Ensuring superior customer experience is no longer a mere slogan, it has become a necessity. Given the high levels of competition it is becoming extremely important for companies to find out various ways and means to not only look for new customers but also retain the existing ones. However, this is easier said than done and calls for much more than just lip service. In this article I will try to help you understand more about the need for constantly upgrading the quality of customer experience. I will also share a few useful tips for enriching customer based on some personal experiences.
Why The Need For Improving Customer Experience
This speech by Gandhi almost 125 years ago clearly tells everybody how important the customer is:
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. His not an interruption of our work but he is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business but a part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so”
Though this thought was articulated in 1890 it continues to be very relevant even today. As the number of products and services increase, as the levels of competition become very high, there is a need to pay attention to increasing the levels of customer satisfaction.
Improving customer experience is an ongoing process and does not end with the ownership of a product or service changing hands. In fact it should be the beginning of the entire customer experience story. The few minutes the customers might spend in a counter, or the time that they may spend on the ecommerce sites should make them feel happy and goad him to come back again. This is what excellence in customer service is all about.
Improving customer experience is not something fashionable or superfluous but forms the very basis for existence and growth of any business.
What Spoils Customer Experience
We can aim at superior customer experience only by going through the process on a regular basis. Yes, we might make mistakes along the way but we should be open minded and be ready to introspect and make course corrections. We should be wary of certain simple acts which could do a big damage as far as customer experience is concerned. The list if quite big but here are a few that should be avoided at all costs.
- Poor quality of products and services.
- Discourteous behavior.
- Unresponsive employees and processes.
- Avoidable delays in service.
- Making promises which we know are false.
- Refusal to own up to mistakes.
- Complicated and highly confusing customer policies.
3 Insider Tips For A Superior Customer Experience
Whenever a customer visits an outlet or a channel he goes back with only two experiences. One is a very happy experience where he finds himself on top of the world. The other is about feeling very small and being let down by the quality of products, staff behavior and quality of service.
There is nothing in between. Hence, if you are in the job of making products or services or distributing them, you should find out ways and means which will ensure that the customer always goes through the first experience. This will surely make him come back over and over again. Here are 3 important and proven tips that could redefine the way in which one looks at customer experience.
1. Make Employers Owners Of Improved Customer Experience
The customers do not interact with the CEOs, COOs and the Vice-Presidents. There interaction is mostly restricted to the customer executives or the front line assistants. They are the ones who should be trained well as far as improving customer experience is concerned. The employees should be motivated and made to understand that they are the main spokes in the entire wheel of improved customer experience. They should be made the owners of such programs, because with ownership comes responsibility.
2. Systems And Processes
Quite often the systems and processes that are developed in any marketing activity tend to look inward rather than outward. The processes are often designed to make life easy for those who are a part of it. Very often we tend to forget that the customers are the most important partner of such processes. These processes and systems will have no value if the interests of customers are not understood. Hence, any processes and systems should have the customer on the top of the mind. This will certainly go a long way in making excellent customer experience a reality.
3. Importance Of Honest And Regular Feedback From Customers
Excellence in customer service needs to be measured constantly. This cannot be done in an abstract form. There should be some inputs that will help measure the levels of customer satisfaction or otherwise. Hence there should be avenues which permit customers to share their experiences, both good and bad quite frankly. The feedbacks should be available only with those who have been mandated with the task of putting in place superior customer experience programs. The feedbacks should be analyzed on a regular basis and preventive or preemptive action should be taken wherever necessary. The use of social media towards this objective is something that should always be accorded top priority.
At the end of the day there is no denying the fact that improving your customer experience is not something that will happen overnight. It is a long and continuous process and there are no commas and full stops here. There are no ultimate levels of customer excellence and one level of success sets the benchmark for the next higher level. Further, ensuring superior customer experiences requires active cooperation and support from top to bottom.