Why CX is Really a Team Sport
Creating an exceptional customer experience is the mandate for today’s brands. Time and time again, consumers have made it clear that they expect personalized, fast and frictionless service at every step of the customer journey. Recent Kustomer research found that 85 percent of U.S. consumers expect contacting customer service to be faster, and 67 percent said they've stopped doing business with a company due to slow customer service. To meet customer expectations, businesses must keep customer effort low and the surprise and delight factor high. However, there can be confusion about whose responsibility customer experience really is. Although support teams are commonly thought of as “customer experience” teams, the truth is that CX is a team sport — touching every part of the organization.
The responsibility of ensuring a stellar customer experience starts with a customer-first mindset. Brands can’t be afraid to allow customers’ wants and desires to drive key business decisions. While an idea, strategy or technology may sound brilliant in theory, without factoring in customer feedback, brands won’t be able to meet the full spectrum of customers’ needs.
It’s also important to understand that all different departments within your business can partner with support teams to help create the exceptional experiences modern customers are seeking. Just because the title of a department doesn't include the words “customer experience” doesn’t mean it can’t contribute to the happiness of your customer base and be part of “Team CX.” Here are some ideas for implementing customer-centricity across your organization.
Sales and Marketing
The relevancy of sales and marketing efforts is of the utmost importance to keep customers satisfied. Ensure that your sales and marketing organizations are kept abreast of customer feedback, needs and preferences so that they know the right time and place to cross-sell and upsell to the existing customer base. These departments can often get a bad rap for being pushy or spamming customers with irrelevant offers. But more and more, businesses are able to leverage customer data to understand what customers want, and when they want it, providing a personalized experience that isn’t unpleasant but rather a value-add. It's also imperative to maintain a two-way conversation. If a business sends through a promotional text, make sure responses are directed to a support team vs. disappearing into the ether.
Customer service teams have boots on the ground when it comes to customer needs. They know where products are falling short and what requests customers have. The product team can work directly with customer service teams to understand where there are gaps, and how to fill and prioritize them. Product teams can also partner with support teams to educate customers on what's to come, and even offer exclusive sneak peaks to loyal or VIP customers. Support organizations should have the data and technology to identify customers that may be interested and willing to participate in these exclusive offers, and product teams will benefit by understanding first-hand what loyal customers do and don't like.
The e-commerce experience, customer experience, and volume of support inquiries are all directly tied. If a customer has difficulty finding a product, or runs into issues with the checkout process, the next step is to reach out to support — likely with a lot of angst. Worst-case scenario, they give up and don’t complete their purchase. Customer service and e-commerce teams can partner together to develop an easy and intuitive customer journey. Part of this is ensuring that customers have the ability to quickly reach out to support agents when something goes wrong, or find an answer to their question on their own. FAQ pages should be robust and easy to find, and escalation channels should be available instantaneously. The easier the experience, the happier the customer will be.
Customer Service Teams Can Drive Business Innovation
Beyond building one-on-one relationships and reflecting brand values, customer service agents can also act as a cheerleading squad, ensuring customers are aware that they understand their needs and are constantly innovating to meet them. A positive brand reputation will not only keep customers satisfied, it will also encourage them to tell others about their positive experience.
As the face of the company, especially in a digital-first environment, customer service teams should feel responsible to advocate for customer needs. With the right tools, they can have a data-driven and in-depth understanding of customers’ likes and dislikes. Then, they can organize, analyze and share this information with other departments across the organization to ensure the whole CX team is considering the voice of the customer.
The customer experience can make or break a business, and it's every department’s job to ensure they're contributing. Working together and sharing knowledge will ensure that your customers’ needs are prioritized, and your business continues to grow for many years to come.
Gabe Larsen is vice president of growth at Kustomer, a customer service CRM platform.
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Gabe Larsen is the VP of Growth at Kustomer, a customer service CRM platform for managing high support volume effortlessly.