It is no longer enough to compete solely on the merit of products and services. How a company delivers its products is becoming as important as what it delivers. This experience — the journey through product discovery, trial, evaluation, purchase and beyond — provides an opportunity to add value to what is being sold. People will pay more for that experience to be a positive and easy one.
But how do you take advantage of this opportunity to add value to your products and services?
Here we offer several suggestions to get you started.
Develop a deep understanding of what your customers care about
It is hard to step out of your own company far enough to truly experience the purchase process as customers do. Luckily these days, there are a multitude of channels that can help provide insight — from social media, to surveys and even a real-time chronicling of the shopping experience.
Whatever channels you use for insight, you will need to evaluate all the journeys your customers go through and define their strengths and weaknesses before you are able to start redesigning the ones that aren’t working. Product purchase is a distinctly different experience than customer service for most companies —and these different journeys need to be evaluated as such. Furthermore, the medium in which the customer has the experience should be evaluated. Buying online maybe an easy experience that customers enjoy, whereas buying over the phone may be difficult.
Focus on your people
Every leading customer-experience company has motivated employees who embody the brand promise in their interactions with consumers and are empowered to take actions that help the customer.
Try taking these four actions to make this a reality for your company: 1) Start by listening to employees and establishing mechanisms to address their issues and needs. It is hard to provide an amazing customer experience if you don’t have the tools to do so. 2) Next, hire for attitude, not aptitude. In other words, if you want to provide friendly service, hire friendly people. 3) Give your people a purpose, not rules, so that the company sets clear expectations and lets employees know that it trusts them to do their jobs. 4) Finally, tap into the creativity of your frontline employees by giving them the autonomy to do whatever they can to improve the customer experience and fix problems themselves. Watching them while they do this and providing real-time feedback (for example using listen in / whisper feature on your business phone system) will help them learn and provide confidence in making decisions on their own.
Use technology to maximise the opportunity for a human-to-human connection
In an increasingly digitised world, customers have less opportunity for interaction with a human representative of your company. Yet it is the human-to-human interaction that can leave the biggest impression on the customer experience. Nothing replaces a helpful human who makes you feel heard and solves your problem quickly. But with humans costing more than digital solutions, most businesses are reducing options for human interaction. To solve this problem, use technology to maximise the efficiency of the staff you have so that they can reach more customers in a positive way. Ways to do this include: 1) Ensure your business telephone system has call groups with overflows so that all available staff are able to help customers during busy times, 2) Integrate your business phone system with your CRM system (ideally with caller record pop-up) so that staff can see instantly what issues this customer has had before and identify ways to help them quicker, 3) Add request-a-call-back buttons on your Contact / Support page, so that you can offer customers human interaction when it is optimal for your team.
The importance of customer experience is changing the way the world does business. High street shops are closing because it is nicer to shop from the comfort of your own home than it is to go out, park, queue to pay for products, etc. If your organisation is able to offer positive customer journeys in all aspects of the customer experience, we believe you will see the dividends almost immediately.
VTSL is an award winning cloud communications solutions provider specialising in integrations that help businesses work smarter and more efficiently. With affordable pricing, quick-set up and 24 / 7 support, organisations across the UK and Ireland are benefiting from communications technology that empowers employees to do more. Learn more about how the unified communications provider can help your business get ahead by calling 020 7078 3200 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org today.
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