Gartner predicts, “50 percent of consumer product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations by 2017″ . The top executives also opine that the key to strong customer loyalty is no longer product innovation but innovation in customer experience.
8 Best Practices of Customer Experience Management It thus becomes important for businesses to channelize their energies in understanding their customers better, so that a new and optimized level of customer satisfaction can be guaranteed. Different strategies such as leveraging the modern technologies, being in-sync with the latest trends, differentiation, understanding the pulse of the customers, etc., all needs to be delivered cohesively to offer a par-excellence customer experience.
Below are some of the best practices of customer experience management:
Every successful company will emphasize the importance of sharing a strong and long relationship with customers. While a lasting relationship is a testimony to customer loyalty and brand credibility, it also implies that customers are more likely to advocate for the brand and encourage more people to be associated with the brand. However, building a solid relationship is not a matter of a day or week. It takes years of trust, relentless pursuance, and persistence to gain & maintain customer confidence.
Customer centers, which act as the first line of interaction with the brand, are in the right position to re-inforce this strategy. They should make efforts to become a customer’s friend and provide them with the most accurate and apt solutions to their problems. In doing so, agents may cross-sell/down-sell/up-sell but the bottom line should not be to ‘just make money’ but should be to win the customer’s heart as well. Historic & real-time data can be leveraged to set the background of conversation, and as soon as the conversation is over, customer feedback should be sought to identify scope of improvements and ensuring an optimized customer experience.
With business being more dynamic and fast-paced, expectations about customer experience is also rising higher than ever before. Gone are the days where customers would contact the brand and wait for good old two/three days to get a response. Now, a response within two/three hours is somewhat satisfactory. With mobile and cloud in picture, this scenario is becoming even more challenging for businesses. Given this change, it becomes imperative for businesses to expedite customer service – connecting with the customers in real time, via live chat or phone, as opposed to asking them to resort to emails, etc. In addition, it is observed that businesses often encourage customers to opt for self-service to cut down on the costs and empower them. However, in complicated cases or when not used in the right manner, a move towards self-service often results in loss of customers and opportunities of sales.
Therefore, businesses should leverage all the possible channels to increase the TAT of resolution and increase satisfaction and it is one of the important practices of Customer Experience Management
With proliferation of communication channels, customer experience changes radically. In addition, the customer might start his journey in one channel, continue in another, and end in yet another one. In this regard, it is important for businesses to have as many contact points as possible (email, sms, video, chat, social media, and phone, in store and on desktops, mobiles and tablets) and to be accessible to customers wherever they are stuck. Equally important is that there is a seamless service that is offered by the brand. This will ensure that customers experience remains the same across platforms/ contact points, and all valuable insights can be captured.
Businesses, who are well versed with the behavior of their customers, are in a better position to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Offering personalized service is one such great way. Such a service not only provides an exclusive shopping experience but also allows businesses to experiment and optimize the way customers interact with the brand. In this whole journey, more insights and stories about customers are gathered in a smooth way.
A good customer service begins with a good agent performance. Therefore, businesses should be conscious of maintaining the quality of agents and coaches. It is advised that agents be periodically trained, given proper guidance and feedback so that they are kept abreast with the changes in business and customer expectations. New generation training tools should be explored and enough encouragement and motivation should be given to agents to optimize their performance.
It is important that the agents develop the art of conversing with customers while also ensuring that they listen to them. In short, a proper mix of empathy and core skills will go a long way to help customers be engaged while also provide agents opportunities for some real talk. This may sound contrary to the norm where agents are required to keep a call short, but researches have shown that firms where agents are adept in establishing quality conversations with contacts see less attrition and more customer loyalty. It is not a bad idea after all to send a congratulations card, freebies, etc. to customers and win their hearts.
Peter Drucker’s maxim that “what gets measured gets managed” indeed has worth. While many companies may be focused on profitability and sales, it is a wise game plan to track the brand differentiation, preference and customer loyalty. A peek into the customer’s journey – what has he done, which channel he chose, and what were the points which interested him are important metrics. These key indicators deliver enhanced customer experience and drive customer advocacy.
Customer experience should not limited to call centers, it should be the very ethos of the organization. In this regard, it is important that the top management is conscious of this, and percolates the same culture way down. While the management should provide the invaluable guidance about how to reach the big picture, the agents in the call centers should be able to understand how and where they fit into the big picture.
There is no simple way to implement CEM and see the results overnight. Like any experience, it cannot be simply analyzed in terms of sales & profit and return customers; rather, it needs to capture the very pulse of the customers – their emotions, expectations and deliver a “beyond expectations” experience. Providing quality customer care services is a step towards the successful implementation of CEM.