An awesome customer experience starts with clearly showing your understanding of the wants or needs of a customer, with a clear offering or message, relayed in their language, engaging with their current emotional state, with a clear connection to them as a target customer, demonstrating clear value at every stage.
I spend a lot of time talking to our front facing colleagues about being authentic with their customers – even in difficult situations if they can put themselves in the customer mind-set, speak the truth and in plain language without hiding behind technical speak or buzzwords, any interaction has the potential to deliver an excellent experience.
The key ingredient is being authentic in your communication. A big part of my challenge is ensuring that as an organisation we develop a strategy that builds a belief in our employees in what we’re doing enough for them to get emotionally involved and act authentically with their customers.
What makes an awesome customer experience in both B2B and B2C is always a customer-centric approach.
As an agency, our customers are retailers and we continuously focus on how we work with our clients and how we can establish even better relationships. How can we deliver more to them? How can we help them provide value for their customers? By understanding our clients and their businesses, we can help them create exceptional experiences online.
I would sum up that the following factors constitute an awesome customer experience. It needs to be…
1. Seamless – There is no point of friction at any stage in the user journey.
2. The right fit – The customer journey is personalised and tailored to the specific stage in the buying funnel and sends the right product and service through the right channels based on the behavioral queues.
3. Optimised for all channels– Knowing where the customer is and leveraging social and email channels to drive sales, providing an optimised mobile experience and having a fast-performing website in place are all key factors that customers value.
A customer experience is measured on what the person sees, hears and feels, across all brand touch points. A positive experience is one which satisfies the customer’s needs and happens for them and not ‘to’ them. An awesome customer experience can only be built by a company that designs around its customers, knowing exactly what they think, feel and do. An awesome customer experience is one that is consistent across multiple brand touch points ( from customer service, to online and in store). An awesome customer experience is delivered through building genuine empathy for the customer, from all sides of the business.
For me, I’ve always summed it up as ‘doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways’. I think that’s what it’s all about. We can get obsessed with overthinking things, trying too hard and throwing money at Customer Experience. But, I believe it’s honestly about getting the basics right – and having great people around you who share that passion. Really focus on getting the basics right – and consistency is key, especially if you are an omni-channel business.
To make it clear, so many companies these days just care about the reviews or what we can show our customer experience “score” is. It’s so much more than that! You should be providing exceptional service EVERY, SINGLE, TIME. It doesn’t matter who it is or if they are going to shout about it or not.
1. the whole team being on the same page- providing an exceptional experience for the customer through out their entire encounter with our company. Whether that be if they speak with purchasing, operations, sales, warehouse anything it is not just down to customer experience team to provide exceptional experience. it is the whole team.
2. responding to the customer immediately, don’t leave them hanging. I ALWAYS acknowledge the customer as soon as I can, whether I know the answer to their query or not. I can find out! It’s just rude to not acknowledge someone.
3. Allowing the customer to feedback at every opportunity. Be good or bad.
4. Customers are put first, we don’t fit the customer around what we want to give them. We fit around whatever the customer needs.
There’s no such thing as “treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen”, only the best customer experiences get rewarded with brand loyalty.
The definition of an awesome customer experience varies from business to business, and it’s not just about understanding your own brand. To offer a truly awesome customer experience you’ve got to see what the competition are serving up, identify the industry benchmark and take action to get ahead.
In the retail world, growth happens so quickly that retailers end up out of touch with their own customer experience. This is why crucial customer touch-points such as returns often fall by the wayside.
To spot missed opportunities in the journey, get hands on and try out the experience yourself, both for your own brand and the competition. Which parts sucked? What features made you feel valued? Take off the business hat for a few moments and call on the consumer in you to spot opportunities to improve, eventually resulting in a customer experience that leaves them wanting more.
Elaine HainesHarrison Clark Rickerbys - Business Development & Marketing Director www.hcrlaw.com
Being heard is powerful so ask authentic questions, listen hard to the answers, do what you say and then ask how you did. Follow your clients’ needs by doing these things and above all – don’t be shit.
Big topic – understand what the customer wants ( sometimes they know and sometimes you have to tease it out or educate them ). Then you have to understand what they will pay for it. If it is a ‘me too’ product then market forces will drive this. If there is added value, it should be possible to charge extra and the trick is to understand how much. Also what is the ‘behind the scenes driver’ – is price or delivery or is guaranteed quality the most important. I remember a comment I heard once ‘that threads were an optional extra for screws made in China’.
It is also a truism that ‘people buy off people’ and what is meant here is that the customer has an easy purchasing experience and feels good about the relationship. This means trust, empathy, flexibility and ‘going the extra mile’. The Disc model is interesting in that it helps to identify whether a customer responds to a hard facts sell or emotional security.
Ultimately an awesome experience is when the customer feels good about the transaction – the trick for the sales person is to tune into what they need to do to achieve this.
A great customer experience is one that solves a problem completely with the least mental and physical input required from the customer. It is honed and refined by listening not just to what customers want, but why they want it, delivering improvements consistently to evolve the product by addressing root causes uncovered by quality, well-analyzed feedback, rather than short term fixes to surface symptoms.
If you value your business and keep your promises at the moments of truth then, guess what, your customers will also value your business.
