In 2011, Ecoconsultancy’s Multichannel Customer Experience Report discovered that only 20% of companies have worked to design a customer experience. Visionary business leaders might have seen this as an opportunity to surge ahead of their competitors. But three years later, not much has changed. Probably based on the four reasons your competitors have not taken action.
So the window is still open for your business to create a focus most of your competition has missed.
A great customer experience not only increases customer satisfaction and referrals it reduces customer turnover and can keep your best employees delivering that experience for you instead of your competitors.
However, becoming a customer experience organization is a journey in itself. As noted by the Harvard Business Review, customer experience is more than the sum of its “touch points” (every interaction a customer has with your business). The HBR goes on to say “the narrow focus on maximizing satisfaction at those moments can create a distorted picture suggesting that customers are happier with the company than they actually are.”
Indulge me for a moment while I illustrate with my own experience.
Recently, the cell phones of my entire family were hacked. Our numbers were being used by unscrupulous people to…I don’t know, call their grandma overseas?
So began my own customer experience journey.
I was never notified, of course. That, perhaps, being too obvious for my carrier? Instead, they opted to simply turn off our service and leave the whole family unable to make calls, check emails or play Candy Crush.
Being the sort of person with little patience for “customer service” reps, I logged onto the carrier’s website hoping to solve the situation through technology. After about two minutes using my online account, the carrier’s system logged me out and refused to accept my access again. (There’s a online customer experience story here, but I’ll leave that for now.)
Alas…I had to resort to a live person. It was not my day.
First I had to navigate the frustrating Daedalus maze of voice prompts. Since you too, gentle reader, have experienced these systems, I imagine you are already beginning to clench your teeth in memory of your own rage.
Since apparently I speak with marbles in my mouth, I invariably find myself shouting the instructions into my phone, enunciating every syllable, with the fervor of a Southern Baptist minister at a tent revival. (Just an FYI, adding an expletive at the end of every shrieked command does not make the system understand you any better.)
When I finally did reach a real, warm human being, I recited my account number, my password, my mother’s maiden name and possibly even the room number of my first grade class. Then I told my story.
Bless her heart, my delightful customer service representative followed her training and listened patiently. She really listened, without interrupting. Then stated: “You have a fraud alert on your account. I’m going to transfer you to fraud.
With that, she was gone. Frankly, I would have preferred she interrupted me, it would have saved me time. Because she simply sent me back into another hellish voice prompt system again, where I had to navigate my way to the fraud department.
And repeat my entire story again.
In the end, they resolved my issue. (BEFORE I had even begun to develop Candy Crush withdrawal symptoms.)
Since you too are a veteran of your own customer service skirmishes, I’m sure you can even recite the final question they asked, right?
Yep…you got it: “Have I resolved your issue today to your satisfaction?”
Somewhere in the corporate halls of my carrier, someone was checking the “Satisfied Customer” box. It would surely eventually be tabulated against the greater “Customer Satisfaction” metric used in their marketing. But you and I know the real truth.
I wasn’t so much satisfied as I was relieved that the process was complete. My family phones were working. My teenagers could go back to non-stop texting, thumbs flying like the wings of Flappy Bird. All was right with the world.
But my EXPERIENCE was frustrating.
What is the story being told by your customers? Do you know? You should.
Because every individual experience drives customer loyalty. These experiences increase satisfaction. Increase referrals. And help you retain your best customers and your best employees. Best of all, it’s difficult for your competitors to imitate.
There are reasons 80% of your competitors became a statistic in the Ecoconsultancy study, but we encourage you to start your own journey through the four stages of becoming a Customer Experience driven organization. 1) Culture. 2) Understanding. 3) Design. 4) Training. Check this blog in coming weeks for our series on the stages of becoming a Customer Experience driven organization.
Hopefully soon, you’ll see why the benefits of becoming a Customer Experience outweigh the excuses not to.