5 Steps to deliver unique customer experience

April 16, 2021 0BrandingEntrepreneurStartup

Apr 16, 2021 | Updated Apr 16, 2021 
By @JoshuaNgala

Customer experience is the number one brand differentiator. Specifically, it is the holistic perception of customers and their interactions with an organization and its products and services over the duration of their relationship, becoming happy and loyal.

The experience impacts all areas of business; feelings and emotion, and encompasses the entire customer journey.

The collaboration remains a top priority to businesses as the companies that focus on customer experience reduce churn and scale up their revenues.

Organizations have realized that an outstanding customer experience is one that keeps customers coming back while spreading the word about their experience.

To rapidly address customer problems and drive innovation, a need of engaging an organization’s front-line employees to deliver on the customer strategy remains crucial.

For that reason, companies develop sets of principles for moving well beyond the basics of customer service by putting power, resources, and trust in the hands of value-zone employees.

You must have heard of some of the most common causes for bad customer experiences involve: difficult purchasing processes, negative experiences with customer support, compromising a customer’s personal security, waiting too long on hold, and Ignoring customer feedback.

Such mishaps violate consumer expectations. Consequently, customer care transformation is important as it compels companies to change their business models and adapt to the new market reality.

In the process, they establish critical enablers to drive transformational change via mindsets, behaviors and capabilities, technology enablement, operating model, and performance management.

Research by American Express found that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. Such an empirical result means that any business model must therefore be customer-centric.

Here is a five-step process for moving beyond a suggestion-box mentality, to a strategy that will help you improve customer satisfaction and increase revenues:

Step 1: Create a clear customer experience vision

The first phase is top-management buy-in on a customer-centric strategy to ensure a shared vision. At this stage, you are connecting the front-line employees to the customer strategy.

The easiest way to define this vision is to create a set of guiding principles.

The set of rules drive the behavior of your organization embedded into all areas of training and development.

Such a top management approach can help in the re-alignment of corporate culture, training, work processes, and reward systems.

Importantly, the core customer journeys must be identified and transformed by redesigning and digitizing them.

Step 2: Understand your customers and create emotional connection

It’s important for a business to focus on its customers. One way to do this is to segment your customers and create personas to understand them better.

Get to know details of the needs, wants, and fears of the customers. This helps your organization to connect and empathize with the situations that your customers face.

Customers are 3 times more likely to purchase and recommend your product or service if they have an emotional connection with your brand.

Emotionally engaged customers have a higher lifetime value, as they tend to be loyal, satisfied, and ready to make new purchases.

A happy customer with her shopping bag. Photo/Pexels
A happy customer with her shopping bags. Photo/Pexels
Step 3: Empower your workforce, and invest in your frontline

How can you tell if you are delivering an excellent customer experience?

Getting customer feedback helps you know what customers think about the quality of your service compared to the customer experience principles you have defined.

Therefore, the use of a quality framework for the development of your team at every level makes them understand the customer strategy.

They also need simple problem-solving frameworks that are used throughout the organization to promote cross-hierarchical dialogue.

The quality framework takes this assessment one step further by scheduling and tracking your team’s development through coaching, eLearning, and group training.

The front office serves as the face of an employer. Often, it is the first and sometimes only people who the clients meet. This is not so different from other employees.

Too many companies are content to hire front-line staff without carefully considering whether they possess the right attitude and values to represent their brand.

The elephant in the room is what should be done to cure an institutional customer experience gap? The answer is: invest in them.

Step 4: Grant employees the opportunity to experiment

Most employees at the value zone know what ails a company. Sometimes even before management does or, at least, before management is willing to admit.

They not only see service breakdowns but also opportunities for serving customers in entirely innovative ways. For that reason, an organization needs to act upon continuous employee feedback.

This can be done using tools that allow staff to share ideas on how to improve the customer experience and for managers to see how the staff is feeling towards the business.

The use of project management software or social media tools can leave continuous feedback.

Also, teaching front-line leaders the basics for designing simple experiments enables organizations to test many more ideas than could ever be orchestrated centrally.

For example, Amazon, where CEO Jeff Bezos often insists on leaving an empty chair at meetings to represent the “customer’s voice,” has a data-driven culture that actively encourages employees to build experiments based on customer insight.

Step 5: Eliminate the barriers, unnecessary bureaucracy

The biggest problem with the old-age organization structure is that it doesn’t support the people in the value zone-the place where value is truly created for customers.

When a leader holds too much power prevents the organization from becoming democratized, and the energy of the employees from being released.

People must align themselves and work together toward one goal. But it will not happen without a culture of trust.

Reduce the silos. Break down unnecessary bureaucracy, decision processes, or administrative work that impedes the front line to expeditiously serve customers.

Lack of trust among employees and management is a barrier to change of culture.

There are many ways to build trust, but one specific trust-building action is pushing the ‘envelope of transparency’.

Finally, the customer experience metric is one of the biggest challenges faced by organizations.

It helps them know if all this investment in teams, processes, and technology is working and paying off.

There are different software that can be used to measure the journey. Companies can connect with their customers in new and exciting ways, thanks to technology.

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