Awesome customer experience is not about throwing money at a challenge, its about putting the customer at the heart of what you do, and then building the experience around them. If you cant deliver your product at a competitive price AND keep your promises – then you definitely are not delivering an awesome customer experience.
To nurture long standing customer relationships you need to take time to understand the individual and their business needs.
Imagine you are in their business and look to anticipate their needs, similarly share interesting news, contacts and articles that can help their business. It will demonstrate you care.
Finally ensure you deliver what is promised and expected on time every time & maintain confidences.
If you do that the client should become a friend and you a trusted ally, doing business with them becomes secondary but beware of complacency & greed as that will undo all the good work.
There isn’t a one style fits all approach as to what makes an awesome customer experience and from time to time it is good to reflect and review our approaches.
A few stand out things for me, that provide a solid foundation for an awesome customer experience is putting customers’ needs first and creating a company culture where employees feel valued and can enjoy the work they do. Awesome employee experience translates to an awesome customer experience.
Also, engage courageously. Customers’ like to know what is going on, even if things don’t go as planned. You should always keep them informed (even if it’s something they don’t want to hear). This shows a level of honesty and trust, which will help to strengthen your customer relationships.
To enable an awesome customer experience, we have to really listen to our customers and then act on their feedback. The product can be great, but if the customer feels disconnected it can affect our overall relationship. Customers feel valued when they know they are being heard.
As Customer Success professionals, we are the voice of our customers, and our internal teams’ direct link to them, which means we have a unique opportunity to influence process and product outcomes to deliver what our customers really want. This means that we need to find the best way for our product and delivery teams to see what the customer is experiencing, and how they feel about it, so that our companies can stay on top of making the right choices and changes.
When a customer can feel that they are valued, and can see that they have influence in our products and innovation it strengthens our relationships, and enables long and healthy connections.
Great customer experience is about being able to understand the detail and challenges your customers face and couple that with the personal/human element of any interaction. It’s all too common that in SaaS companies in particular customers find themselves receiving a faceless and very formal customer experience. SaaS products that are provided often form a fundamental benefit to customers workflow, it is therefore vital they have interaction with a human to understand the full benefits of the product and how they can really make the most of it within their environment. The customer service team should always aim push the boundaries of what their product or service offers and listen to customer feedback to enhance tools even further. Many companies claim their customers are ‘partners’, all interaction should demonstrate this – take notice of what they are saying, what is painful for them, what works for them, what their boss wants, etc. Don’t promise you can solve it all but demonstrate you are doing all you can to help. Never drown them in detail but give them the most important facts whilst showing genuine interest.
Don’t let great stand in the way of good….
I have heard this statement many times through the years and I have never really liked it as great, excellent are what you should strive for. However the more companies I interact with it becomes apparent that many actually hold themselves back as they are looking for perfection. They are not willing to launch a new initiative, move into a new sector or whatever their next step maybe without it being 100% perfect, the trouble is that rarely comes. Because it rarely comes people and companies do not take that next step and therefore do not benefit.
I always liked the ethos of Sir David Brailsford when he worked with the Sky cycling team – Marginal Gains. Keep adding the 1% gains and soon you will have the edge over your competition, and they did. A great example of this was the fact that during the Tour de France each rider had their mattress brought to each hotel every night to ensure the chances of getting a good nights rest, simple but very effective.
So, i guess to summarise my point, it is better to keep adding benefits as and when you can, instead of waiting for the perfect scenario as that rarely comes, be the best you can at the time you are in, don’t push something back because it is not perfect.
It’s cliched but until you walk the hard miles yourself in your customers shoes we can’t have an understanding of awesome service. Engaging with your customers and understanding their wants and needs are pivotal to providing an awesome experience. Simply listen and act accordingly. Marrying this with bespoke and reliable processes, the latest technologies and contact platforms and treating people as individuals is centric to CX delivery. Remember to always share the same love for your internal customers as you would for your buying customers. Your customer reps are the ears and eyes on the ground and with the right training, support and development they become your customer champions and brand ambassadors to drive this forward. And be passionate about it. If you genuinely care your customers will come back to you time and time again.
Great Customer Experience starts by listening to and understanding your customers’ needs.
Once you know what you need to deliver ensure all interactions are considered. Are they easy for the customer? Are they fun for the customer?
Combine this with a team that genuinely wants to help and leave the customer feeling good about the interaction, your product, and your Company.
Allow your team the space and time to develop their own skills and be sure to listen to their feedback. If they do not enjoy the activity or do not have the required skill set, your customers interaction will not be a positive one.
I’ve always viewed CX through the simplest of lenses: How can you make your customers FEEL good in every interaction with them.
Think about the last time you had a great experience with a company. Chances are it is rooted in feeling understood, appreciated, listened to, and like the company had gone above and beyond for you.
So how can you build this same feeling for others?
Well first, you have to understand the customer journey from their perspective. What information do they need, how are they feeling heading into each stage of the journey, what is likely to excite them, and what likely fears/problems may they have. When you understand all of these things you can begin to intentionally craft an incredible experience all the way through that journey.
Look for ways to build on excitement they may have and proactively tackle their fears and problems. Find ways to provide the right information, to the right people, at the right time (which is always just before they might need it!). Try and understand their expectations at every stage and think of ways to move that bar higher, every time.
