Creating a Robust Customer Experience Program

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“Customer experience is one of the main competitive advantages that companies strive to obtain over their competitors. Market research indicates that ‘optimizing the customer experience’ is the most exciting opportunity among marketers and e-commerce professionals,” – iperceptions.com

The business of commerce and commercial activities has distinguished human societies in the course of the last few millennia. Early commerce was essentially a barter system that thrived on the exchange of goods that bore a perceived value. The subsequent invention of the various forms of money and fiat currency lubricated the demand and supply equations in commerce. It also helped to expand the scope of businesses and trade activities across the seas and far flung geographies. In modern times, brands and businesses have invented the customer experience program in a bid to woo their clientele, establish an emphatic brand proposition, and retain the business of customers. We intend to examine some of the techniques that help modern commercial organizations to build and operate a customer experience program.

Modern customers seek and cherish intangible gains when they invest their dollars in products and services. They seek real ‘experiences’ as an extension of the transactions they undertake with a brand or business. This quest represents an important cornerstone of a modern customer experience program. In line with this, businesses should make the program a strategic priority that dominates the heart of every business decision. This can translate into visible gains for the average customer. For instance, a business enterprise that operates a telephone-based customer care center may elect to boost response times to customer complaints, issues, and requirements. This action indicates that the business values its customers and is willing to respond to customer concerns. Essentially, this service upgrade reflects a critical aspect of the customer experience program that has been implemented by the business enterprise.

A customer-centric leadership structure can be designed with a view to drive new goals across the commercial organization. A specific target can be assigned to achieve the goal of greater productivity in back offices of said organization. We note that this aspect of a customer experience program directly impacts the customer’s experience and therefore should be assigned a high level of attention. Over time, legacy back office protocols and procedures can be refined to create a finely tuned back office that boosts the customer experience. We note that the success of this initiative may hinge on a certain amount of automation and technological upgrades in back office processes. The outcomes may include satisfied customers that are likely to offer recommendations.

Best practices that apply to a certain industry can be coupled with deep customer insights to drive an efficient customer experience program. This approach assumes importance in light of the fact that industry-wide best practices are often the outcomes of prolonged operational experience, while customer insights enable a business to promote the voice of the customer. We note that these inputs can be molded in the interest of boosting the end-customer experience. Additional inputs may include directions from top management cadre and information culled from tapping the average customer in the course of everyday business operations.

Committed and insightful business leaders should drive a robust customer experience program. We note that such commitment is critical in achieving the purpose of the programs mentioned. Leaders that operate on a consistent basis can bring to bear a set of clear and articulated set of values to business operations. For instance, a firm that manufactures and markets precision engineering products may choose to put in place a customer experience program that hinges on product excellence. The leaders of the firm may elect to meet every individual customer and share the corporate and business values inherent in the firm’s operations. This interaction can assure customers that they are receiving the best value for their dollars. We note that said interactions should rise above the level of a marketing pitch and attain the status of a summit meeting.

Compelling brand values can help a customer experience program to achieve stellar outcomes. Brands and businesses must evaluate and re-assess their brand values in the light of serving the customer to the best of their abilities. We note that such an exercise may necessitate a re-alignment of legacy brand values. For instance, a manufacturer of cosmetics and beauty products may elect to upgrade its market position through a comprehensive customer experience program. The business leadership and middle level managers may need to communicate the changes to all employees. The outcomes may be manifest in the form of higher motivation levels in staff persons and a fresh approach to dealing with customers positioned across the counter. As part of this initiative, the manufacturer must sensitize staff persons to the importance of retaining each customer as a long-term business asset. In line with this, the focus shifts from merely selling a cosmetic product to winning the customer’s attention for a lifetime.

Employee engagement is a critical parameter for organizations that seek to establish a robust customer experience program. Every business organization must appreciate the fact that customer-facing employees represent the core values of a brand or a business. Therefore, the modern commercial organization should invest in training programs and cross-functional skillset development for all employees. An engaged and motivated employee is likely to offer higher levels of customer service to all manner of clients and customers. They can drive significantly higher levels of a customer experience, thereby earning the trust and loyalty of the average customer. The systematic development of skillsets enables employees to gain a fine appreciation of the overall business organization. The outcomes of such actions may include the emergence of future business leaders. In its essence, such an initiative seeks to demolish silos that are inherent in modern corporate organizations.

Patience and commitment toward a customer experience program is important to ensure the business success of such initiatives. Modern markets operate in conjunction with fickle business landscapes; therefore, brands and businesses cannot expect overnight success with their customer experience initiatives. A steady commitment to established brand values can enable a business organization and its human components to achieve stellar outcomes in their customer experience program. That said, we note that legacy business organizations must first acknowledge the inherent value that resides in said programs; any business success in this regard will likely follow a full realization of the centrality of an outstanding customer experience.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have surveyed some of the steps that enable businesses to create and operate a customer experience program. Modern business enterprises must be careful in the correct implementation of such an initiative. To that end, they must convince both external and internal stakeholders of the efficacy of such programs. Clear communication must proceed to every level of the corporate hierarchy in order to win the ‘buy-in’ of every employee. In addition, the business leadership should brainstorm in a concerted bid to refine existing customer experience paradigms. We note that refinements can energize outcomes and yield new information that can be used to inform the creation of new program initiatives. The returns on investment for an expertly implemented customer experience program can be truly outstanding and this should convince the business organization to invest every effort to ensure the program’s success.

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