Excellent customer experience builds a foundation of loyalty and helps you to improve your customer retention. People are now looking for high quality products and services at the most affordable price. However, they are willing to pay more for the same products and services. Especially, if they feel the companies are providing extra value through excellent customer service.
According to Forrester they define customer experience as ‘How customers perceive their interactions with your company’ If we focus on the word perceive we realise that just having an excellent customer experience is not just about what you do as a company or a brand but about how a customer perceives your brand based on all of their interactions with it over time. Every time a customer visits your website or contacts your service team, it will shape their perception of their experience. Nowadays, we are ‘always on’ and the smart companies see all of these interactions as an omni-channel approach. This helps them to shape customer experiences over time.
Let us consider two different experiences such as a ski holiday or an online clothes purchase. These will be different for each individual depending on the emotions they feel as a result of that experience. A ski holiday may be a thrilling and enjoyable experience for one person. However, it could be a terrifying experience for someone else who has a fear of heights or loss of control. As people our emotions are altered based on how these different interactions make us feel.
Most people will remember the emotions attached to an experience rather than the actual experience itself. However, how we perceive each interaction is also an important element when shaping our customer experience. For example; the online purchase of a new outfit may be enhanced for a customer if a brand can recall the customer’s previous online search activity and combine it with your profile data to present more suitable choices for you.
When you consider the companies that have achieved high levels of excellent customer experience, you can understand why they are reaping the rewards of this approach. The other thing that we should consider is that this is not only an external perception, but also an internal one. In a time when we are at almost zero unemployment, staff retention is key and good company culture is a key driver. If you have fostered a culture where your employees are valued, then they emanate this through their interactions with your customers. Even with advances through new technologies, such as robotics, the internet of things and artificial intelligence, there is still a need for human intervention and now more so than before your team are key within the chain of providing an excellent customer experience.
Research carried out by the Aberdeen Group has revealed that the world’s top performing businesses enjoy an average of over $300 million in incremental annual revenue as a result of their customer experience management initiatives. This study was based on companies that have an annual revenue of over 1 Billion. However, organisations of all sizes should expect to reap the benefits of customer experience excellence.