Lastly, seek to creates unexpected moments of delight. Something unexpected and personal that they simply weren’t expecting. This can be anything from a handwritten note if you know they’re sick, to sending a small gift or note on their birthday. These small touches make people feel valued and drive advocacy among your customers.
It’s about a personal touch and showing your customer how much you care and how hard you are going to work to make things right.
There’s nothing like a call that shows how seriously you are taking a problem … move heaven and earth to resolve an issue – do it quickly with no fuss and if you don’t have an update… update them that you don’t have an update!
Communication, friendliness, professional and gentle humour make a great customer experience in my view.
Friction – or rather the lack of it. Ultimately, the customer doesn’t care which department they are engaging with – they care about achieving a goal or fixing a problem. Businesses usually assign different teams to help with different customer needs (no one can be a true generalist in all areas), but ultimately the knowledge transfers and switches in ownership should not be felt by the customer. And of course a robust listening program to identify moments where their experience wasn’t entirely frictionless is also need. Companies that remove friction and listen are providing a good customer experience to their customers. But to deliver a truly awesome customer experience, you also need to infuse unexpected moments of surprise and delight that make the customer feel seen and valued – a celebration when they log into you product for the first time, a small gift when they complete a customer survey, etc.
Understanding the Customer’s Success criteria, superseding their expectations, be passionate about what you are delivering, listen to the Customer’s needs, expectation’s, and requirements. Being honest, give solutions to their problems.
Empowering the customer is key, give them the knowledge they need to succeed with your product, look at the long-term goals and try to create a partnership that can be successful for both companies.
Being confident in front of the Customer, shows you know what you are talking about, and that you believe in the product you are delivering.
Look at what you are delivering through the customers eyes! Be perceptive if you feel something is wrong, something usually is, do not ignore it, fix it!
Simple – all you have do is genuinely care. Care about your people and they’ll care about your customers. A business is only as great as the people who work within it. So recognise their greatness, make them feel great and you’ll deliver a great customer experience.
Look at your own house first… A great Customer Experience is delivered by people who feel valued, included, understand the journey the organisation they work with (not for) is on, and know the end goal! Everything begins with the belief! Drive a Customer-Centric Culture and the rest will begin to fall into place.
Customer Loyalty is a huge contributor to reduce churn and to increase customer development. Offer a reason “why” you, “why” your business, “why” your product… I am sure there are multiple suppliers of most products, so if you cannot beat the price, cannot beat the USP – then provide a great Customer Experience, encourage Customer Loyalty with recognition and reward schemes. Everyone loves a freebie and to feel valued – ESPECIALLY YOUR CUSTOMER!
Nothing comes easy and with the ever-evolving and changing customer habits, needs and our desire for everything to be resolved with minimal effort from us the consumer – ensure you offer the channels for the customer to do exactly that. Make it easy. Keep it simple. Do not overcomplicate the process and be honest with the customer, they appreciate being in the light, rather than the dark! Strive for excellence and to get it right, first time… but also be real, sometimes not everything goes how it should and that’s okay… Learn, develop, change, improve, and always keep the customer in mind for every decision made. After all, you wouldn’t be here without them!
Looking back over the many projects I’ve been involved with over the years, I’d say the biggest contributor to making an awesome customer experience is trust. Trust that a client is getting good value for what they signed up for. Trust that you as their solutions partner are dependable. Trust that the solution platform is stable and trust that their targets will be met by following the path laid out for them at the beginning of the journey. Trust opens the door to so many possibilities.
In my mind, the combination of the achievement of your customer’s desired outcome with a frictionless interaction with your company goes some way to providing that awesome experience. But the true test of “awesomeness” comes from a deeply ingrained culture of customer centricity within your entire business. Delivering continuous wow moments in every moment whether that is support, sales, talent acquisition or even finance. Every time.
It’s very simple – listen to your customers. Don’t assume you know what they want. Understanding customer needs and expectations is at the very core of providing an excellent customer experience. Take the time to meet face to face, listen to their concerns and understand what impacts their business, particularly in these difficult times. Work with them to provide outcomes that work for them, rather than expecting them to accept a ‘one size fits all’ solution. And then train and communicate with your staff so that everyone works to the same customer goals.
Experiences are memorable in all walks of life in both good and bad ways and this is no different when it comes to your experience as a customer. The experience should be frictionless, easy, pleasant and of value. To deliver that type of experience you need to know and understand your customers needs and deliver to them. You need to offer customers choice and not just a long list of choices but the right choices. Cater for people who are happy to use chat and understand when the bot cant help and introduce a human. Automation is helpful to us servicing customers but is not always helpful for customers so do not get caught in an automated version of hell. I use a saying internally which has always resonated with me which is ‘Systemise the repeatable and humanise the exceptional/important’ – this means you can automate the tasks, queries that can really be managed in an automated manner vs using the human touch to truly add value and make a customer feel special and cared for.
To create a great customer experience, it all starts with first impressions. Make sure that there is a smooth onboarding phase so that the client immediately feels comfortable and in safe hands.
In order to constantly deliver, it’s also important to under-promise and over-deliver – go that one step further over-delivering on expectations. It’s always better to do it this way, otherwise, you’ll be living in continual disappointment.
