6 steps for creating an exceptional customer experience strategy
Customer experience is the overall experience, right from discovery to confirmation of sale, which a customer has with a business enterprise. A vital part of customer relationship management (CRM), customer experience is extremely important because a positive experience with a business enterprise can transform a customer into a repeat and loyal customer. A study conducted by MarketingCharts found that the 74% of senior executives in a business enterprise believe that customer experience has a huge impact on how a customer becomes a loyal advocate of the products and services of the business enterprise.
The basis of an exceptional customer experience is providing good customer service as most of the customer’s interaction with the business enterprise is through speaking on the phone to a customer service representative. But with evolving market place, customer experience has also changed and the large scale implementation of technology does not limit it to person-to-person service and has expanded to different channels. Exceptional customer experience is based on robust strategies which are executed by people who share a common vision.
Here are ways of creating exceptional customer experience strategy:
Creating a Customer Experience Vision:
Having a clear customer focused vision that shows the business enterprise’s willingness to communicate is the first step towards creating a robust customer experience strategy. Exceptional customer experience is the result of numerous thoughtful decisions that are made by everyone in the business enterprise on a daily basis. To ensure that those decisions are aligned, everyone within the enterprise needs a shared vision. Defining this vision can be done by creating a set of guiding principles in the form of statements.
The Foresee Experience Index Report rated Amazon, the online retail giant, at the top of 100 global brands across different industries for exceptional experience. Amazon achieved this through their ‘customer first culture’ which was introduced into the organization right from its inception. Strategy is just one of the principles that business enterprises have to follow to achieve full potential of customer experience.
Have a clear Understanding of the Customer Base:
The key to providing exceptional customer experience is to gain a better understanding of the customers. Business enterprises must put themselves in their customer’s shoes to get a clear understanding of their needs. Great customer experience involves not only providing customers what is promised but also to exceed their expectations. For this to happen, business enterprises must connect and relate to the different situations that their customers face. One of the methods by which this can be achieved is by creating customer personas which includes names and personality traits of customers. Following this method can help the customer support team to easily recognize who the customers are and understand them better.
Hire the Right People:
The key to delivering exceptional customer experience is hiring the right staff. It is essential that business enterprises establish an effective recruitment strategy so that a positive internal culture and a well-defined customer experience can be created. The existing staff must be brought in line with the customer service and business culture goals and utilize the same parameters for future recruitments. Recruiters must make sure that the employees are screened to make sure that they possess the requisite skill set and temperament to sustain a robust customer service environment. Skills can be easily learnt but personality and attitude cannot.
Measure Consistency of Service Standards across all Touch Points:
A point where a customer gets in touch with the business enterprise and forms an opinion of it is known as the touch point. Business enterprises must put together a list of prioritized touch points from the perspective of the customers and the touch points must be categorized into people, systems and equipment or processes by ensuring that the categories and priorities are correct. After this, service standards across all touch points must be measured to ensure consistency throughout.
Once a touch point is selected, the desired experience that a customer will receive at that touch point must be described and compared to the current state thereby identifying the experience gap. A measurable service standard must be decided and written for this particular touch point. By looking at the additional required skill set that is needed to meet the established standard, an action plan must be initiated to develop the required skill set and then the measurement for the service standard can be carried out.
Capture Real Time Customer Feedback:
Customer feedback is the way for business enterprises to know if they are delivering exceptional customer experience. From social media posts to website pop ups to offline surveys, a portfolio of methods are available for collecting customer feedback. Business enterprises that value their customer’s experience will find real-time feedback extremely helpful as the feedback can be viewed as and when they are entered into the system. If a customer has a good or a bad experience, they will share it over multiple social media platforms which can make or break an enterprise’s brand image. Business enterprises that gather customer feedback can effectively reconnect with their customers and instill the voice of their customers into their business.
Measuring the ROI on Delivering Exceptional Customer Experience:
The link between providing exceptional experience to customers and improved business performance is accepted by many business leaders. After all, improvements in customer experience metrics such as net promoter score (NPS) and customer satisfaction invariably results in increased revenues and profits. Analyzing business results are a good way of gauging the success of various investments in teams, processes and technology.
A 1to1 Media/Temkin Group study titled ‘Measuring the ROI of Customer Experience’ found that business enterprises fail to measure the business impact of customer experience with 43.7% of them failing to connect customer experience metrics with changes in business results. As measuring customer experience is quite challenging, business enterprises mostly rely on NPS as it is a highly suitable benchmark used my various enterprises as the standard customer experience measurement.
A study conducted by Forrester Research and Watermark Consulting which tracked the stock performance of various companies on the Forrester’s Customer Experience Index over a six year period found that during the recession years of 2007-2012 companies which were customer experience leaders witnessed double digit gains in their stock performance compared to other companies which did not give much importance to customer experience. Despite these findings, business enterprises still find it tough to find the connection between business outcomes and customer experience. It is an area that needs constant care and nurturing with the main focus area being customer experience strategy. If applied effectively, business enterprises will reap its benefits through higher retention, increased customer loyalty and revenues.
Arvind Rongala is Director, Invensis Learning, a global training and certification provider in the IT, technical and business management fields. Under his stellar leadership, Invensis Learning has trained 50,000 plus professionals across the World, and is a trusted partner for...