Enhancing Customer Experience Management Strategy

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around,” – Steve Jobs

Most corporate enterprises and modern day businesses operate in heavily regulated, competitive, and crowded markets across multiple geographies in the present day. In addition to expanding the customer base, the foremost aims of the business enterprise include acquiring, servicing, and retaining customers. To achieve these ends, companies must make intelligent and sustained efforts to create deeper and more meaningful relationships with customers through the use of customer experience management strategies. These strategies prove their worth by helping companies gain deeper insights into customer preferences and behaviour. They also help to upgrade the customer service experience, reduce business costs, can help to enhance customer retention and loyalty, and promote long-term customer value.

A typical customer experience management strategy can be powered by both offline and online tools and services. Consider this: a white goods retail chain that operates in multiple locations and regions can consider deploying such strategies in the interests of enhancing its business and tackling market competition. The retail chain can take a decision to offer the latest white goods to customers at reduced prices, offer various schemes to buyback products from customers, can offer free home delivery options, track customer satisfaction through periodic service schemes, and generally work to enhance the customer experience at its store and flagship locations. These strategies can combine to offer a stellar end-user experience, thereby helping the enterprise to expand its customer base and win acclaim.

In terms of pursuing its business objectives in cyberspace, the said retail chain can engineer an active presence on social media platforms, the company website and its micro-sites. This approach enables the retail chain to maintain a 360-degree presence in the customer’s minds and thus enhance the business’s mind share. Customer interactions at the store and other brick-and-mortar locations can be personalized for each individual customer; this approach may yield a rich harvest in terms of accessing customer feedback and customer opinions. This information can be recorded, stored, and periodically updated in the backend of the retail chain’s information technology systems. The enterprise may choose to synchronise this data with information harvested from its online business operations. We could say that such synthesis would provide the business a significant advantage in crafting and managing a high-end customer experience.

Customer experience management strategies should be constantly tweaked, re-engineered, evaluated, and monitored in the interests of business stability and promoting innovation. The digital domain offers comprehensive scope to attain these objectives. We have to bear in mind that most customers and businesses have a valid presence in cyberspace, and this fact should be leveraged by all businesses. The online operations of a business enterprise offer highly granular data and information that can be reviewed at multiple levels in the business organization. Therefore, the mobile, web, and social media platforms can be utilized to offer genuine customer engagement experiences. We have to bear in mind that targeted actions are the ultimate objective in all customer engagement strategies; a starting point to that end can emerge in the identification of key factors that drive and consolidate customer loyalty. Similarly, customer complaints and suggestions should be treated with urgency in order to improve the end-user experience.

The primary business objective of customer retention could be considered a pivot in customer experience management strategies. The costs of customer acquisition are considerable in modern businesses and therefore, an enterprise must make every effort to retain customers in an attempt to justify the acquisition costs. This line of thought can be extended to actively pursuing market intelligence programmes in an effort to survey and examine the various inducements that are being offered to customers by commercial rivals. The said business needs to counter these offers in an effort to retain customers and reduce the scope for other metrics (such as customer attrition and customer complaints). We may say that the outcomes of such effort may include the achievement of the primary objective, customer retention. The secondary outcomes may include boosting customer loyalty because the customer may form a perception that the business takes care of all of his or her specific requirements. This can be counted as a significant win for the said business enterprise. In addition, we could say that the business has succeeded in creating a competent customer experience management strategy that has the potential to cast a long term impact on the business bottom line.

Every customer is a human being and so a business should work to execute flawless customer experiences. Therefore, customer insights can be viewed as a major avenue of boosting customer experience management strategies. A customer may have valuable information to offer to a business enterprise; the management cadre and the rank and file of the enterprise must acknowledge this and act upon it at all times. We may concede the fact that the viewpoint of the customer may not be in alignment with the business point of view, but that does not diminish the customer in any manner. The diversity of opinions should actuate businesses to seek customer feedback at every opportunity. The information culled from such interactions can be deemed priceless because it affords insights into customer mindsets. An intelligent business leader should leverage this information to create better customer experiences and to enhance business outcomes. We could say that customer insights can help a business to identify and define a problem before it becomes a business concern. Therefore, the point of view of the customer should gain precedence when a business is building a customer experience management strategy.

Stress is a negative outcome of living in the modern world. The impact of stress can corrode valuable relationships and can degrade business outcomes. Therefore, the modern business enterprise should work toward creating a stress-free interaction with the customer at all levels. The business should make it a priority to strike a balance between closing a sale to its customers and creating enough room for the customer to pursue his or her interests. For instance, a product showroom or a retail outlet should allow the customer his or her space to peruse the products on display; sales personnel should be required to create and maintain a distance so not to hurry the customer in order to close a sale. This approach will be marked as a positive attribute among customers and therefore, has the potential to widen the customer base. In addition, this approach may enhance brand appeal and may trigger a positive customer review. Further, we may note that discerning customer may value the absence of selling pressure as an evolved method of conducting business. We could say that these gestures add up to a big effect in terms of creating a unique customer experience.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have discussed the many means and methods of enhancing a customer experience management strategy. Every business must make it a point to refine and adapt such strategies at periodic intervals; this should be an active, ongoing project because customers should not be taken for granted. In addition, every business should reduce the scope for inadvertent errors by presenting a unified face to that most important business stakeholder – the customer.

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