Businesses today have no option but to pamper their customers to retain them. The key to retaining customers is to manage customer experiences skillfully. Customers who enjoy a pleasurable experience during their interactions with the company are less likely to leave. Pay heed to the following five considerations when develop the right customer experience strategy.
Many companies focus their efforts on ensuring that the customer is happy at the touch points at which they interact with the company. While this is essential, focusing only on touch points at the expense of other areas is a mistake. For one, it creates a distorted picture that customers are happier than they actually are, and more importantly, it diverts attention from the bigger and more important picture, which is the customer’s end-to-end journey.
Nothing exemplifies this more than the case of the call center. Any company worth its salt would try to improve the “call center” experience so that customers can get their queries or complaints redressed within the shortest possible time, in the most pleasant way. However, a sense of satisfaction at this level masks a greater underlying fault line – that of why the customer had to approach the helpdesk or support in the first place. The right customer experience strategy is to not just resolve the complaint smoothly, but also to investigate why the customer had to complain, and take steps to pre-empt such causes from recurring.
A November 2013 research by Harvard Business Review (HBR) reveals that organizations who skillfully manage the entire customer experience reap the rewards of enhanced customer satisfaction, increased revenue, reduced churn and greater employee satisfaction.
Most customers are not annoyed by one phone call, a single field visit or any other interaction. However cumulative experiences across multiple touch points and in multiple channels over time can make or break a customer’s relationship with the company.
To build on the right customer experience strategy, marketers need to analyze how any single interaction impact the relationships with the customer in its comprehensive whole. It needs to look into the entire customer journey, to see where and how the specific interaction fits in.
Many marketers try to solve common problems with common solutions. For instance, they try to meet an exodus of customers due to price hike with free upgrade offers and discounted rate plans. Such efforts are counterproductive, and at best a quick fix that offers a temporary solution. If offering discounts were sustainable, the company need not have increased prices to trigger the exodus in the first place!
A better solution to deliver the right customer experience amidst such unavoidable situations is applying innovation. The company, for instance, could try to arrest the exodus triggered by price-rise by strongly promoting a privilege club that offer greater value.
That a “one size fits all” approach in marketing is doomed to failure is obvious. However, marketers may be hard pressed for time and resources to deal with each prospect or customer on an individual basis either. Companies that deliver a truly outstanding customer experience divide customers into segments and design experience-focused value propositions for each one. They tailor and design customer experiences for different customers.
Again, in today’s tech-savvy and highly fluid world, segmentation based on conventional parameters of demographics may not work. Marketers need to segment based on customer tastes and attitudes. A mobile service provider could segment customers into “young, active, fun users” and “business users” and offer two different value prepositions for these segments.
Delivering on the right customer experience is a continuous activity, and not an on-off or annual exercise. Customer wants, tastes, and expectations can change quickly and marketers need to always listen to the customer. The good use of big data analytics, customer lifecycle management, and other interventions would help in this regards. Also, it should not be a goal in itself, but rather a means towards excellence.
It is important to have a system in place to offer superior customer experience, on a consistent basis, across all systems and touch points, over time. Conneqt Business Solutions offers solutions to this end. Download the whitepaper “How to Build a Premium Customer Experience” to understand how Conneqt Business Solutions can help you retain and delight your customers.