I cannot emphasise the importance of caring for and building a relationship with your clients. Get to know them as a person and find out about their lives. Work, family, passion – it’s all key to getting the best out of everyone and forming trust.
I think a great experience is one that supports a customer achieving their goal quickly, easily, with no fuss, and wherever possible peppers their journey with moments of delight. It sounds easy to deliver, but it really isn’t.
Sophie EllisRoyal Borough Of Kensington And Chelsea - Customer Director www.rbkc.gov.uk
It’s not always about getting what you want, it’s about how you feel when you put down the phone or leave the building. Ultimately that means that it’s about humanity, feeling that you’ve been listened to, understood and respected. For me this means that we have to recognise that we need our contact advisers to bring their whole selves to work, to deploy emotional labour whilst at work. They can’t switch off their emotions when they clock in. We are trying to do this in several ways: make sure advisers have the tools to do their job well so they feel respected and motivated, provide training in systemic practice and the management of emotions in professional environments, and make sure performance indicators reflect the importance of experience not speed. Ultimately our line is, the contact has value in and of itself, not just the resulting action.
An awesome Customer Experience becomes possible when every single person in the company appreciates that their role contributes to the customer journey in some way. The best way to encourage this mindset is to involve them whenever you can – find ways for other departments to interact directly with customers, read reviews, help answer questions from your Support team, and report regularly on how projects from all over the business are having a direct impact on your customers. This really helps to keep the whole company engaged with CX, on the understanding that they have a responsibility to support customers, whatever their role – Customer Service and Customer Experience are not the same!
In this day and age customers are expecting instant gratification, to be able to self serve the vast majority of the time and have easy but timely interaction should the need for assistance arise. Factor in that brand loyalty has never been lower, the need to ensure that customers experience is at the forethought of everything your company does has never been greater. Individual targeted promotions to increase experience and spend is just one example of what customers are expecting. For me the things that make for an Awesome Customer Experience are:
1.) Put the customer at the heart of everything you do (Obvious but so many companies miss this and take $ over potential income).
2.) Ensure for instant gratification for example discount on current basket, recommendations based on profile etc.
3.) Ensure staff feel empowered to feedback on whats not working, but also change a potential bad customer experience into a great one.
There are so many great examples of brilliant customer experience and they vary wildly, even within industries. Understanding the essence of your organisation, strengths and weaknesses, and designing delivery that recognises this can engage every department in delivering a genuine experience that can be replicated at every touch point.
Wherever you can, use your strengths to solve the challenges you face, celebrate who you are and build experiences that people can believe in… because they’re real.
In my experience, this is dependent on how quickly and effortlessly a customer’s problem is solved.
This isn’t just about the interaction with you but also with those around you, the tools used and the method used to solicit feedback.
There is much to consider that can continuously improve the experience, but the first step is to understand the needs of those that interact with your brand.
It is not enough to simply listen, listen with intent and deliver with clarity.
From the first contact you need to make sure your customer feels like they are in safe, trustworthy and capable hands. Every transaction needs to be as straightforward for them as possible but you need to ensure that they get the very most out of every step. Listen and understand what it is your customer needs and make it clear how you can help them. It’s important to remain consistent throughout, build trusting and positive relationships and pre-empt any concerns or questions they may have and come up with your own solutions so you are doing the hard work for them.
The experience has to be tailored and feel personal, it has to give me what I want before I even think to ask for it – and if it gives me things I hadn’t even thought to ask for, then I’m probably a customer for life. Authenticity is key – don’t tell me you care about me and then send me down a generic, automated pathway (“your call is important to us…”).
The first step is to genuinely care about your customer and what they want – you can’t fake this.
Next you have to know and understand your customer – rich customer data and insight is key to this step.
Finally, deliver – and be sure to apologise quickly when you make mistakes!
Awesome Customer Experience is led by your customers as much as from your business. It comes from spending time listening to, and engaging with your customers and their struggles and joys.
Spend time investing in the teams that speak to your customers, make sure they know that feedback is a really core part of their role- to let the company know what the customers are saying, and use their insights and experience widely across all areas of the company.
Go one step further than the need, don’t just meet their expectations, but exceed them and do it delightfully, your customers will notice and value this.
Peter SansomEValue - Head of Customer Experience www.ev.uk
It starts with fully understanding your customers, you need to really know your customers’ needs.
Design products, add features and create interactions that they truly value, based upon engaged and trusted relationships.
Don’t assume you know what customers want, and make sure you understand what constitutes success for them.
Internally, you must have a Client Centric culture embedded within your organisation. All facets of the organisation, from top to bottom, need to buy in to the mantra of providing the highest level of customer experience, and understand how their role affects this. It needs to be ingrained, so that each interaction with your customer, from every department, is focused on ensuring they have an ‘awesome customer experience’.
Understanding how your customers business operates, what makes them successful and key revenue streams, so when working with key stakeholders you have the context of what the customers long term goals and outcomes are, not just the immediate ask. Allowing for more tailored and customer centric guidance, with clear results in mind. It makes for a joint partnership and higher levels of success on both sides.
An awesome customer experience is made up of a combination of things… great product, great education and great support.
So Product – if the product isn’t intuitive and easy to use however good your sales approach or market fit is you will loose customers. So it always starts with a great product.
