how each and every one of your customers is engaging with your brand, you can gather the information you need to improve your offering and outsmart your competitors. However, this powerful knowledge, drawn from customer interactions across channels such as email, phone, or social media, is linked to the software used to gather it – and many organisations keep it trapped in communication siloes. Unless every employee can freely access the software used to gather and analyse this information, its insights are of little use.
Start by introducing an “open email” policy which makes all electronic messages available to every employee wherever possible. You will immediately broaden your staff’s customer and company knowledge by giving them unfettered access to internal and external correspondence. The business benefits are enormous as no profitable opportunities are missed and all stakeholders are held accountable.
In this way, radical transparency in the workplace can help you unlock insights for the greater good of your company. The overarching benefit of open collaboration at work is the democratisation of data: employees can access all the information they need, when they need it, to deliver an extraordinary customer experience.
Be agile, energetic and real
Another huge stumbling block for many businesses is that, as much as they want to delight their customers and compete with their rivals, they’re not entirely sure what constitutes a truly incredible customer experience.
The most successful experiences are driven by these five essential values:
When engaging with a customer, say what you are going to do to help them, go and do it, and then tell them you’ve done it. Always deliver a fast, responsive service that is polite and helpful. Quality counts! If you’ve made any mistakes during the interaction, own up to them and apologise.
Your customers are human beings too, and just like you, they want to be seen and heard. Be real rather than robotic in your interactions – this will help build strong, memorable relationships. Loosen up a little and always try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes when engaging with them.
If your customers are anxious about something, you need to jump through all necessary hoops to reassure them as quickly as possible. Demonstrate a level of urgency to match the problem you are trying to solve. Don’t be thwarted by the first obstacle you meet – think on your feet and find another way.
Positive energy always leaves a lasting and good impression. Encourage your team by acknowledging their successes. Reassure your customers with a can-do attitude. And, if you see a problem looming, don’t sit idle – take a proactive approach. Offer some constructive solutions or ask for help before any damage is done.
You must go above and beyond the standard expectation of customer service. And you must leave customers feeling valued and cared for – and demonstrate a real commitment to doing your job really well.
The best customer experiences are those that show a true personal touch. Companies that fail to see the human faces behind their masses of customer data won’t succeed at building a naturally customer-centric culture, and they’ll never quite deliver an incredible customer experience. The right technology, coupled with the right values, needs to be built directly into the very ethos of your company, so that when the phone rings, a real person answers and can help.
About the Author
By Peter Linas, international managing director, Bullhorn
CRM; customer experience; customer satisfaction
Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ March 6, 2017 at 04:09PM