Leveraging on Customer Service to Create
Customer experience has become a business buzzword these days. You’ll often hear that focusing on a customer’s experience is how companies can positively differentiate and create a competitive advantage for their brand.
But what is customer experience? How does customer service fit into it? And how can your company or business leverage on this approach?
Customer Experience vs Customer Service
Clients tend to interchange customer experience and customer service. However, customer experience is different in a sense as it refers to the overall strategy of a company to attract, serve and retain customers. Customer service on the other hand, is a tool to reach your business’ desired customer experience. Let’s think about it in simpler terms:
Mary is on the lookout to buy a new toaster. She drives downtown and sees two appliance stores. The first appliance store she enters into is in disarray. The sign outside the store is unclear, the product shelves are in disarray, and there are no clear signs or prices. To top it off, the sales assistants pay her no attention and are instead chatting with each other. So Mary immediately leaves and heads for the other appliance store.
When Mary steps into the second store, she was warmly welcomed by the manager, the lights are bright overhead, the store was well-organized and sections labeled clearly, signages for prices and items on sale were easy to find, and a sales assistant was there to walk her through her options and help her select the right toaster for her needs. A few days later, the store called to make sure that Mary was happy with her purchase and all was well.
We all know why Mary chose to buy from the second store—her overall experience there was much better than the first store. First, she was warmly welcomed, and then she was able to easily find what she needed because the shelves were organized, the signage were clear and the store was brightly-lit; and finally she received excellent customer service through the sales assistant. Together, all of these factors made her overall experience pleasant enough for her to recommend the store to others.
In short, customer experience is how your business handles your client’s end-to-end journey and customer service plays an important role in that. When it comes to delivering excellence, you must take on an experience-centric approach holistically.
How to shift to an experience-centric approach
Take a look at some of the best practices according to this Harvard Business Review article on how to shift to an experience centric approach for your brand or business:
- Start by making customer experience part of your brand identity. As a holistic approach, it only makes sense to build what you want your customer experience to be around your brand’s identity. Make it the foundation from which all other service decisions stem from. From your website design to the script you give your customer service representatives, make sure that your brand’s voice shines through. This is how you can set yourself apart from the competition.
- Create a better understanding of your customers and their needs. Make sure you invest the time and effort to really get to know your customers. Study their needs, wants and behavior. Conduct surveys and listen to their feedback. This is the key to creating a personalized service and experience that your clients are sure to appreciate.
- Track and manage each customer touchpoint. Touchpoints include communication pieces like your social media accounts, customer hotline, chat or emails. It also includes the means through which you advertise like websites, physical stores or branches, PR and marketing efforts. It’s important to keep track of these and assess what kind of experience your customer is getting. Do this by breaking down each step of the customer experience journey.. Monitoring the entire journey will help you identify areas where customer expectations are or are not being met.
- Treat your customer service group as an important asset rather than another expense. Customer service is an extremely important tool in building the right customer experience and ensuring that your clients are kept happy through exceptional customer service both during and after sales. Small to medium enterprises especially need to pay close attention to customer service. Cultivating relationships with your customers and leveraging on the trust and loyalty you create is how a small or medium business can gain a competitive edge, differentiate themselves from competitors and survive, or even thrive, as a business. If you feel like your business does not have enough resources or time to tackle this crucial task, then outsourcing may well be the solution.
Collaborating with the right outsourcing partner means you’ll be able to have a professional and dedicated customer service team that works seamlessly with your business. Infinit-O has outsourcing solutions you can tailor-fit for your unique business needs and operates with the highest industry standards and best practices.