To back that up you need good education – not just about the how but the why. In my role I ignore the how (how to use the product) and focus on the why. In fact the ‘how’ is picked up by our customer success team as that provided a far more intimate one on one approach.
For me the ‘why ‘ is key – how will the customer get an ROI on this, where’s the opportunity for them and what do they need to have those conversations and that’s the education. That said it still needs to be backed up by world class first line support, knowledge base and resources.
If those three key areas align then you have the makings of a great customer experience.
Customer loyalty is arguably the most important business strategy of the modern world. That Loyalty is driven by great experiences with your organisation.
The key to great a experience is to have the customers best interests at heart and to walk a mile in their shoes. Understand your business from the outside in.
Customers know what they want and are well aware when they don’t get it. Document each and every touchpoint from pre-sales to exit. Know your archetypes and create personalised journeys to meet their needs.
With today’s disruptive markets just meeting expectation is unlikely to be enough to keep your customers loyal. Simplify complex tasks and ensure your processes provide maximum return for little customer effort.
“I believe that an awesome customer experience is crucial to the success of a business because it will lead to building a loyal customer fan base who can increase retention and revenue boost. In my opinion, an awesome customer experience is a flexible one! It is something the can be tailor-made based on two main factors. Based on offering products/services and the targeted audiences.”
You need to examine every moment your customer interacts with your company. From the storefront to the website, you need to understand what they say about their experience with you. This goes beyond superficial online reviews and digs deep into their overall experience.
An awesome customer experience is one that keeps customers coming back, while spreading the word about their experience. One of the ways to make sure your customers are completely satisfied is to give your employees the resources and authority to deliver on the promise of excellent service. Customers want to deal with one person, not three at a time. This is even more important when a customer has a problem. Empowering your employees to do what’s best for the customer will avoid negative experiences.
Employees need to be trained on giving a great customer experience, because it doesn’t come naturally. They need to be trained on how to provide quick solutions for customers who are having problems with products or services. They also need to follow a path that helps them be successful with each and every customer. Lastly and most important make sure you listen will and humanise any interaction you have with your customers, after all they are just people like you.
To me, an awesome customer experience isn’t just what the customer sees, it’s what goes in behind the scenes as well so that whenall the information is together it comes across as though it is from one organism, your company, instead of lots of different sources and people. Awesome customer experience is when your customers know they can not only trust you but rely on you to help becuase they know you’re their go to.
1. Know that all the customers you deal with are unique and have their own emotional and rational needs – understanding this is the key to delivering an awesome experience! make the customer feel that their time is valuable to you and that you understand what a good outcome is for them. Think about how that customer experiences ‘the problem’ that your products and services address and tailor your responses and engagement to that.
2. Be trustworthy. A customer needs to know that they are in safe hands and that you can be relied on. There’s no value in a relationship based on mistrust or a lack of confidence. Be transparent, be proactive and listen.
3. Make it easy for customers to contact you, interactions should be smooth and your organisational boundaries need to be invisible to them.
4. Finally – crave feedback! Be open to it, respond to it, learn from it!
Making your customers journey seamless is what makes an awesome customer experience. Really understanding your customer, their needs, their desires and what makes them tick. Delivering what you say you will and ensuring that your customer is aware of progress at every step of the way is key.
We have the technology and the tools now to really make a customer’s experience what they want it to be. Put yourself in their shoes and deliver beyond their expectations.
In the digital age the customer expects nothing short of ‘awesome’ in every interaction. Businesses have to differentiate and tailor the experience to make it personal and memorable. You can do this by anticipating and responding to the needs of your customer before they’ve a chance to express them.
Being a company who are easy to deal with, providing good forms of consistent communication and showing value to a customer that’s real!
I always say “If a client is spending money with you, you should always be in contact with them and treat them how you would like to be treated”
An awesome customer experience starts with clarity, is grown with proactivity and empathy and concludes in success. It’s so important that any expectations for success and the route to get there is clear from the offset for both yourself and the customer to avoid unwanted surprises and to ensure alignment throughout the customer journey. Building on this solid foundation by showing that you understand your customer’s needs, that you are proactive in making recommendations and that you can challenge your customer to get the best results, you are sure to create a memorable customer experience that will leave them wanting to return!
The ingredients for an awesome customer experience are a big dollop of empathy, a large spoonful of collaboration, 4 scoop of shared values, 2 buckets of understanding, a gallon of positivity and finally a can do attitude that delivers exactly what they ordered.
Make the customer journey predictable. When your customer knows what to expect in terms of service delivery or issue resolution, they develop that trust and confidence in you as a brand. Pre-empting customer needs is also something to really delight them. This comes from taking the time to really understand your customer and then delivering a service proactively which you are confident will help them.
Customers expect their preferred brands to know and understand them. To achieve this, the brand needs to connect all the data sources from the customer and create a ‘central nervous system’ to pull insights and actions in real-time, that are contextual and relevant to that customer. Any business wanting to offer an excellent CX needs to consider how to work with their Enterprise data, in real-time, at scale – responding to customer ‘events’ as they happen.
An ‘event streaming’ platform offers a new way of responding to customers, whilst ‘contextualizing’ customer events with historical customer information. This type of platform is key to underpinning all possible interaction points – whether Point-of-Sale, or Website personalization, or Support Channel, or other channel interactions. This is a required component of offering exceptional CX.
