Improve Your Customer Experience To Create Loyal Fans

Improve Your Customer Experience To Create Loyal Fans

Improve Your Customer Experience To Create Loyal Fans

For years, customer experience was identified solely in the results tallied by collecting feedback at the customer service department. But in today’s connected world where customers interact with companies on multiple channels, that’s no longer enough.

Wikipedia defines customer experience as the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction includes a customer’s attraction, awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy and purchase, and use of a service. It is measured by the individual’s experience during all points of contact against the individual’s expectations.

Given that, companies need to be on top of every point where the customer has an interaction or opportunity to experience how the company serves them.

In its report, “Gartner’s Seven Types of Customer Experience Projects,” they have identified seven types of customer experience projects that can be used by companies to ultimately turn customers into loyal fans.

gartner-seven-projects

Source: Gartner 2015

1. Think, Listen, Do

Customer feedback is customer intelligence. Most companies take the time to collect this feedback in the form of surveys during the customer experience, but the problem is that many don’t act on this data. It’s used as a data point for how happy a customer is with the company and that’s the extent of it.

What to Do:

Customer feedback should be collected at every touch point in the customer journey. Companies should assess and analyze the feedback as close to real time as possible and act on it. That means working hard to manage the customer’s expectations and managing the dialogue to turn the customer into a raving fan.

2. From Out to In

Business processes are traditionally focused on looking inside the company to determine what can be improved or made more efficient. Taking that approach is only looking at half the picture. Internal process improvement may imply that customer service will improve, but isn’t normally a focal point.

What to Do:

Look at the whole picture of the customer journey. Ensure customer touchpoints provide consistency across your entire company. Find a way to help customers through the journey using a real time approach by adopting new technology or live touchpoints on various channels.

3. Act as One

No matter what department is interacting with the customer, a standard approach should be used to maintain the consistency of the experience. Customer data should travel through the company as a singular unit to ensure the customer doesn’t have to repeat a story multiple times when moved from department to department.

What to Do:

Ensure that employees are educated on the desire to provide a seamless experience and make sure they have the knowledge needed to provide that to the customer. This also applies to all channels and devices where a customer has an opportunity to interact.

4. Open Up

Be a more transparent company. That could mean being available on more channels or extending hours. Provide an opportunity for the customer to interact with the company in a real time environment with other customers such as a forum or bulletin board.

What to Do:

Determine if some type of online community is something that is desirable to the customer. Be as open as possible in the drive to improve the customer experience. Truth and openness in interactions is a must in today’s environment.

5. Get Personal

Technology by its nature provides an impersonal experience. Personalization during the customer experience can help score points. But it’s important to maintain a balance and not overdue it.

What to Do:

Assess where the addition of personalization during the customer journey would add value to the experience and customize those opportunities appropriately.

6. Alter Attitudes

The number one advocate for the customer experience is an employee who can guide them along the way. Often customer service is an entry level position in a company which makes it a revolving door position as employees move on to better opportunities. This can cause breakdowns in customer interactions.

What to Do:

Consider making the customer service contact point a more rewarding experience for employees to retain the knowledge and experience necessary to provide customers with the service they deserve. This can be done by demonstrating a culture of empowerment that gives staff the latitude they need to meet the customer’s needs.

7. Design Better

A strategic approach to ensuring the best journey for customers will take a company a long way.

What to Do:

Ensure the customer is considered for all strategic organizational changes. Make sure that execution matches plans that are rolled out.

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