Customer experience strategy – making it meaningful!
If you ask your customers what do they think about customer experience, the vast majority of them are going to say, What is Customer Experience?
When you take your customers through a candid survey, you will most likely get poor scores. However, is that the proper measure? Because here we are talking about customers who don’t know what Customer Experience means.
These are customers who have bought a product or service from you, and you haven’t even had a single conversation with them for years. You haven’t provided them any experience for your customers to know what it is.
Their demand is met – they are happy that what they have bought from you. There ends the story.
Whereas, when you ask the customer experience professionals where they stand on a scale of 1 to 10, they would most likely rate it at around 7, hoping to push it to 9 in the next 18 months or so.
Most of them are glass-half-full professionals, which probably is not the wrong way to look at CX. They are thoroughly optimistic about improving the experience and benefitting the organization.
What are the expectations of today’s customers?
Choices have changed, preferences have changed. I want same day delivery, frictionless purchase process, free shipping, 100% refund on returns for any stated or unstated reasons, and if I have any questions I should be able to hook up with you on chat or video conferencing.
People want it now. That’s the world that we are living in.
If this defines your customer segment, you start providing them with what they want.
Since the pandemic set in, several things changed, and one of them is the channel through which your customers reach you.
If you looked at the first five months of lockdown, there was a five-year digital acceleration. If you look at the first ten months of lockdown, there was a ten-year digital acceleration. Organizations were trying to innovate to provide the best possible customer experience while working remotely.
Customer experience and digital – how important is it?
Customer experience and digital need not be directly proportional to each other. There is a big difference between what we like doing personally and what works for the masses. It depends upon where most of your customers are and what they prefer? If what they prefer is not digital, then so be it, just provide what they need.
Most of you must have heard of CD Baby, selling independent music. One hundred fifty thousand musicians, 2 million music-buying customers, $139 million in revenues, $83 million paid directly to musicians.
You know what, CD Baby did no marketing. Everyone came by word-of-mouth. Why?
Was it pricing? Was it features? Nope.
The #1 answer, by far, almost every time someone raved about the company, was this:
“You pick up the phone! I can reach a real person.”
Their customer service principle has always been, your call gets picked up in the first two rings.
Customer Experience is a journey
It is not a project, and it does not have an end date. You will have to keep innovating and improving. What is the best way to do it? You have to look at how to do what you are doing better and look at future trends.
If the business objectives and customer objectives are not in alignment, then there is no way you can provide a great customer experience.
Most customer experience functions base their strategies on the costs they incur in employing people, the drop in efficiency, and the additional costs they would incur in using additional people.
Take a step back, and think of it with the glass-half-full wisdom, and you would start looking at providing efficiency besides providing excellent customer experiences.
How do you bring in efficiency here?
Use intelligence to analyze the customer interactions across channels, and understand the most commonly asked queries. Move them into the self-service capabilities of your website and mobile app. Look at the transactional queries that your chatbots can handle and move them there.
Now you are left with very little to do for your human representatives, and you can use them to address complex queries while they help the customers pick and choose additional services and features from your offerings.
Have omnichannel capabilities to have a single view of the customer and a single view of the inventory irrespective of the channels they use for their interactions. This would allow you to provide the experience that your customers desire.
The best way is to talk to your existing customers and those you want to have as your customers. Match their customer experience expectations with the journey that you provide. Incrementally improve every single day on what you deliver through all of your channels.
Do only those that bring the most value to your business and the most value to your customers. In no time, you would be considered the customer experience champion, which would reap the rewards.