Great customer experience comes from truly understanding your customers, there is a wealth of data captured daily about customers and you need to take that data and use it well to provide insight, customers rightly expect that you don’t just deliver what is promised rather that you exceed their expectations.
Great customer experience has to be an organisational wide mission, everyone in the organisation whether they are customer-facing or not needs to be driven to provide exceptional customer experience.
Whenever a customer uses your services, or purchases your products, they put their faith in you. They trust that you will deliver on that faith. That you will do what you say, or that they can rely on it working as it should, to time and cost. It’s not about fancy bells and whistles, it is that their faith in you is repaid.
Match their pain points
Customers – particularly in a B2B environment – buy things because they help alleviate their pain. If you can show that you truly understand a customer’s pain and your products can genuinely help them get rid of it, you’re on to a winner. You can’t fake this though: talk to as many customers as possible and find out what their actual pains are – they might be different to what you assumed!
Customers want as little friction as possible. It doesn’t matter whether you work in B2B or B2C, anything that is unnecessarily slow or laborious puts your potential and current customers off. Think carefully about minimising forms/repetitive tasks and “asks” of your customers, and work out how your tech stack can streamline the process.
We’re striving in everything we do to try and maintain and foster a more human to human approach in our software, and that takes effort. Understanding each users own particular needs may be ever moving goalposts, but it shouldn’t deter you from building a picture of your user landscape that enables you to connect with individuals should you need to. We’ve recently invested a lot in product insights and analytics tooling to this end, so that our customer experience decisions can ultimately be data driven rather than just based off of gut feel.
As we move towards being more Product led as an organisation, we need to ensure that our products provide everything the user/customer requires from within that product. As such – we are beginning to see the end of a myriad of unconnected systems each with their own purpose. Capitalise on our modern desire to get everything we need done quickly and get on with our lives and ensure your interactions with the customer indicate how much you as an organisation or product team really value their time and engagement.
An awesome customer experience puts the customer first, even if means letting go of conventional “we’ve always done it this way, brand B also does it this way, etc.” rationale.
An awesome customer experience requires all functions to work in unification. It means that as a business, we must be open to regularly reviewing various processes and outreach strategies.
It also means we need to ensure our brand enables 24/7 engagement. At minimum, this should include 24/7 live chat and a phone receptionist team to answer all calls. Success follows when customers choose the time and place.
Extraordinary customer experiences are created by teams that believe in delivering value time and time again through their brand promise. It is through your brand promise that the expectations are established and provide an opportunity to shine with your customers. Living your brand promise across your organisation will energise team members to challenge themselves each time to build strong customer relationships and awesome customer experiences.
Beginning each customer interaction with a consultative approach to understand your customers’ requirements is essential to being able to delight and build successful outcomes. Understanding the customer journey, related touchpoints, and the various processes and teams involved in pleasing the customer provides crucial insight into building the customer lifetime value and brand champions. Remembering that while key performance indicators are an aggregate scoring of your customer base, it boils down to the individual transaction and experience each time to win your customer’s loyalty during each one.
It starts with the view you take of your “customer” – is it just transactional, which the use of “customer” definitely suggests in 2020? Are they just “an account” to you – one of many? Or are they a partner – implying a two way exchange of effort that builds something great between you? Partners can pick up very readily which one of these they are to you, and that colours all of their interaction and experience – who wants to operate knowing their main value is financial?
I have very much pivoted language in my teams toward partnership. It’s a hard effort – words like customer and account are ingrained in people’s lexicon, but a subtle shift to partnership moves interactions with each other on so far it’s almost unbelievable. It shifts the driver of what you do for your partners – teams complete work because they want to, for a partner, not because they NEED to, for a demanding “customer”. What you do between you becomes a joint enterprise – not overnight for sure – and if you’re clear actions are for mutual growth, that helps everyone, but certainly in my experience makes the “customer” experience much improved. Just be prepared to correct people saying “customer” a lot!
In a fast paced and demanding world, awesome customer experience is all about responsiveness, understanding your customer’s needs and helping them get the best value from your product or service.
Brady’s customers span multiple industries and markets. Our teams come from industry, so we don’t need time being trained on jargon or business processes. We invest in local support teams, so we speak our customer’s native languages.
We provide annual summits to show best practice, tips and tricks. We provide webinars for all new product releases so customers know how things work and which upgrade is best for their business.
I think customer experience is too often seen as a singular global approach – ‘how we treat our customers’. Sure there are certain ways you want to treat your customers, which would align with your values. But the risk is this takes us away from the fact that we’re dealing with a huge melting pot of individuals, whose only common connection to each other is your company. We need to take time to think them in this way and listen to their individual expectations of our organisations/brands – that’s when people really connect with us. Of course then we can identify groups, create pen portraits and develop customer experience; but it all starts, I think, with understanding the extraordinary individual diversity of those customers.
An awesome customer experience is, in my opinion, one which makes life easy for the customer … placing an order (quick confirmation received); asking for some information (quickly acknowledged; quick and comprehensive response), etc. It’s easy stuff – just so things quickly and efficiently. And if there’s a hitch along the way, tell the customer as soon as possible. An awesome customer experience doesn’t include the customer having to chase things up or not being forewarned of an upcoming problem.
