We have come a long way from the first-ever telephone call made by Alexander Graham Bell in the year 1876 to the gazillion calls that are made today, every day. Customer support has evolved remarkably over the years from strictly-phone conversations to the digital omnichannel support that exists today. Most customers don’t recall their earlier memories of customer service with fondness. Who can blame them as no one enjoys staying on hold for hours only to have their queries received by a disinterested customer service representative who lacks adequate knowledge in resolving the issue or speaks like a robot reading off of a script? The heart of the matter is that although customer support has evolved through the years; building CX in a way that meets customer expectations still has a long way to go.
The correlation between Revenue Growth and Customer Experience improvements:
According to Harley Manning from Forrester, “Our conclusion: superior CX drives superior revenue growth”.
4 strategies to Improve Customer Experience:
Now that the importance of CX has been established, let’s take a look at a few strategies that can improve your CX starting today!
#1 Eliminate or reduce high effort tasks
Userlike conducted a study in understanding the effort customers had to put into contacting customer support and most of the respondents agreed that it took a lot of effort to contact customer care via email.
All customers truly want are their issues to be recognized and addressed as painlessly as possible. The efforts that customers need to put in to get in touch with the company can fundamentally determine the quality of their customer experience. Brands need to focus less on engaging customers in ‘delightful’ tactics and stunts that don’t scale well and instead concentrate on reducing customer effort which is more impactful in the long run. Organizations must take up the task of measuring customer effort across all platforms and modes of communication; assess and evaluate the degree of customer effort and develop strategies to reduce them as much as possible. Anticipating customer needs, keeping them informed, never having to make customers repeat themselves, providing them with undivided attention etc are a few methods that can be adopted to improve customer experience. In the Harvard Business Review; Matthew Dixon, Karen Freeman, and Nicholas Toman mentioned that true brand loyalty and customer satisfaction happens when companies reduce the effort customers have to expend in order to get their issues resolved. After the dust is settled, customers are going to remember how a particular brand made them feel which is why it is all the more important to make a customer feel valued and treat them just as they expect to be treated.
#2 Limit depending too much on automation
Source: Startup Bonsai
Many customers are concerned with the pace at which companies are moving towards AI and bots; making it harder for them to interact and communicate with human representatives. It is important to remember that customers are people and must be thought of as that rather than as numbers, goals etc. A phenomenal customer experience still relies on memorable human interactions. Companies must face the fact that automation of customer service can never replace human interactions. So then the question arises as to why companies are so keen on relying on automation as the pillar of quality service delivery? The issue here is that most companies rely on using technology for technology’s sake without considering the needs of their customers which can result in disaster.
Companies must discover new ways of improving CX based on service differentiation and in their capability to engender long term value for the brand. By simply moving with the trends of technology and innovation won’t just do; make sure you are the type of business that truly understands customer journey and brings about improvements that are geared towards fixing the problems that actually torment your customers.
#3 Rely heavily on customer feedback and act on it
When customers are asked about their opinion of their experience with a particular product or service; it instils a feeling of belongingness in your customers. This is also the first step towards creating a customer-centric model of business by identifying exactly what your customers need from you. Gathering feedback from customers is proven to make your customers feel appreciated and helps build an atmosphere of trust and greater affinity with the brand. Customer experience does not end with the termination of a call; instead there starts the learning process for companies. Businesses need to be an active part of the feedback that customers are sharing among their social circle. Being a part of this feedback loop which primarily consists of insights and inputs helps to capture valuable feedback and customer opinions regarding the company’s offering and services. Encourage your customers to participate in surveys, instant feedback, usability tests, exploratory interviews, email contact forms, social media etc. The results that you derive from these customer feedback methods can guide your business in making the necessary improvements in customer experience, driving highly effective and impactful change in the business. The results can also help in improving customer experience at various touchpoints. By regularly acting upon feedback, the business can continually adapt and enhance CX over time by keeping your customers happy and satisfied.
#4 Measure your ROI or success from delivering great customer experiences
Measuring customer experience is considered to be a challenging endeavour as reported by various organizations. But indicators like Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS), Churn Rate, Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) etc provide valuable information as to why customers are doing business with a brand and why they aren’t.
NPS or Net Promotor Score created by Bain and Company is an exceedingly suitable benchmark for a CX metric as many companies use it as the standard measurement of CX or customer experience since it is easy to implement and calculate. Qualitative information derived from calculating your ROI goes a long way in CX management as it helps to improve the CX strategy of a business in meeting the current and future expectations and needs of its customers.
The bottom line is that customers should be delighted by the end result irrespective of how they choose to contact you. Customers of today and tomorrow would prefer to do business with brands that offer multichannel and amiable customer service. They want to be able to solve their problems but also be able to consult with an agent whenever they want to. Their preferences hold reverential value for the business and must not be lacking in any way. A single interaction can make or break the customer experience for those on the receiving end of it. Therefore it is important to incorporate the above strategies into your support process to uplift the customer experience, making your customers fall in love with the service.