Customer experience expectations and what you can do to meet them
According to Gartner, 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator by 2017.
However, at the end of 2016, only 1% could make that claim. Forrester 2016 Customer Experience Index Research has reported that only 1% of 319 brands evaluated by 120,000 and more consumers garnered an “Excellent” customer experience rating.
Only 17% of the brands’ customer experiences ranked in the next-best category (“Good”), while the majority (59%) sat at just OK. Twenty percent (20%) ranked “Poor”, with the remaining 3% falling in the “Very Poor” category.
What Customers Expect
Maya Devassy, from Fortress Consulting Group, has recently stated that there are three major drives from a customer perspective.
Being Available requires more than just a quick turnaround time to issues. It requires going above and beyond the traditional business hours to respond to needs. In addition, you must continuously be available to your customers over the long haul. Often, companies are responsive when in person, but fail when the customer needs assistance beyond the initial sale.
Being Receptive, with changing desires and needs of your customer you need to be one step ahead of the game and anticipate their needs. Be proactive with timely and relevant communications.
Honesty and transparency is critical. Providing open and honest communication with your customers whether it be great news or difficult news is important. In today’s society, information travels fast – do you want to own the communication or respond to it?
How to Improve your Customer Experience
Empower Employees to provide the differentiated experiences that organizations are trying to create around Customer Experience. Brand promises and exceptions to the rule to satisfy customers must be placed in the hands of the employee working with the customer. Customers don’t care for red tape in communication and problem-solving – they want the issue dealt with on the first call or interaction with your organization. In order to support this empowerment – integrated systems are required for the employee to take these actions.
The empowered employee also needs to have the information required to solve the problems which again, relies on timely and relevant information for regarding the customer. 46% of respondents ranked access to information as their #1 or #2 priority, per Forester’s report on Intelligent Customer Service.
The empowered employee should also be able to seamlessly switch between different platforms such as a phone, social media, and email to serve the customer.
Customer Self Service
Customers who are used to the Amazon’s of the world expect to be able to self-service 70%+ of their needs through customer portals or mobile applications. Providing order history, shipping information updates, knowledge base articles, and troubleshooting information can all be services through portal capabilities.
Download “The Mandate for Intelligent Customer Service, Forrest Research” that outlines the challenges and impact of customer service when it comes to the overall customer experience.