“Customer service is not a department. It’s a philosophy to be embraced by everyone in an organization. Everyone plays their part in contributing to the customer’s experience.” – Shep Hyken
Creating best customer experiences for business success would be unthinkable and undoable for a company without active contribution from each person. The quote above explains this idea perfectly and as such must be the basis for any company’s interactions with customers. Whether a company would like to admit it or not, for every product or service they think up or work on, there is sure to be a competitor either already toying with the idea or contemplating the idea because it seems profitable for the other company. Irrespective of who launches a product or service first, the success of an offering depends on which company provides the best customer experiences. Customer experiences are the ‘feelings’ customers have during and after every interaction with a company, through every stage and every touch-point of the company. Every person in the company is a potential ‘contact point’ for a customer, and must know how to optimize the opportunity to ensure that customers remain happy, loyal, and profitable. Any opportunity wasted, pushes a company closer to failure.
Even if there is a product or service in existence, there is always a possibility of doing a better job. Creating the best version of an offering is vital in creating the best customer experiences. Customers want to know they are getting the best and would not mind waiting a bit longer to get it, than accept something that is not top class. Smart companies would rather learn from the shortcomings of a competitor’s offering and the blunders they commit, rather than rush in and make the same mistakes. It would be better to launch a product that customers view as the best and make a beeline to buy it, in the knowledge that they would have the best customer experiences with the offering when bought from the particular company. By focusing on being the best and giving top quality to customers, companies ensure that customer loyalty stays with them, irrespective of the number of similar offerings in the market. Best customer experiences work as great marketing tools and work towards selling more for a company – happy customers reciprocate by sharing their great experiences with all.
As business shifts to the ‘online’ realm, the possibility of interactions and experiences ‘going cold’ is a harsh reality and customers do not appreciate de-humanized companies. For best customer experiences, each customer must feel important and be treated as an individual. They expect that companies view their issues and problems with the same focus and personalized manner, as they see them. Smart companies use technology to advantage – communicating and engaging with customers in the most personalized and ‘human’ manner, thereby increasing engagement and affinity for themselves. Even with a large customer base, a company must understand that customers do not care about the ‘zillion’ other customers, but are focused only on what they need and expect. We are doubtful as to whether any company has ever heard a customer say – “we don’t mind taking a back-seat. We know that the other customer is more important”! Hence, it is vital that companies use every piece of information provided to ensure that they are giving the best customer experiences – personalized, pleasant, and memorable.
A company that consistently listens to its customers would be able to tailor their experiences and marketing messages that would be specific to each customer. These experiences would deliver straight off and exactly what customers expect and want. Personalized experiences are the best customer experiences and tailor-made products make customers feel like the company cares about them, and will be there for them beyond the business too. Such feelings and experiences help a company to enhance their reputation of dependability, which in turn retains customers and create loyal brand ambassadors over time – essential in the current highly competitive and volatile marketplace.
For the best customer experiences, a company must understand the importance of using technology to manage and utilize customer data. As businesses grow the amount of customer data increases too and without proper systems and updated technology, a company would be unable to manage the data to provide customized experiences that customers expect. Personalized service and customized products lend a human touch to the business relationship. The human element builds rapport and trust since it lets customers know that they are dealing with ‘someone’ who cares about them and that they do not need to worry about anything. Technology is great and can be used to create personalized meetings and face-to-face interactions, it would be impossible for a company to provide the best customer experiences – the kind they will remember for a long time. There are a number of tools and techniques where people can see the face and smile of another, without being at the same location – using these techniques will load your business relationships with the soft human touch so essential to engage customers and keep them ‘stuck’ to your company.
The simplest way to creating best customer experiences is by talking to your customers and soliciting their feedback and advice. After all, businesses are in existence because of and for customers. Let them tell your company what they want and would like to see more or less of – they know best what they need at what time. It just makes sense to let them provide their ideas of how your company can improve its products, service, and experiences for them. Customer feedback surveys, discussion groups, online customer community, social media engagement, and other such techniques prove indispensable for understanding customers in the way they expect. These techniques are not hard to implement, but the payoffs from happy customers are something every company needs for success of their business.
As competition gets tougher, almost all companies have both on online and real world presence. It just makes better business sense to have all grounds covered. While customers and prospective ones, might browse websites and social media sites to understand a company and see other customer reviews, most would want to ‘touch and feel’ the products before buying. Creating best customer experiences in both worlds would work in the company’s favour – bringing them more success and profitability.
Customers have short attention spans, tend to lost interest, and even become smug about a company and the service it provides. They become so habituated of what your company offers that they forget the pain and effort that you put in to ensure an undisturbed and seamless front, and as a result do not make any effort towards enhancing your success. It is important for a company to ask for referrals and testimonials, not only to make existing customers think about the effort you put in for them, endeavouring to provide the best customer experiences at all times, but also to nudge them into recommending your company to others. It is a known fact that prospective customers and target audience, tend to believe the recommendation of existing customers – much more than if the company were saying the same things. Being able to generate business through referrals and testimonials will provide proof that your current customers are delighted with what they receive, thereby making it easier for others to ‘come on board’ without apprehension or delays.
Every company must aspire to be the best by providing the best customer experiences such that they would have no choice but to speak well and often about your company.