Making Customer Experience a Priority

by | Dec 17, 2016 | Customer Service | 0 comments

“Customers are no longer buying products and services – they are buying experiences delivered via the products and services.” – Gregory Yankelovich

Making customer experience a priority seems like the most obvious thing for any business. A company that claims to be customer focused, would only be able to substantiate its claims by ensuring that every experience for customers is memorable and pleasant. Anyone running a business probably knows that serving customers and ensuring top class experiences cannot be the task of a few employees or a couple of teams within the organization. Making customer experience a priority should be the responsibility and onus of each person working in the company in order for top class experiences to become a consistent practice. Each person must remain aware of their role in ensuring that customers receive their due importance and are able to make them feel special. Most companies link customer service to remuneration and benefits, making it one of the key performance indicators for every person in the company, irrespective of the role and team.

Several companies make the mistake of approaching business purely from the aspect of making money, and forget that customers should be top priority. The fact is that when a company makes customer experience a priority, the money and profits follow and remain. The success of a company today depends hugely on the mind-set and approach – it depends on the priorities of the company, and if customers do not take precedence, success would be short-lived for the company. If making money is the prime concern of the company, their processes, and strategies will revolve around that aspect, leaving customers to play second fiddle – something that customers detest.  Making customer experience a priority is about balancing the expectations of customers with the long-term goals of the company.

The very reason for the existence of a business would be customers – how is it prudent then to keep their needs secondary? When a company remains focused on its own interests, it would be expected that the interests of both customers and employees would be ignored. Over time, a company would not only lose customers for sure, but also some of its best employees too. While seeking growth and profits for the company is critical, the approach matters. By making customer experience a priority, a company would not only increase its business but would also ensure that it remains sustainably profitable. Happy customers not only provide repeat business, but also become loyal brand ambassadors over time – bringing in more business and positive attention for the company.

As the market becomes more competitive, company leaders would need to change continually their mind-set and manner of running their business in order to gain financial success. The top most expectation from customers is to receive top class service and high quality experiences when interacting with a company. The more a company can focus on getting better at meeting the needs and expectations of customers, the more likely would it be to achieve sustainable growth and profits. Customers talk – and they are more likely to spread negative experiences than positive ones, and only when they get truly delightful experiences with a company, would they make the effort to spread it to others. Making customer experience a priority continues to increase in significance as the moods, needs, and demands of customers continue to evolve and change. Customers refuse to settle for less, and need to know that their business is extremely important for a company, and that the company would do whatever it takes to make the relationship a success. The huge successes of several companies, which are truly customer centric, goes to prove that making customer experience a priority is possibly the shortest route to greater financial returns – sustainably.

When a company does not make customer experience a priority, a closer look will reveal that the customers are probably only just about satisfied. Customer satisfaction, unfortunately, is no longer a guarantee of a business or loyalty. Research and data repeatedly show that customers (about 33%) will turn away from a company if they receive rude and disrespectful treatment from the company representatives, while another 26% customers would switch to another company if they were ‘tossed’ around between several representatives of the company.

While technology is a boon, for companies that do not make customer experience a priority, it has become a bane. Customers now are able to ‘broadcast’ their poor experiences to a much larger number of people, on high visibility platforms, and such poor comments remain on the company’s site forever. Research shows that while only 15 customers will speak about good experiences, at least 24 would highlight the poor experiences, and on a number of different channels. As we know, an increasing number of people look up reviews and comments about a company before buying – and negative comments sure act as a barrier to getting more business. Companies really do not have a choice but to make customer experience a priority, especially with the rise of social media, sharing experiences and ‘talking’ about companies and their products on a visible platform is so easy for customers. The fact is that companies would not know how customers feel, and usually realize their mistakes when customers would have posted incidences and comments – by then it is usually too late, since a large audience would have already viewed the comments and formed negative impressions of the company. Not making customer experience a priority is a sure way to tarnish reputation and make a huge dent in the popularity of a company – something that is extremely hard to recover from – and most companies never do.

If your company does make its customers priority, they are willing to reciprocate – as research proves. Almost 66% customers have said that they would be willing to spend more with a company that provided them with great service and experiences, and almost 55% customers said that they abandoned a transaction because they receive poor experiences with a company. These are whopping figures, and not something that any company can take lightly. A number of things fall in line when a company places importance on the needs and expectations of its customers. Happy customers turn to loyal ones, which any business owner will tell you, is one of the greatest competitive advantages there is, in business today.

Making customer experience a priority is not something a company can come up with suddenly. It requires planning, foresight, and a lasting commitment – not just from the service or marketing teams, or from the company’s leadership but from every person associated with the company. Happy customers make a successful company, and this spells success for all those in the company as well. Nothing beats strong relationships and emotional connections with customers today – in a market where almost every product and or service can be replicated with ease, making customer experience a priority will be the USP of a company.

Creating a culture of service and including top class customer experiences in the value system of a company is not an overnight task. Serving customers must be woven into the fabric of the company, such that each person realizes the importance of doing so, and the fact that they would remain successful only by making their customers prosper. The higher the number of happy customers, the larger would the company’s profits become and would continue to grow.

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