There is an old saying in the world of business – ‘Customer is King’. But I think this needs some tweaking. ‘Customer Experience (CX) is the King’. This is because today, we are no longer customers whose opinions and preferences remain static: No. As customers, our preferences are impacted 24×7 by our experiences with the service/product/brand.
The power of social media is 10x louder than the combined mediums of print, radio, and TV now. For companies, this means that a single lapse in matching customer expectations can cost brands dearly.
On the one hand, the bigger companies are following the legacy customer experience model of ‘one-time shop,’ while on the other – small businesses are taking over by building loyalty.
Case in point: Under Armour surpassed Adidas to become the world’s No.2 sports brand last September, even as it looks to usurp the crown from Nike in coming years.
How is that possible?
The answer lies in redefining customer experience. Right from their walk-in to the store to after-sales services – you must cover it all.
And many firms fail to cater to all departments. They fail to invest in providing useful customer experiences in a rush to give the finest and most distinctive product experiences.
In such cases, who is at fault?
Often, when it comes to the consumer experience, organizations are their own worst enemy. This is likely to be the case if your organization is in step with any of the general customer experience misunderstandings.
If this is the case, now is the time to step back and reconsider your course of action.
Misunderstanding #1. My customers need an empathetic connection, not a fast solution
WRONG!!! They are here to get things done and not to harness human relationships.
Businesses frequently project their desire to establish a strong connection with their consumers. These are primarily based on the customers’ affiliation with the product.
However, customers calling service helplines are not looking for personal connections.
What do they need?
They need quick fixes to their problems. This means focus, to-the-point discussions without any upselling.
The success mantra in customer service (which can significantly contribute to CX) is Speed.
There are three critical indicators to define the quality of customer service:
- Query response time
- Issue resolution time
- First-contact resolution
If you attempt to create rapport with the consumer through non-issue-related niceties, service speed will suffer.
Now, if you are here to validate your ‘building a personal rapport’ philosophy, there is a way to it.
The answer lies in nurturing continued discussions.
Create a conducive environment at every possible touchpoint where one can reach out if something relevant arises.
Also, both parties (service person and customer) should have access to the context of past communication in terms of complaints, issue resolution, etc.
This way, an engagement can gradually evolve into a better connection. Having said that, it should not be your immediate goal.
Misunderstanding #2. The true measure of CX is NPS.
No. Do not justify your investment in net promoter score as the only parameter to judge the quality of CX.
The Net Promoter Score indicates how likely customers seem to stay loyal to your brand and recommend it to others. It is the key metric for determining if a brand will generate brand advocates or critics.
But this is merely a starting point. You will need to drive a comprehensive perspective to attain a better standard of the CX.
The modern-day CX necessitates company transformation and innovation. Therefore, before understanding a customer, you must first understand your business and see if you can efficiently measure changing customer behavior and business decisions.
If you can, invest in other aspects of customer experience.
Best CX is where my Business Surpasses Customer Expectations
This fallacy represents one extreme of the debate about what customers truly expect from businesses. It says that to please clients, you must always go above and beyond their expectations.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some suggest that you should focus on minimizing the work required for customers to resolve their issues.
The basic argument made by researchers on the subject is that delighting customers results in marginally stronger customer loyalty than addressing demands, but at a cost that is many times more.
Also, do factor in the fact that customers are brutal in penalizing poor service more often than showing satisfaction on receiving a good service.
This goes to prove that businesses should pivot resources to supply the essentials of customer service regularly and in a stable manner. One such approach involves eliminating consumer barriers. This helps to minimize churn and pleasing customers at scale.
Here are some suggestions to lower efforts in providing great CX:
- Assign clients directly to the most equipped agents to answer their questions depending on the kind of question and the agents’ skill sets.
- Remain easily accessible to the customers. If possible, stay available on their preferred channels. Particularly those that offer simplified, rapid help, such as chat with instant messaging connections, Social Media comments/DMs, Tweets, etc.
- Provide self-service alternatives to further reduce the barrier to accessing information.
- Calculate your Customer Effort Score to ascertain your consumers’ pain areas.
Misunderstanding #3. I can leverage in tech factor to avail loyalty.
Businesses are using technology to manufacture goods or services. In fact, you can market the technology in the production or service rendering department and label it as your USP.
The goal of technology investment should be to improve goods and services, not to increase consumer loyalty through advertising.
Additionally, the technology used to communicate with customers must be carefully chosen to enable more accessible and effective customer connection – and not for its own sake.
At the end of the day, a consumer will evaluate the quality of products and services, keeping in mind the price paid. Using technology to make products that bring loyalty is a great idea. Still, you can not employ it solely to drive loyalty.
Remember, CX is a more human aspect of the business. It is not something that technology can deliver best. Not yet.
The Shorter the Calls with Customers, the better their Experience will be
Wrong. A lot depends on whether the customer got the answer they were looking for. No one likes to speak to a customer support executive and pose the same question repeatedly.
However, this is a possibility if you target quicker response as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to evaluate your customer support team.
Follow the below-mentioned tips to address this challenge-
• Do not evaluate the success of a call based on its average handling time.
- Place a premium on client service.
- Artificial Intelligence results in fewer but more complicated calls. Instead of shortening discussions: resolve issues, give assistance, and discover solutions.
- As mentioned, integrate more qualitative KPIs to ensure a successful service execution.
• Do prioritize scripted response
- Comprehensive training is a must for all agents.
- Customers are smart enough to identify whether the agents on the other side of the phone provide the scripted answers or are involved pro-actively.
- Therefore, provide instruction to agents that enable them to respond to inquiries naturally and politely.
• Connect customers to subject-area expert
- Never escalate the situation with consumers.
- Instead, have a subject area expert with all the necessary tools that can help them resolve even the most difficult situations.
- It benefits consumers and helps agents develop into trusted, confident, and valuable workers.
Misunderstanding #4 – Stringent CX Protocols Ensure Top-Notch Customer Service
It’s a reassuring concept: you develop service norms that align with both your customer’s and your own objectives, then get everyone on board – and you are done.
However, stringent service norms bind both agents and clients to a framework that precludes the consideration of specific instances.
This is because a bureaucratic system will eventually wear out at some point. In such a situation, the only choice is to escalate the matter to management.
And this gets demanding for both – you and the consumer.
A fine print for agents is good, but implementing stricter protocols to gauge their performance will eventually extend to the customers.
From an employee’s perspective, the CX agents are deprived of confidence in their ability to make difficult decisions when protocols are in place.
A good idea is to provide a line of action to achieve desired results with an upside-down funnel. This means a standard template from greetings to goodbye can be followed. But everything else is improvised based on customer requirements.
Excellent service instills in consumers the confidence that everything is under control. Effective service management instills in staff a sense of control over giving effective assistance to the client.
Your top CX teams may need some supervision. Still, it should be in the form of a flexible, instructional framework of ideas. The goal is to encourage this CX personnel to operate autonomously and accept responsibility for better results.
In the end, it all boils down to customer happiness.
But the demands of customer care are greater than ever. Customer retention problems can generally be linked back to policies and practices; however, most customers do not provide feedback as changes are assumed.
Ensure you understand customer preferences by addressing common misunderstandings around CX. Pivot resources that encourage reviews engage customers for a reason and take home a good story to tell about your brand.