Delivering a positive customer experience

An enterprise-wide customer experience strategy impacts your bottom line

Customer experience appears to be a key differentiator today and businesses are bearing the weight of increased pressure to ensure every customer contact point is a positive one.

What are businesses competing on?

Gartner’s survey confirms this, indicating that 90 percent of businesses will compete mostly on customer experience (not product quality) this year. This is a substantial jump from previous years – 36 percent in 2014 and 58 percent in 2015.

It was found that 72 percent of customers across South East Asia will stop patronising a brand following a bad experience, and 69 percent will advise their family and friends to avoid that brand.

There’s also further support for this from a recent survey conducted by management consulting firm, Fifth Quadrant, on behalf of LogMeIn, which indicates that customer experience may have a direct impact on the business’ bottom line. It was found that 72 percent of customers across South East Asia will stop patronising a brand following a bad experience, and 69 percent will advise their family and friends to avoid that brand.


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Sustaining customer loyalty

What is a business to do?

If they do not please, they will lose out on sustaining customer loyalty and advocacy. This clearly indicates that the power is now very much in the hands of the consumer today. This is a point easily confirmed simply by looking online, where consumers are oftentimes spoilt for choice and able to, at the click of a button, browse and compare different offerings.

What, as a business, can you do to make sure that they navigate this customer experience journey successfully? Here are three ways to deliver a customer experience that builds confidence, trust and share of wallet.

Tip #1 Develop a personalised, highly relevant engagement

Avoid: Have your customer interact with machines

A top driver of customer satisfaction is the ability to connect consumers to representatives who can resolve their queries or problems. Rather than connect customers to an automated phone service, businesses need to deliver a personalised and relevant engagement at every touchpoint – where, when and how consumers may engage.

This can dramatically increase customer satisfaction as it demonstrates to customers that they are valued.

Moreover, customers expect to connect with businesses across multiple channels these days. That is, besides the traditional telephone hotline and email address, customers want to be able to contact businesses via web-based chat, web links, SMS and social media. Businesses need to ensure that these channels are established with the right technology and processes, and resourced effectively, to meet the prompt demands of the consumer.

Tip #2 Think ‘low effort experience’

Avoid: Make your customers do more than they need to

Businesses need to win favour by making it easier and faster for customers to get their queries resolved.

Consumers are frequently annoyed by customer representatives asking them to repeat account information or their issues every time they interact with a business, sometimes over different channels. This can be resolved by combining consumer data and interaction history into a single source of truth.

Customer engagement points need to be integrated and accessing information from one data source to offer that seamless experience to consumers. By doing this, consumers will not need to repeat themselves when interacting with a business across channels, resulting in a reduced level of effort and a positive customer experience.

Another option is to provide 24×7 access to an online self-service menu, thereby providing  consumers with the convenience of performing their tasks when and where they want. Website visitors should be able to find answers to frequently asked questions quickly on their own before being directed to a customer agent for more advanced, personalised support.

Tip #3 Improve workflow with the right tools

Avoid: Fail to empower your agents in their interaction with customers

The best service desks arm their customer agents with tools that allow them to :-

  • improve their workflow;
  • boost customer experience;
  • thereby enhancing customer satisfaction.

For example, businesses can increase productivity by eliminating the need for agents to repeatedly type answers to common questions.

The point is to deliver customer experiences that offer accessibility, responsiveness and consistency.

Once a customer agent selects a pre-prepared message on their email or web chat tool, they can edit it to add a personal touch. Having the right support solution allows the service desk to automate fixes to routine issues, eliminating the need to reinvent the wheel each time a repeat problem crops up.

Changing consumer expectations

Ultimately, business leaders need to understand that they must continually adapt operational processes to offer quality customer experiences because consumer expectations change over time. Further, as technologies evolve and new channels of communication open up, businesses will need to cater to that.

The point is to deliver customer experiences that offer accessibility, responsiveness and consistency. To achieve this, businesses need to have an enterprise-wide customer experience strategy that delivers high levels of consumer engagement.

It is no longer possible for customer experience to be viewed as a support function – it needs to be a vital element of business performance. The successful business is one which sees the entire customer engagement journey through, as this is the only way to ensure customer loyalty and advocacy.

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This article has been edited to eliminate product promotion and was originally published in CIO Asia. Coffeecup image courtesy Jan Sundstedt of freeimages.com

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