Is your business really customer-centric? Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences

Customers have an abundance of choice and businesses need to find a way to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Customer experience is quickly becoming those defining criteria.

Is your business really customer-centric? Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences
Is your business customer-centric? Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences

While price and quality play a significant role in purchasing decisions, it is by no means the only consideration.

  • 65% of UK buyers say that customer experience helps them decide between buying options.
  • 54% of U.S. consumers say customer experience at most companies needs improvement.

Increasingly, customers are looking for highly-personalized service and products that are delivered in the exact form, and at the exact moment, they require it. Businesses that can anticipate these needs are often the ones that rise to the top. Most often, it is not the cheapest, but the most responsive companies, that win.

But what matters most to customers when it comes to customer experience? And how can you use technology to meet their expectations?

This article explores the key customer experience elements you need to address to become a truly customer-centric business and win more customers.

Content Summary

What is customer-centricity?
Why has customer-centricity become so important?
How to become customer-centric
What matters to customers?
Speed
Convenience
Knowledgable employees
Friendly service
Keeping up with customers’ changing expectations

What is customer-centricity?

Customer-centricity is the practice of placing your customer at the heart of your business.

The approach focuses on building positive customer experiences at every touchpoint, developing lasting relationships with customers and delivering products and services that add value.

Becoming customer-centric surpasses simply marketing to customers in a tailored fashion and delves deeply into the fabric of your business itself. Customer-centricity should be considered in every aspect of the business; from operations, sales and marketing to fulfillment and customer service.

Fundamentally, it is the belief that your business exists to serve your customers and you endeavor to take a customer-first approach to business at every step.

Why has customer-centricity become so important?

Customers have an abundance of choices when it comes to spending their funds and businesses need to find a way to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

While price and quality play a significant role in purchasing decisions, it is by no means the only consideration. 65% of UK buyers say that customer experience helps them decide between buying options.

Increasingly, customers are looking for highly-personalized service and products that are delivered in the exact form, and at the exact moment, they require it.

Businesses that can anticipate these needs are often the ones that rise to the top. Most often, it is not the cheapest, but the most responsive companies, that win.

One in three consumers (32%) say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.

Organizations have also learned that acquiring new customers is significantly more expensive than keeping those who already do business with them. Attracting a new customer can cost up to five times more than retaining an existing one.

The evolution of technology has been a huge driver in the demand for customer-centric business practices. Customers now can interact with organizations from anywhere, at any time.

This access comes with the benefit of being able to engage with customers whenever they want on their device of choice, but also the challenge of identifying the right opportunities to pursue as well as the need to navigate the challenges of an “always-on” society.

How to become customer-centric

While customer experience is a primary purchasing motivator, many businesses are falling short of customer expectations.

54% of U.S. consumers say customer experience at most companies needs improvement.

Research shows that customers feel that businesses are not doing enough to deliver the level of customer experience they want.

Customers are becoming more demanding. What was once a ‘nice-to-have’ is now essential.

One of the best examples is next day delivery. Not long ago, getting your package the day after the purchase was impressive. Now it’s expected. Furthermore, many customers are left wondering why they have to wait 24 hours for a package.

Their expectations are exceedingly high and change constantly.

So, how can your business meet your customers’ expectations?

By understanding where your business falls short of customer expectations, and addressing those areas, you can take your business from paying lip-service to customer-centricity to making it a core business value.

But what matters most to customers when it comes to customer experience?

And how can you meet their expectations so that you become their first choice?

What matters to customers?

How can you use technology to meet their expectations?

A recent report by PWC shows that speed, convenience, helpful employees and friendly service matter most, each hitting over 70% in importance to consumers. Businesses who get it right prioritize technologies that foster or provide these benefits over adopting technology for the sake of being cutting edge.

What matters to customers?
What matters to customers?

The same report highlights how human touch is a much-valued element of customer experience. More customers want more human-to-human interaction, They also want the technologies that support this interaction to be unobtrusive and seamless across platforms.

Speed, convenience, helpful employees and friendly servier matter most to customers – PWC – Future of CX Report

Speed

Prioritize technology that facilitates speed of access to products, service, and information.

Customers want their goods and services faster than ever. Whether it ‘s solving an issue, same-day delivery or instant access to content, meeting their expectations of speed is paramount to winning and keeping customers. Speed of access is so important that more than 40% of respondents to the recent PWC Global Consumer Insights Survey said they would pay extra for same-day delivery. But speed is not just related to the delivery of physical products, it also relates to access to information and service, as well as the speed of issue resolution.

Using technology to meet your customer speed expectations?

