Let’s face it, this monumental shift away from spewing propaganda about products and services to people who don’t know you and towards connecting and engaging your target customers is very challenging. After all, while what you sell may be awesome, it’s why you sell it that brings buyers to you. The ONE thing you can differentiate yourself with is customer experience.
Customer experience is the product of an interaction between a company and a customer, whether it’s one-time or carries on for years or generations. We’ve all got those brands we’ve stayed true to. If you ask yourself why, that’s customer experience.
Your customers behave no differently than you. The goal is to consistently deliver superior customer experience every time a customer interacts.
The noise is deafening.
The web is filled with chatter. Differentiating your business from competitors is challenging. Consumers spend hours online researching their next purchase. They pose questions to their network about the reliability of products and the trustworthiness of service providers. They’re developing expectations by visiting social media and online ratings sites. Should they choose your business from which to buy from, their customer experience better meet (or exceed) their expectations.
I’m always on the prowl for good examples of customer experience. By “good” I mean, useful. Both negative and positive experiences are fodder for learning opportunities (and for my blog!). This week, a good example came on my radar from a post by Frank Eliason, formerly of Comcast and author of @ Your Service. Cable companies are infamous for negative customer experiences, and I’ve had my share (as you probably have too).
Comcast says they’re making sweeping changes and hiring 5,500 employees to handle customer experience. But if they hire the wrong people, or don’t provide them with the tools to do their jobs, then all it will gain them is more negative customer experiences. Frankly, after all that’s been revealed about the company, it seems like a futile endeavor. One thing for sure…they’ll need to focus on the 4 core factors in delivering superior customer experience.
Customer experience is people, process, and technology surrounded by culture.
Superior customer experience lies in managing all 4 core factors. Even though company culture is the biggest driver for poor experiences created by a company, you won’t succeed without also focusing on people, process and technology.
A bulletproof house must have a strong foundation. Start with creating the right employee experience. Employees succeed in delivering superior customer experience when they’re engaged, appreciated and allowed the freedom to create better experiences.
If your culture isn’t ready for primetime, it’s time to take action. As the saying goes, “If you suck in real life, you’ll suck more on social media.”
When was the last time (if ever) you conducted an Employee Satisfaction Survey? It may sound crazy to you, but we did them regularly at the car dealerships I managed. It’s amazing what you can learn from your employees. The most valuable result? Knowing your customers are going to benefit from everything you learn.
Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders. If you have people who don’t consider customer experience their top priority, find some. Hire the right people and make sure they can contribute right away.
A dysfunctional process becomes apparent through customer experience. So often, I audit business’ negative online ratings and I can tell immediately where the hole in their operation led to their demise. Without a process to capture your happy, loyal customers’ feedback, you leave your reputation and future revenue to chance.
Communicate your goals to your team. In order to achieve goals, processes must be set in place:
- Develop and continually improve your strategy
- Execute your strategies through leadership
- Measure results and tie them back to your goals
The more invested employees are in this process, the more pride they take in the company’s overall success.
As the world changes, so do the expectations of your customers. Leveraging technology to deliver superior customer experience has never been more prevalent…or more complex.
Technology gives customers easy access to the brands they love. You’ll want to be where your customers are so you can deliver useful information, field comments and questions, and respond to customer experience snafus.
Social customer service has become the norm:
- 47% of Social Media users have sought customer service via Social channel.
- 71% of those who receive positive Social care are likely to recommend your brand to others.
- Only 19% of those who get no response are likely to recommend that brand.
Don’t get caught underestimating the ways in which customers will want to correspond with you. Take action now to monitor, listen, respond and resolve customer experiences via technology and social channels.
Delivering a superior customer experience today requires your attention and focus on these 4 core factors. Are you willing to explore the areas where you may be coming up short?