It’s time to lift your customer experience game

Hearing the term “customer experience” bandied about a lot these days and wondering whether it’s something your business should be focusing on?

Welcome to the party. Customer experience, most easily described as the total sum of all the contacts a customer has with your business, before, during and after the time at which they make a purchase, has become the key differentiator du jour, in many market sectors.

Stand-out customer experience typically entails a company-wide commitment to delivering service which has integrity at its core, holistic enterprise-wide customer transformations and a seamless digital experience.

Want to up your game but not sure where to start? Here are some tips to help you deliver customer experience that turns one-time buyers into loyal customers and advocates for your business.

Make the first move

Regardless of the quality of their products or services, companies which expect customers to make the first move are likely to be in for a long wait.

Good customer experience doesn’t start with hanging back until an opportunity presents itself; it’s about going out there and finding one.

By approaching prospects, in person and electronically, you’re opening an interaction which may eventually lead to a purchasing decision. Digitisation has conditioned us to expect speed and convenience, when dealing with organisations, and the goal should be to make it as easy as possible for your target market to find you and engage with you.

Offer superlative support

Think your relationship with a customer ends when you’ve rung up the sale? Think again. Excellent pre and after sales support is a must for businesses which aim to deliver a quality experience, at every stage of the customer journey.

Aim for consistent, useful and easily accessible via a variety of channels, including online and social media.

Pull together behind the scenes

Have a team who are great at doing deals and answering curly support questions but not so hot when it comes to tracking orders or actioning accounts queries?

Fragmented or inconsistent processes and services behind the scenes don’t deliver a great customer experience outcome. Aligning procedures across departments and business units, to make your operations more efficient and seamless, will help you to provide customer experience that’s excellent – all of the time.

Give employees permission to engage more authentically

While efficient, well designed processes are integral to good customer service, a great customer experience is anything but formulaic. Companies that deliver them exceptionally well don’t always behave ‘by the book’. That’s because they know that what matters most to customers is the feeling that they’ve been heard, are valued and will be taken care of – something that’s not always possible if you employ a rigid, one-size-fits-all approach.

Encouraging staff to use their initiative and emotional intelligence when resolving issues can leave customers with a positive impression of your company that’s difficult to erase.

Putting customers first and foremost, in 2020 and beyond

The competition faced by Australian businesses has never been fiercer. Digital disruption has up-ended scores of traditional industries and created a myriad of opportunities for nimble upstarts to snatch market share from established players.

It’s no exaggeration to suggest that offering a superlative customer experience at every stage of the journey might well mean the difference between sustainable success and a fast track to the scrap heap.

For Australian business owners who hope to see their enterprises survive and thrive in 2020 and beyond, making it a priority could prove a very smart move.

Brendan Maree, Vice President Asia Pacific, 8×8 Inc