Customer service: A customer relationship management (CRM) platform makes resolving support queries quickly simple. By having the customer’s details and information about previous issues and communications to hand, agents can get to the bottom of the problem without repetition or delays.

Knowledgebase: By developing a comprehensive knowledge base off frequently asked questions and common issues, you can place the solution at your customer’s fingertips, giving them a viable self-service option. This allows them to access the information and solve their queries promptly, and at a time convenient to them.

Purchasing: Marketing automation presents new opportunities to showcase products and services when customers want them. Showcasing alternative and complementary products at the right moment can streamline the purchasing process.

Almost 80% of consumers value speed as most important in their customer experience

Convenience

When considering convenience within customer experience, you have to look beyond the basics.

Customers want options.

This means that multi-channel servicing has become paramount as customers seek to engage in a multitude of ways. Their communication choices may change daily and might fall outside of conventional sales and service channels.

They don’t want to be bound to trading hours and expect to be able to transact and communicate with businesses on their schedule. Facilitating access to information, products, and representatives when your customers want will help you leap-frog competitors who don’t.

Convenience also involves how customers can facilitate payment for products and services. Often one of the major pain points for customers is inflexibility in payment methods or terms.

Using technology to meet your customer’s convenience expectations?

Mobile app: Introduce a functional, engaging mobile app that addresses the key interactions that your customers want to fulfill online. Ensure that your website and app are updated, well-designed and user-friendly. Where appropriate, use automation to ease the experience.

Contact channels: Open up communication lines for sales and service on the platforms that your customer want to use. For some, this will be traditional telecoms while others want instant responses over any number of social media channels

Customer service portal: Bring self-service into the mix to allow your customers to find the information they need, manage accounts and pay for goods and services without having to rely on business hours or speaking with an agent. As an always-on platform, a customer service portal fulfills many needs conveniently.

43% of consumers would pay more for greater convenience

Knowledgable employees

Make knowledge and information readily available to your staff to help them serve your customers better.

Knowledgable employees are helpful employees.

Customers want to be able to interact directly with a person who can solve a problem, give advice or help them fully explore their options before, during and after purchase. Moreover, customers want to deal with people who are informed, motivated and equipped to solve their problems. Technology is an enabler of great customer service as it helps empower staff by giving them information and knowledge at their fingertips.

Using technology to meet your customer’s expectations of interacting with knowledgable employees?

Knowledgebase: Use technology to bring knowledge to your team when they need it. While it may not be possible to know every answer, it is possible to have access to the information your team needs to better serve your customers. Your CRM can hold the key with a customizable knowledge base that brings together articles and solutions to previous problems in a central location for reference.

Customer data: It’s equally important to have a view of your customers’ previous interactions with your business. This visibility reduces the need to ask customers to repeat informational ready given to your business and gives your team a greater context of the current situation.

Knowledgable service is valued by almost 80% of consumers, and almost 40% of them would pay more it.

Friendly service

While digital transactions are commonplace in business today, customers are craving more human interaction.

Customers crave human interaction. And as technology becomes more prominent in our lives, the greater this desire becomes.

While technology is hugely beneficial to business, customers tend to only notice it when it goes wrong. When it does go wrong, customers want to be able to speak to, or otherwise communicate with, real people to solve problems, ask for recommendations and discuss more complex products in detail. While most are adept at using technology to research and purchase products and services, it is becoming clear that customers want technology to support the human side of the business, not replace it.

Using technology to encourage friendly service

Training: Comprehensive user training is vital when adopting new tools. Employees who have sufficient expertise and knowledge about how to use the tools available to them show greater satisfaction at work which helps them deliver better service to their customers.

It is imperative that when employees are engaged by their customers that they have the skills to navigate the tools to find a resolution without the stress of ‘figuring it out as they go’.

Focusing on user adoption: New technologies are brought into businesses to streamline processes and make everyday business easier. However, change is not welcomed by everyone. By proactively focusing on user adoption of new tools, you will be able to bring the benefits that new technologies bring to users quicker, ultimately making them more comfortable and productive.

78% of UK consumers want to interact more with a real person more as technology improves

Keeping up with customers’ changing expectations

Always consider what the customer wants first.

Customer expectations will continue to evolve as customer opinions and priorities change, new technologies emerge and change how people live, and competitors differentiate their products and services.

Keeping up with customers' changing expectations
Keeping up with customers’ changing expectations

However, one thing remains constant. If your business can anticipate, identify and act on your customers’ expectations, you will be better placed to meet their changing needs to stay a step ahead.

The only true way to achieve this is to take a proactive approach to get to know and understand what your customers want now, how they want to interact with you and how you can make dealing with your business easier for them, today and into the future.

The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations. – Roy H. Williams

Source: Format14CRM