According to a recent Walker Study, by the year 2020, customer experience (CX) will surpass price and product as a primary indicator of industry-leading brands in the marketplace.
Now you might be asking yourself, “But what does customer experience mean?”
Essentially, customer experience is how customers perceive they are handled or cared for by a company.
CX comprises the series of actions companies take to ensure their customers feel satisfied when interacting with the company in any way.
That experience can be shaped by so many different factors. In attempts to optimise customer experience, businesses should continually evaluate the level of customer care they are providing. This can be accomplished by reviewing the following CX questions, then adjusting people, processes and technologies where necessary for improvement.
Who Is Your Customer?
A good place to start in your customer care evaluation is to know your customer and determine their basic needs. The most common requests coming from customers include:
- Having the ability to interface with empowered agents
- Being given the opportunity to speak with knowledgeable agents
- Resolving issues during initial contact
- Feeling valued and being treated with respect
- Being treated with empathy and understanding
- Ending up with a fair resolution or outcome of their issue or concern
To summarise: customers just want to have their needs met and even exceeded in an effortless way. They want to feel that they are important to the business and that the business cares about fulfilling their needs.
Have Customer Opinions Been Researched and Analysed?
Besides considering the customer’s basic needs in a customer service situation, it’s also critical to get their feedback on how the customer care process is working for them.
Have you walked through the difficult jungle path in your customer’s shoes, and noticed the kind of obstacles they may be facing in getting their issues resolved in a timely and efficient manner?
Like using a machete to make your way through thick underbrush, consider what kinds of tools your customers might be seeking on their journey:
- Are there enough effective communication channels in place?
- Is there a way for their voice to be heard and feedback provided?
- Does your business offer a way to configure notifications and alerts?
- Are you collecting the most relevant feedback from your users?
- How is that feedback being measured and change effected?
- Do you have resources available to assist in implementing these changes?
Has the Complete Customer Journey Been Mapped out From Start to Finish, across all Touch Points?
Like any trip you embark upon, it’s vital to have a map to help guide you on your quest.
Similarly, in relation to customer care, companies should be connecting the dots from location to location, across each facet of the customer experience.
Your map should look something like this:
- Initial contact (through phone number, website chat, etc.)
- Routing the issue to the most appropriate department
- Establishing a case number with basic information and a summary of the issue
- Attempting to resolve the issue with level 1 support
- Escalating the case to advanced support, if necessary
- Closing the case
Through interviews and focus groups, you get a better idea of your customer’s journey at each of these touch points and their concerns along the way. This will help assess where modifications need to be made to enhance the customer experience – while trying to avoid some of the pitfalls along the path.
What Is the Business’s Approach to Establishing and Promoting Customer Loyalty?
Gaining customer advocacy can seem a daunting task. With the business environment continually changing, it’s important to go “above and beyond” for your customers, not only meeting but exceeding their expectations.
Here are a few customer retention strategies that are touted as effective by the American Management Association:
- Reward your customers with gifts and incentives for repeat purchases
- Return phone calls promptly and remember to proactively and periodically make contact
- Treat your employees well and shower your customers with kindness
- Be accessible; make it easy and convenient for your customers to do business with you
- Speak your customer’s language and be their resource
- Be credible and follow through; do things when you say you are going to do them
Repeat business is the easiest way to stay in business. Go the extra distance for your customers and they are more likely to remain loyal.
How Can the Company Use Software and Hardware to Leverage the Customer Experience?
Having the correct technology in place can be likened to possessing the best gear for your hike through the jungle. Without the essentials in place like water and hiking boots, your expedition won’t last very long. To keep up with the rigours of the sometimes precarious jungle known as customer care, your organisation must have the technology infrastructure in place that can evolve with this volatile process.
Evaluate these options concerning your business’s current and future technologies:
- Can you integrate current on-premises equipment with cloud-based options to add features and functionalities to your current customer support solution?
- Are the correct tools in place for your agents to properly support customers via Omni-channels and unified applications?
- Does your company utilise the proper monitoring, management, compliance and security framework, in line with all requirements?
If your technology toolkit for the jungle is not complete, be sure to partner with a cloud-based leader in customer care software solutions, to assist in getting the most out of onsite equipment and online upgrades.
What Are the Specific Recommendations for Improving Contact Centre Customer Satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction is the end goal of the customer experience. A company’s contact centre is one device organisations use to meet that goal. Some principles that enterprises should consider implementing for improved customer satisfaction include raising the following questions:
- Is the desired performance defined, showing agents what excellent performance looks like, with clear expectations set?
- Are your agents properly versed in the customer’s perspective and how they influence that view towards the company?
- Are employees who are delivering customer service excellence rewarded for going above and beyond?
- Does your contact centre always put the customer first and work diligently to resolve their issue or concern on the initial contact?
- Are agents using the customer database tools provided to personalise the customer’s experience and build a relationship using available data?
The recurring theme here is to keep agents focused on the customer at all times, meeting their needs to generate a high level of satisfaction.
Like travelling through a dark and dense jungle, striving for superior customer care can be a challenging and complex quest. But fears surrounding this process can be calmed when the proper questions are asked and companies take time to listen to their customers. Be sure to utilise this information-gathering process in your organisation on an ongoing basis. Coupled with the right analysis and modification process, your customer experience is sure to make it through the tangled branches and stifling humidity of the customer care journey!
Service Design & Customer Journey Mapping Masterclass
Learn how to better understand your customers’ needs, design services around them and provide better customer experiences. Join us on 15 November, 2018 in Birmingham, UK, for a free day-long master class with industry expert Amy Scott. Register to Attend