It might sound corny, but actually a genuine complaint is your best opportunity to delight a customer – you can turn it from a problem to an excellent example of customer focus by how you handle it, and the customer will not forget it if you resolve a problem for him quickly and effectively.
Treat a customer as you would like to be treated yourself and you won’t go far wrong.
You are treated by a company or person in such a way that makes you feel special and valued just in the short space of time you are actually interacting with them. The contact is both insightful and understanding in equal measure and the resulting solution is tailored to suit you and your current circumstances. You come away from such an interaction feeling so much better than before the contact started.
An awesome customer experience is built on integrity. Without it, you can never build the trust and rapport that is required to build a relationship with your customer.
Do what you say you are going to do.
Do it well – even if it is the hard path to follow.
You have to do what is right for the customer, not what is easiest for you to achieve.
Make sure that when it goes right, it goes great and on those rare occasions when it isn’t going well, that you act with integrity, have honest discussions and maintain that relationship.
Going the extra mile, whether that is delivering on a promise and executing well, or it may even be telling someone the truth about something they don’t want to hear, especially if you are providing a service which isn’t suitable for the end user or a bespoke project. Honesty and transparency are the most critical traits in a team expected to deliver exceptional service.
Listening and Good Communication.
Making every customer feel important, listened to and understood. Striving to make their experience easy and enjoyable and by impressing them at every point of the customer journey by providing an experience that is personalised, timely, consistent and memorable. Taking pride in your work and taking note of the little details to go the extra mile.
At Phoenix these values are the foundation of our company, they define us and set us apart from our competition. We also have a strong connection within the communities that we work, with an ethos of Warming the hearts and homes in your community.
Gemma AxfordQuickline Communications - Head of Customer Experience
I feel what makes great Customer Experience is communication, communication is key! Creating an emotional connection with a customer is so empowering and rewarding it makes them feel loyal and worthy. Keeping the customer updated all the way through the process as well as the after care should be a first class experience.
If a customer receives first class treatment and consistency this results in profits and sales rising, high customer endorsements and less churn.
Going above and beyond for your customers. Put yourself in the customers shoes and think – in a particular industry, what would make a world class experience for me as a customer – then go and execute that vision. Where possible try and build a personal relationship with your clients to ensure they give you repeat business – message them to see how they are – become a friend. Its important to stay consistent and ensure the experience they receive is as good or better each time. Do not just focus on new customers and forget loyal customers.
Make sure you get feedback – what you thought was a great experience may not have been. Regularly enquire about peoples experience and how it can be improved – the answer is often simple and the customer will tell you themselves.
What makes an awesome customer experience? Understanding that it takes a whole company!
Get to know your customers and be authentic, humble and honest – even when it feels uncomfortable. Listen to what’s happening around you, whether that’s in your team, the wider industry or even on social media, and use these insights to make sound judgements and to adapt your approach for customers where needed. Don’t fool yourself and think you can do it all where you can’t – there’s no shame in asking for help when things get too much. Be a team player – share in the wins and support each other through the challenges. And most importantly, take a breathe and enjoy the ride with your customers – it’s no fun unless everyone’s onboard!
Authenticity is key. In Professional Services the three ‘secrets of success’ to a good client experience are PQT: People, Quality and Timing. Each of these needs to be aligned to what your brand represents in general, and the value that your pitch specifically promises.
BD, communications and marketing leaders need to be sure that the messages their teams put out align to the reality of the businesses they serve. If there is a lack of authenticity in these messages, clients will be disappointed, may refuse to pay, or could speak poorly of your firm in the market.
Awesome customer experience occurs when the customer’s expectations were exceeded. This can only happen in a scenario when initially something went wrong. If everything works as intended that is just meeting expectations – no one is going to remember this.
What sticks in customer’s mind are situations, when things went South and the Company has gone an extra mile to empathise with the customer’s issue and solve it in a timely matter while engaging and providing feedback to all business departments involved in order to prevent similar issues in the future. Customers expect being heard and not face the same issue more than once. In the end, we are all human and feel satisfied when problems are solved and enjoy helping brands that we love improve their customer experience.
Great customer experience is essential to building brand loyalty and affinity. For us, awesome customer experience is ensuring that your customer feels as if they are part of your company and community every step of the way. They feel that you are attentive, understand their needs and most importantly actually care what they are talking about. A company should prioritise customer experience improvements and look to make gradual, measurable changes every step of the way.
Walk a mile in your customers shoes, understand what they really want and then aim to consistently exceed their expectations before, during and after the sale.
Offer genuine value for money and clearly communicate your value proposition. Focus on what makes it different and why it is a better choice than either established brands or less expensive alternatives.
Always work with 100% integrity and to the highest possible standards but do not be a perfectionist. Try to understand when “good enough” is… good enough, and get to market ASAP(becoming cash generative is essential). Invite feedback and listen to your customers (and potential customers) to refine, adapt and inform the ongoing development of relevant products and services.
SIMPLE – Customers don’t care how much you know…….they want to know how much you care. Having a dogged customer centric focus will always bring you the right results. Look after your customers…….they pay the bills!!
