Browsing articles tagged with " customer experience strategy"

5 Things That Make a Great Customer Experience

By Mike Gorun  //  June, May, Uncategorized  //  Comments Off on 5 Things That Make a Great Customer Experience

Customer experience is increasingly important in business. Retail shops now compete for customer wallets with behemoths such as Amazon. As a result, stores now have to prove to customers will receive a superior experience more valuable than the convenience of clicking a button to have their product show up at their door in 2 days.

In addition, customer experience can be a fuzzy concept, with many definitions floating around. While most know what a great customer experience FEELS like, it’s very hard to define. And, if you can’t define it, you can’t create it.

I came across an excellent article that outlined an interview with Brainshark COO Diane Gordon. In the interview, Diane shared the best definition I have seen of customer experience, outlining the five components that make a great customer experience. I thought I would share these points and how they can apply to our industry:

  1. Relationship is mutually beneficial. For dealers to build customer loyalty, customers must feel as if they are not just a transaction. People don’t want to feel as if all they mean to you is money in the cash register. They’d rather feel that they’re helping your dealership succeed by paying money in exchange for you helping solve a problem for them – and that you are doing it with genuine and sincere intent.
  2. Customers feel valued/respected. Remember the classic TV show “Cheers.” One line in the theme song resonates and illustrates this point, “You want to go where everybody knows your name.” Who doesn’t like walking into a business they frequent regularly and be greeted by name. Why does this make a difference? Because when this happens, customers realize that a business values them enough to remember them. You can also make a customer feel valued and respected through quality loyalty programs, and by taking the time to listen to customer feedback and then act upon it.
  3. They believe doing business with you is easy. Everybody wants easy. That’s exactly how Amazon has grown so fast, put some companies out of business and disrupted entire industries. However, don’t immediately confuse easy as fast. There are things customers want done quickly, as time is valuable to them. But sometimes personalized attention, which makes the process easier and a better experience for the customer, can mean a longer process. Every customer will have different needs and wants. The ability to tailor the experience based on that particular customer is the key to your customers knowing that doing business with you is easy.
  4. Sense that employees love working there. Genuinely happy employees are one of the best ways to broadcast your dealership is a good place for customers to do business. Typically, when employees love working for you, that translates into better customer service, empathy for customers, and the desire to ensure your business succeeds by providing extraordinary customer service.
  5. Feeling that they (the customer) are part of a strong community. Feeling included has been important to most people their whole lives – from grade school sports and clubs all the way to the present. When your customers can tell that other customers are happy and enjoy doing business with you, it encourages them to feel the same way. So be sure to have a good review program in place that promotes good reviews, allows customers to post reviews and that has a way of contacting and handling any negative customer reviews.

A great customer experience is something that all businesses should strive for. But keep in mind that it is not just something you define, but rather something your customers do. Take time to examine these five components to a great customer experience as they relate to your business.


Managing the Experience of Your Customers

By The Editor  //  2013, April  //  Comments Off on Managing the Experience of Your Customers

B2B International | By: Carol-Ann Morgan | April 2, 2013

Managing the Experience of Your CustomersPutting the customer at the heart of the business is the central tenet of marketing. In order to do this, a company must ensure that the voice of the customer is integral to the company strategy, and that the customer is considered, not just by customer-facing staff and departments, but at boardroom level. The evidence for this is strong:

• Two-thirds of customers say a positive customer experience caused them to spend more;

• Eight out of ten customers would pay up to 25% more for a superior customer service;

• Three-quarters of those who switch suppliers/brands relate this to a poor customer experience/service;

• More than half of those who recommend a company make this based on the customer experience rather than factors such as price or product;

• Almost all of those who have had a bad customer experience tell others about it.

Differentiation has long been felt to be the key to growth but as products and positions have become more commoditised, companies have struggled to find their point of difference. Now, companies increasingly recognise that Customer Experience Management can help them to achieve differentiation.

What Is Customer Experience Management?
Bernd Schmitt, renowned marketing thinker, defined Customer Experience Management as:

“the process of strategically managing a customer’s entire experience with a product or company.”

He essentially advocates a shift from the traditional marketing concept towards an approach which takes account of the ‘experience’ of being a customer, from cradle to grave.

A typical approach for a Customer Experience Strategy, one which is suitable for B2B customers whose journey – with repeat scheduled purchases, contracts, mutual dependence and complex relationships – is generally less straightforward than that of B2C customers, involves the following stages, starting with the assessment and segmentation of needs:

1. Needs Assessment and Segmentation
The starting point is to understand customer needs, and what drives and challenges them. Coupled with this is the segmentation of customers into groupings, enabling us to serve the customer more specifically. This can be based on ‘firmographics’ (i.e. geography, company size), behaviours (i.e. what or when they buy) or on needs (i.e. what they want, what their drivers are). The latter is the most discriminating and requires a deeper understanding of customers to achieve.

2. Customer Journey Mapping
This involves the construction of a detailed map of the customer journey for each of the individual customer segments. The journey details the customer touchpoints with the supplier from the first awareness through to usage and, if appropriate, termination of usage.

3. Identify the Desired Experience
The journey map is then used to design the ideal customer experience; comparing the actual experience with the internally-perceived experience. It enables the organisation to review its processes and streamline these to make the experience more effective, efficient and enjoyable; one which customers will want to repeat and tell others about.

4. Design the Brand Experience
This stage addresses the feelings we want to evoke in customers in their experiences with the brand. To design the brand experience, it is important to have a clear vision of the brand identity and values. These are often translated into ‘promises’ which will underpin what the customer can expect from the relationship with the brand and are usually generated around positive emotions which draw the customer into a closer relationship with the brand. This stage also looks at the people who deliver the experience, their attitudes, and how much they reflect what the brand represents when working with customers.

5. Structure the Touchpoints
Here the various touchpoints are structured to ensure the processes are in place to deliver the experience for the customer – one which generates the desired emotions associated with the brand to deliver longer-term loyalty. This stage is often quite process driven, looking at ownership across the business for the various touchpoints, and ensuring that the experience is seamless.

6. Measure and Develop
There are several approaches to measuring the customer experience, not least the measurement of the ROI in financial terms. Common customer survey measures utilized are:

• The periodic customer satisfaction survey – the ‘deep dive’ considered overview

• The event-based satisfaction survey – centred around a specific interaction, delivered very shortly after the interaction

• The tracking survey – a regular, random survey of customers, tracking perceptions and performance on key measures

This data is used both strategically and operationally to make improvements.

Customer Experience Management raises the profile of the customer in the long-term security of the business, recognising customers as an asset and thus worthy of boardroom consideration. The approach incorporates and brings together customer research in the form of needs assessment, customer segmentation, customer journey mapping, brand identity and perceptions, and satisfaction and loyalty measurements.

How are you managing the experience of your customers?

What types of surveys does your business use to track and measure customer experience?

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