Today, doing business is all about pleasing the customer. Of course there is the quality of your services and products you wish to uphold and improve, but in the end, it all trickles down to keeping your customers satisfied. As a result there isn’t a modern company that doesn’t value the importance of customer service and invests time and effort in quality customer experience management.
How self-evident this may sound, we don’t have to reach back in history that far to uncover simpler times. Let’s go back only ten years, and amaze ourselves at how customer experience management has evolved so quickly.
The good, the bad and the customer
A decade ago, companies who invested in customer experience management found themselves leagues ahead of the competition and those who didn’t really put their backs into it. Today, however, this gap between good and bad has all but closed as more and more businesses worldwide try their hardest to continuously push their customer experience to a higher level and provide the best possible service. They understand now it’s the only way to set themselves apart in the eyes of the customer.
This has mainly three reasons: firstly, because of technological innovations and online providers, products lose their competitive edge too quickly. Secondly, even the biggest brands struggle to make a difference and have to find new ways to do so. And thirdly, customers drop out faster than ever due to an unsatisfactory customer experience.
For companies it’s key to set their products and brands apart on a customer experience level. For example, when you make an appointment at the bank you receive an email notifying you of the appointed hour, location and person you are to meet. Banks who wish to take the customer experience a step further can turn this confirmation email into a dynamic communication allowing the receiver to directly update their agenda, consult a picture of the person he or she will meet or check the address in Google Maps, or even cancel or reschedule. This is hard work, but possible nonetheless.
Emotion over functionality
Ten years ago life was much easier for businesses. In customer engagement functionality would come first: be available, admit and, more importantly, fix your mistakes, keep your promises and don’t act up or harass your customers*. Companies would pat themselves on the shoulder if they succeeded in answering only these functional customer needs. When discussing customer satisfaction, emotion wasn’t considered a relevant topic. In recent years, however, this has changed. Today organizations understand that the customer is a human being. He acts not guided by reason or well-considered decisions but is driven by intuition and emotions, only to justify his decisions afterwards with rational arguments.
Today customers look for a genuine connection with the companies they depend on, a mutual dependence or reciprocity. Businesses must now go out their way to create a customer experience that is almost perfectly tuned to the individual needs of the customers. And this goes beyond personalization. It’s no longer about greeting them with ‘Hi Marc’ or ‘Dear Sandy’ but about really getting to know them and delivering the right communications at the right time via the right channel.
As a business you can only achieve this if all silo’s within your company work closely together instead of reaching out to your customers in their own different and, to the customer, confusing ways. Are you sending out monthly invoices? Include your marketing team in the proces. Bills have high conversion rates so why not take the opportunity to do some cross- or up-selling? Read all about it in next weeks’ blog!
Socially responsible entrepreneurship
Finally, over time customer expectations have changed drastically. Over the past five years or so customers have not only come to expect more from businesses for themselves, they also expect the businesses they engage with to give something back to society and reflect the good, tolerant and sustainable values they stand for as people. As such the modern day customer rates a company not only by the quality of its products or services, but also by its care and attention for socially responsible entrepreneurship. For businesses, sustainability has become the fast lane towards customer loyalty and retention.
*Kardol, H., Piksen, G., Roodbeen, F., & van der Weijden, J. (2018, 24 november). Dé trends die de klantbeleving van vandaag en morgen bepalen. Geraadpleegd op 4 februari 2019, van https://www.customertalk.nl/nieuws/d%C3%A9-trends-die-de-klantbeleving-van-vandaag-en-morgen-bepalen/