It’s universally accepted that providing superior customer experiences promotes customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately, long-term business prosperity. That being said, knowing what to do is often much easier than knowing how to do it. I came across a white paper from Cicero that provides some good insights into how to position your business to deliver satisfaction-winning customer experiences.
The paper summarizes feedback and identifies practical steps from customer contact professionals on how to create an outstanding and affordable customer experience. The information was gathered over the past eighteen months at two Frost & Sullivan Customer Contact Executive MindXchange events and twelve Call Center Optimization Forums across the United States.
The tricky thing about managing customer experience is that the definition of what constitutes a positive one resides with the customer, and it can vary from person to person. Every time a business interacts with a customer they form an opinion of their experiences. The paper sums this up nicely, “For the customer – the interaction is the experience.”
Interactions, by its very definition, are two-way, or as the paper puts it they have both “inside out and outside in aspects. Viewed from the inside, we have a collection of products and services that we would like to provide a customer. Viewed from the outside, the customer has needs, wants and expectations.”
There’s a great quote in the paper from Dr. Gerald Zaltman of the Harvard Business School, “Customers are more driven by the subconscious sensory elements derived from the total experience surrounding a transaction than by the tangible attributes of a product or service.” So, how do we successfully manage those intangible aspects?
We do it by understanding what it is our customers are looking for and consistently delivering that. The paper succinctly summarizes four expectations customers have when they interact with a business:
Know Your Stuff – I expect you to know more than I do on the subject and I expect you to have access to the latest information.
Keep Me Informed – Alert me to consequences or advise me of a better deal. Set and manage my expectations.
What follows is a distillation of discussions gathered across the Frost & Sullivan events on several topics. What makes an interaction “Superior” in the customers’ eyes? What is best practice to understand what our customers actually experience? How do we ensure that the customer feels the difference? How do we measure the Impact of Change?
The paper concludes with a Top-10 list of Best Practices and some additional questions to apply to your contact center, related to people, processes and technology. Download Top 10 Best Practices to Deliver Superior Customer Interactions to get all the details.