Your customers have options. More options, in fact, than ever before. In a world of ratings, pay-by-phone and self-service, how do you differentiate and deliver an exceptional customer experience (CX) to new and long-time customers? CX is a complex, critical piece of every business, but there are four simple ways to ramp up your efforts and bring up your CX score:
1. Measure the right things. You need to know your target audience. You may catch more fish with a wider net, but you’re not looking for more; you’re looking for value. Don’t make changes for absolutely everyone or you’ll wind up with a messy, inconsistent experience for all of your customers. Determine the quality of the CX you’re providing your most valuable customers by tracking the variables around every touchpoint along the customer journey.
2. Make the connection between a great CX and great worker experience. At Appirio, we call the correlation between satisfied, engaged workers and a great CX the virtuous cycle. Your workers — be they full-time employees, part-time employees, contract workers or some combination of the three — are the heart and soul of your business. If you don’t enable them with the tools, technology and optimized processes to deliver a great CX, you’ll see disengaged workers and your CX score will undoubtedly take a hit.
3. Practice empathy. If you’ve ever scrolled through a sea of Yelp reviews, you’ve noticed a pattern: People are more likely to remember (and share) negative experiences than positive ones. That’s because emotions rule in CX. Make and maintain emotional connections with your customers through your branding, messaging and individual service interactions if you want to retain and engage your audience.
The right technology can help your workers provide that connected, emotive experience. Customer success platforms like Salesforce make data accessible across your organization so that when a customer calls one of your reps, the rep helping them knows who they are and what they want without the customer having to repeatedly prove their identity and explain their issue.
4. Help your customers help themselves. People don’t want to talk to customer service reps anymore. (Did they ever?) But in 2016, the phone is still the first line of defense customers turn to when they have a negative experience. Make it easier for customers to get help on their terms, on any device and you’ll win their loyalty. (They should even be able to switch between devices — e.g., an iPhone to a laptop — and have one continuous experience without interruption. That’s the dream, and it’s attainable.)
Consumers are tough, and your business needs to be just as tough on creating a customer-centric approach when working to boost your CX score. While the customer is still king in today’s market, your workers need to be elevated to the point where they feel valued and have the tools and support necessary to get the job done; and not just done, but done well. An engaged workforce creates happier customers, and happy customers stick with a business they like — one that knows them and treats them well.
Ashley Brucker Stepien is the director of product marketing and customer experience at Appirio, a global services company that helps create next-generation worker and customer experience using the latest cloud technologies.