Customer experience has always been an important component to business success but even more so in today’s wired, interconnected world. Companies need to differentiate their business from a noisy marketplace that offers near identical products and services everywhere. Better technological advancements means a more level playing field and access to data that used to be available only to conglomerates with big budgets.
Companies are now paying more than lip service to providing a truly amazing experience for their customers. Departments are being developed to focus on optimizing customer experience. CEOs are prioritizing it by mobilizing their people to put more effort into the managing customer touch points. Tools are being used to enable companies to monitor and organize every interaction between customers and companies at every lifecycle.
More than ever, paying attention to customer experience has become of paramount importance. To appreciate just how important it is, you should be familiar with the current business environment that we’re operating in. Here are a few trends that show us just how important customer experience is today.
Today’s customers demand an outstanding and individualized experience in every interaction.
It’s now the “age of the customer”. They want a seamless experience when interacting with your front liners across various touch points. Whether they contact you through traditional means like over the phone, or via more ubiquitous means such as social media (Facebook, twitter, chat, SMS), there shouldn’t be a disconnect across all platforms. Businesses now deal with empowered, intelligent buyers who have access to information at the tips of their fingers. Customers can now scan barcodes with a mobile app to instantly compare prices or research online to find businesses with high customer ratings. They want their questions and concerns handled quickly and correctly, handled by knowledgeable agents who can get it right on their first try.
With the proliferation of smartphones and cloud computing comes a the need to adopt a mobile mind shift, where customers demand immediate response and results, regardless of where they are. This is where the value of turning big data into viable business insights comes into the picture, because your ultimate goal is to use those insights into the kind of experience customers want: a personalized, definite, even meaningful interaction.
Emily Collins, an analyst for Forrester Research, says “Consumers don’t have to be loyal to a particular company…the traditional lock-in mechanisms aren’t as effective.”
There is an increased focus on improving customer experience at the board level.
One indicator that shows how important customer experience is becoming nowadays is that it is the being discussed more heavily during board meetings and high-level decision makers. The level of attention trickles down across organizations and becomes part of the company culture. Employees now have greater regard for making it a priority. The fact that so many newly minted job titles include the words “customer experience” in it is also proof that companies are putting a lot of their resources into doing it right.
“It shows that [customer experience] is not just a discussion anymore; it’s a real discipline and it’s an expertise and a practice that people are fundamentally building into their businesses,” says Jason Mittelstaedt, CMO of RightNow Technologies and a CXPA board member. He further states that it is currently reaching “mass maturation”.
Bruce Temkin, managing partner of The Temkin Group and co-founder of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CPXA), acknowledges this trend, saying “the leaders of companies are recognizing the importance of how they treat their customers…the other thing going on is there’s been a rise in awareness of the customer experience and what it means.” Companies are fully embracing the fact that improvements in customer experience leads to improvements in business performance as well.
Ed Thompson, analyst for the market research firm Gartner, says: “Between 5% and 10% of companies truly have a customer culture at their core, but the rest have been forced to care because all other means of differentiation have been eroded over time. That’s why it is currently a hot topic and has been very high on CEO agendas for the last three years or so.”
Contact centers are utilizing modern tools to improve customer experience.
Most contact centers remain efficiency driven. While they do acknowledge that customer experience is a priority, in reality agents are unable to deliver truly excellent service because they’re rewarded for having short call times and making more calls in a day. As such, call quality suffers. Training comes at the bottom of the priority list, because productivity means having more agents talking to customers than attending a refresher.
With today’s technology, however, it’s possible to use equipment such as intraday automation tools to monitor periods of low call volume and use this time to deliver quick refresher courses and updates for agents to keep them up to speed with the product or service. It allows them to be updated on the latest trends and become more knowledgeable without sacrificing efficiency. In fact, operations become more efficient because idle time is being used wisely, and done in real time. The result is a more productive work schedule and more training time for agents, which will help them become the knowledgeable contact agents that customers demand.
Because of these, a productive workforce that is informed, responsive, and thoroughly prepared is not within reach.
Customer experience 2.0 is not just about loyalty or customer retention. With all the tools available today, businesses can afford to deliver more of the kind of service that today’s buyers expect. In return, delighted customers will keep coming back for more services and products from you, and even become your brand advocates by recommending you to others.
Nowadays, the traditional landline phone customer service that businesses have may not serve your customers well—considering that we’re living in the technology era. Having customer support in other types of network such as through online and mobile are some of the customer assistance services we have, which can take your entire customer service to a whole new level. Learn more!