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Customer Experience – what’s it all about?

Customer Experience – what’s it all about?

This is a strategy that is here to stay.

Companies that implement a strategy based on Customer Experience feel a positive impact on customer loyalty, achieve better customer satisfaction rates, see fewer complaints, achieve a higher retention rate and experience increased sales.

Therefore, it gives companies a great competitive advantage and represents their differentiating path towards competitors.

Customers become brand / company ambassadors and will not mind investing more if that means ensuring a quality relationship.

What is Customer Experience all about?

It’s a perception. In fact, it is the result of the performance that the customer obtains from his supplier minus the initial expectation that the customer had.

An organization and a customer establish contacts throughout their business relationship. After these interactions (whether face-to-face or online, in sales or aftersales), the customer will hold a perception of how the relationship developed and will, consequently, react influenced by what he felt.

The more positive these contacts are over the duration of the relationship, the better the customer’s perception will be, the more loyal he will feel to the organization and the more favorable his reaction will be, recommending the products / services.

Basically, everything revolves around what the customer wants. When the customer interacts with a company, there is something he wants to achieve. Either he wants a new product, or to buy something, or he wants to complain about something, etc. That is his initial need/expectation.

The different contacts he establishes are just ways he uses to meet that claim or solve that issue. His journey as a customer is, therefore, a sum of all contacts with the company, during a certain period of time.

"If we want to conquer a customer for life, we must invest in the experience that he establishes with us"

The customer is not that complicated; he interacts with the company and expects the service to be delivered. Quite often it is the company itself that creates complexity in a process that, although optimized for the company, rarely embraces the full vision of the customer’s need/will.

In any case, if we want to conquer a customer for life, we must invest in the experience that he establishes with us, making it always positive and, more than satisfying the initial needs/expectations, making sure it contributes to his real happiness. In addition, the relationship must be long-lasting and not merely restricted to the moment of purchase of the product or service.

A business cannot survive without its customers and more than winning new customers, companies now focus on retaining existing customers by offering them positive experiences throughout the relationship they are building together.

In fact, the product or service that a company / organization sells matters less every day… The relationship that you are able to establish between the people involved, in which “the customer is king”, that is the real success factor! The success of the business will be strongly related to the dedication provided to the customer.

Customer Experience Strategy

The Customer Experience strategy should, therefore, be understood in a broad sense; the company needs to establish a culture that must be shared and supported by all its members in the various departments. Technological and digital updates that enable new ways to strengthen customer relationships must be recognized and leveraged in terms of a long-term strategy.

On the other hand, we know that customer expectations change and increase constantly – often through advertising, many companies increase their expectations even after that they deliver a fairly normal service – which requires a continuous follow-up of each customer and the anticipation of what he expects next. In any case, we should understand that sometimes lowering expectations can also be a way to providing greater satisfaction.

Customers are increasingly demanding and they compare the various companies when they make the purchase decision. The more “empowered” the customer is the greater the importance given to the Customer Experience has to be.

A customer-centric approach requires constant care and demands for a systematic search for fresh ideas that nurture the customer experience, make the difference, and make the customer feel special.

Customer for life
How to implement:

  • Create a decisive Customer Experience vision that must be communicated and shared throughout the organization and that will influence and change behaviors.
    This commitment must come from the top (management) down; each team member must know and practice the vision and it must be incorporated in all areas of training and development.
  • Understand who your customers are by putting yourselves in the role of the customer to get a more realistic sense of their expectations (so often we talk about "getting into the customer's shoes”).
  • Create a relationship not being afraid to be "emotional" to your customers.
    Any relationship has a lot of emotion and many decisions and attitudes are shaped by emotions. Customers that are more involved with the company are quicker when buying the product / service and the ones who give the best recommendations.
  • Invest in training your team members, especially those who are in customer-facing roles.
  • Listen to the customer and request his feedback: ask customers if they are satisfied and how satisfied they are. Make contacts, ask questions, and encourage responses. This also helps speed up the complaint resolution process and increase customer satisfaction rates.
  • Evaluate the results of the entire Customer Experience strategy: analyze how the investment in training, in processes and technologies has improved, is working and is worth it.
  • Provide feedback of this assessment to the members of the organization.
    Employees feel more involved and motivated when they know the results.
  • Benchmark with other companies.
    Knowing what others are doing (even in other markets), gives us ideas to do more and to do different.
  • Use digital to your advantage; customers share their shopping experiences or online services with other customers, and this will shape the perception that others will have of your company, product or service.

"The Customer is King"

The Customer Experience strategy should approach both sales and aftersales, a kind of fusion perspective, and the Sales and Aftersales departments need to work together to ensure customers are happy.

The most successful Sales Departments are not limited to closing deals; rather, they initiate long-term relationships with customers.

In the Aftersales area, although customer service is important, it cannot be the only focus of attention. Customer Experience requires a proactive attitude in building a relationship of trust with customers in order to ensure their continued satisfaction while generating new sales opportunities.

Sales increase when customers have consistently positive experiences with your product and team, and customer loss decreases when your customers’ expectations are exceeded in a focused, efficient, and timely manner.

Close the cycle…win a customer for life!

Author: Paula Serra

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