Customer Service vs. Customer Experience
Know what your customers need most and what your company does best. Focus on where the two meet to create the best customer experience.” – Kevin Stirtz
Today we hear a lot about how customer service is focusing more and more on the emotional aspects of the customer’s experience. Businesses are tapping into the psychological understanding of how people make decisions. In the past customer service was defined by the business and focused on how to fix problems after the fact. Today, customer service is defined by the customer and the focus is not only on the end result, but the beginning and the middle as well. To offer the best customer service you must offer the best experience.
Take the time to measure customer service value. Evaluate the agreement made with your customers. Discuss any gray areas found and replace them with clarity. Your agreement with the customer is the roadmap of their experience, tackle possible bumps in the road early and misunderstandings are less likely to happen. Create processes that allow constant feed back that will point out any red flags. Continually upgrading your agreements is a great way to ensure you are providing the ultimate customer experience.
Customer experience is more than just service
Meeting customer expectations is still a requirement for good customer service, but meeting this requirement alone is no longer sufficient. Your business processes, policies, and strategies must be aligned with your customer’s priorities. Talk to your customers about their world and differentiate your brand to align with their expectations. Fifty percent of the customer experience is subconscious, or how the customer feels about your business relationship. Businesses can no longer simply focus on product or services. Instead, companies must engage and understand the emotional interactions with their customers.
A great customer experience doesn’t just happen. Customer experiences are planned journeys that lead to a specific destination. The customer’s problems and needs dictate what the journey will be. By listening and understanding the customer, you can plan an experience that guarantees success. You don’t need to think about your customer 24/7 but you do need to have communication with them on a regular basis. Hear what your customers are saying about what they’re currently experiencing and then create actions that take their experience to the next level.
What makes a good customer experience?
- Know your customer – Get to know your customer’s business. Be able to anticipate their needs.
- Be approachable – Develop a business relationship that the customer will respect and be loyal to.
- Have clear definitions of services – Be sure the customer knows what you will and will not do.
- Communicate often – Contact your customer often just to touch base. A weekly phone call or email goes a long way in showing you care.
- Be consistent – Over promise and over produce. Always look for ways to go above and beyond. Never let customers feel like you’re getting slack or taking them for granite.
Although there is no formula to creating the perfect customer experience, by communicating and listening you can create a unique experience that’s perfect for each particular customer. Be prepared to innovate. As your customer’s grow and change, their experience with you must change as well. Great customer experience translates into repeat business, which translates into business success.