It is simple for me. It is that feeling you get when you just know someone has ‘got’ what you needed and delivered it however you needed it. It is that person who seems to be able to anticipate what you need now and also what you are going to need tomorrow and beyond. I tend to get the best experiences when I have a shared sense of purpose with the people I am working with. I also seem find they are people who have the same sort of values as I do so perhaps that is worth considering too.
So if you want give exceptional customer service consider the following principles and I think you won’t go far wrong. 1) Start with WHY? Why are you doing this task? Why do you want to help? Why do you do your job everyday? If the answer is not necessarily about helping/solving/supporting your customers, you might want to reconsider your career in customer service! 2) Listen to what your customer is saying. Then listen a bit more. Ask ‘is there anything else you need?’ to really get to the heart of what the need and want (it is often not what you first heard or thought). 3) Finally, try to work out how you want your customer to feel at the end of the experience and then try to deliver on it. It might make you realize you need to take a slightly different approach to achieve an awesome customer experience. Good luck.
Consistently meeting your customers expectations is the starting point for delivering a good customer experience. Sprinkling it with moments of delight and wow I did not expect that will be the “moment of truth” that moves the needle to awesome. It might require some significant investment and change but does not need to be complex or expensive. A small gesture made by a member of staff, systems and processes that are able to flex in response to a particular circumstance , introducing levels of customisation that are not part of a standard expected service delivery, clear signposting and communication and an innovative new product or service feature are all potential sources that can deliver such moments.
At the core of what makes an awesome customer experience is an organisation culture that puts the customer first, a senior management team that puts CX at the top of its management agenda and that self same senior management teams acceptance that awesome today is only likely to be what is expected tomorrow.
The quality of experience a brand delivers for its customers directly impacts the amount of time a customer wants to spend with that brand, the way they feel about it and the likelihood they will talk about it in a positive way. Improving these metrics is critical and the key lies in understanding. Work with customers to get real human insight into their needs and wants, then design and create to meet these these on both an emotional and rational level. Fundamentally, it’s about creating experiences based on real human behaviour to drive real business impact.
Delivering excellent customer experience comes from being knowledgeable, attentive and memorable. Building solid relationships with existing and prospective clients is a vital skill, in which partnerships and projects will flourish if you are willing, efficient and accommodating. In an ever-evolving advertising ecosystem, truly knowing your client is key to standing apart from your competitors. This means knowing what the client wants before they do, having the confidence and courage to educate when necessary, and being efficient in your execution. Establish these essential skills and you will provide an awesome customer experience.
Authenticity. Without question. When you engage with a customer or a potential customer, all of your marketing efforts, interactions (In person, online, products, recommendations, reviews etc) all say something about your organisation and set an expectation. Customers buy when their expectations are met. And they stop buying or decide not to buy if their expectations are not met.
Authenticity is the matching of expectations with reality. Authentic experiences build trust. Trust builds empathy and engagement. And these things generate referrals and repeat business. Some organisations spend $m’s on trying to overdo the “customer experience” yet it is totally wasted because all they are trying to do is make up for expectations not being met and lack of authenticity.
All too often we shape our customers around our own business processes rather than the customers. How many times have you stayed at a hotel, where you have to interact with many different systems. At each stage, you are forced to reenter the same information, and all because internally the hotel has systems that aren’t integrated. If I have one piece of wisdom, it would be to start treating your customers as respected individuals and modify your processes and software to support this.
As Ray Kroc once famously said, Look after your customers and the business will look after itself (Ray Kroc, McDonalds).
Be the business you want to be from day one. Not the business you are at day one. Even if it is only you. Have structure, minute your management team meetings, have a colour scheme, agreed font, standard templates for quotes, naming conventions, ppt templates, board meetings, etc. If you want to compete in the open market with the best, you need every advantage. Stay nimble, flexible, fast moving, all USP s you can have, but where you can look and feel the same, both externally and internally, do so.
Stepping into your customer’s shoes is essential – discovering what matters to them, how they are being measured and what success looks like to them. Also being bold – don’t just say what you think they want to hear. They will thank you for your honesty in the long-run and value you more.
Enjoying a family holiday dinner on the famous Piazza del Campo square in Siena – at what turned out to be Italian Restaurant of the Year – all three children wanted ice cream after memorable main courses. On taking the order, the waiter said it would be better if we headed for the nearby Gelateria. He was undoubtedly right, but I’m sure he could have served a perfectly good ice cream even if limited in flavours! It taught me the true lesson of customer service. Always do what you do best and strive to over deliver on expectations, rather than attempt something that delivers only average results. Not surprisingly, we went back to both establishments the following evening for another awesome customer experience!
In order for a customer to have a truly awesome experience spend considerably more time listening to your customer than talking to them to ensure you understand the challenges they face. Ensure your contribution to the conversation adds value and builds trust. Demonstrate you understand their issues and any proposals need to reflect the conversation, the current state and the road forward. Do not pressurise the customer and work towards a relationship that they look forward to the next conversation. Work with them to help them overcome their challenges so that you’re the first person they turn to next time they need help
Just because you aren’t getting lots of complaints it doesn’t mean you are giving great customer service. Be proactive, put yourself in the customers shoes and think about what an exceptionally positive donor or customer experience would feel like. In this current environment there is a real opportunity to stand out – for all the right reasons!