During our training sessions and customer visits, we have observed an amount out serious conceptual confusion regarding "Customer Experience".
When we scanned for Turkish sources available over the internet, the outcome was not very different. We noticed that the views expressed regarding the Customer Experience, do not go beyond the concepts of Customer Satisfaction or Customer Focus.
With this study – 7 Philosophies of Building Excellent Customer Experiences - we aim to help managers to look beyond the confusion.
By eliminating confusion on this subject, we aim to look deeper into the concept of Customer Experience and create awareness about the value of Customer Experience to the company success and help create an understanding about how management can drive this valuable asset in the most effective way.
Philosophy I: The Source of Long-term Competitive Advantage is Excellent Customer Experiences.
Creating an Excellent Customer Experience is about emotions. If you can establish the emotional bond with your customers, it will be quite costly for your competitors to break that bond. Thus, you can achieve a long-term loyalty.
Philosophy II: Excellent Customer Experiences are formed by consistently exceeding customers' physical and emotional expectations.
Many companies say many things about “Exceeding Customer Expectations” but in reality, most companies have no idea about what physical and emotional expectations their customers have. To make this even more complicated, most companies don’t realise that customer expectations do also vary at each point of contact with the customer. When your sales team contact customers or your customers contact you directly for the first time, do you know what their real expectations are? If not, how can you expect to exceed their expectations or even manage them?
Philosophy III: Companies that are focused on mobilizing the feelings of their customers are set on making a difference in the Customer Experience.
What is the feeling you are trying to evoke in your customers? Have you ever thought about it? İf not, how can you achieve this? Because the driving force behind all human behaviour, are the feelings.
*Like IBM's famous former Vice President of Marketing Buck Rodgers said:“People buy with their feelings. They later try to logically justify their decisions.” Yet, most companies leave evoking the emotions of customers solely to chance.
Philosophy IV: Excellent Customer Experience motivates inspiring leaders and individuals who are highly empathetic. Thus forms a strong company culture where employees are happy.
We all know that happy employees create happy customers. Poor management and leadership practices create unhappiness among employees working at the contact points with customers. This creates an environment of chaos and uncertainty, results in unhappy customers. To build an excellent customer experience we need happy employees who love their jobs and who can evoke natural and positive feelings.
For example, you are trying to gain a sense of "trust" with your customer, means that your team should be made up of people who are genuine, well-intentioned which will create a sense of trust. We are in general extremely successful in recruiting employees with high emotional intelligence.
So the question is: Are companies benefiting enough from their employees’ such valuable qualities? Are the employees encouraged to induce the feelings that companies wish to pass on their customers?
Is it not ironic; in one hand we work hard to employ individuals with high emotional intelligence, and on the other, through the highly analytical approach of deploying strict policies and procedures, we discourage them to make use of their most important assets?
Your company culture impacts the customer experience. If your employees are living under a constant "blame culture", they will do everything by the book and will not take risk for customers. Therefore they will dismiss even the most sensible customer request by saying that the request does not fit company rules and procedures. Your company culture is associated with and has measurable effects on Customer Experience.
Philosophy V: Excellent Customer Experiences are designed “outside-in” not "inside-out"
Despite the Customer Focus rhetoric, most Companies are only looking inward. Whether a company is "inside-out" becomes evident when the organizational structure, processes, systems and attitudes towards events are examined.
The correct structure for excellent customer experience is "outside-in". Companies that make "Outside-in" customer experience, design their systems and processes in line with warnings from their environment - they constantly think about what's best for their customers. Companies spend quite a lot of money on CRM applications, ads, promotions, sales customer service or even improving the customer experience without first defining what kind of customer experience they wish to create or exactly how to identify the scope of customer satisfaction.
So, despite all of these activities, these companies are only able to stay competitive by offering cheaper deals. This is a consequence of the “inside-out” approach. To succeed, a reverse approach is mandatory. Real customer-focused organizations must primarily define what kind of customer experience they want to offer. Later, they must re-create their systems and processes around this definition.
Philosophy VI: Excellent Customer Experience brings in revenue and costs can be reduced significantly.
Through comprehensive business analysis and greater experience and applicable knowledge obtained from the exchange programs, the customer experience can continuously be improved.
Evolving in the direction of the desired customer experience and lead to a continuous increase in income and a reduction in expenses.
Many people believe Customer Experience Improvement work is costly. However, as seen in many cases costs do reduce significantly. A simple example can be the reduction in customer complaints.
Following on the example of customer complaints,
- Customer representatives lead customer satisfaction rate increased by 36%
- Customer representatives are able to deal with 200% more customers,
- This leads to a reduction of costs by 17%.
- What we learn from this example is that when you resolve customers’ problems at first contact, you will improve customer experience. This will reduce costs by not having to spend time and resources on the same issue. This way, customer representatives are able to deal with another customer each time. This is much cheaper and effective way of increasing customer satisfaction. When new customer acquisitions – due to good referrals and returns from existing customers’ are added, The Customer Experience Improvement work proves to be a very profitable investment.
Philosophy VII: Excellent Customer Experience is the embodiment of the brand.
Let us ask ourselves. What is a brand? A perception in its simplest form, it is an opinion or a point view.
So, how has this perception been created? Through Advertising, the company's behaviour, and other factors as well as the customer experience. Your brand is your promise.
My experience shows that there are often big differences between what companies promise to perform and the actual Customer Experience.
So let’s continue to ask ourselves:
Do we know what our brand value proposition is? What is our brand personality? And how are they reflected in the Customer Experience?
For further information:
Training and Development Consultant
t: +90 216 562 1300-01