I saw a guy jogging near my home recently. That’s not unusual, but this runner had an enormous Nike ‘swoosh’ tattooed prominently on the back of one of his calves alongside race distances he has completed. Given that the marathon distance (26.2 miles) was not even close to being his longest race, it looked to me like he must be a pretty serious distance runner. But why would he permanently tattoo a running shoe logo, rather than just the distances, on his body?
If the question sounds ridiculous then just search Google for examples of the Nike ‘swoosh’, or the Apple you see when switching on a MacBook or the Harley Davidson eagle. Customers love these brands so much they literally do tattoo the logo and corporate slogans such as ‘Think Different’ or ‘Just Do It’ all over themselves.
Customers like this are not just loyal; they can be better described as brand evangelists or advocates. They feel so strongly about a brand and how it makes them feel that they want to broadcast those feelings to everyone they meet. The brand identifies with their lifestyle so the customer freely promotes and advocates their products. Creating brands like this requires a deep understanding of customer needs, plus an ability to meet and exceed those needs on a consistent basis.
So how can companies give customers what they need? Here are a couple of key areas which can significantly improve the customer experience and help to create raving fans.
1. Harness Analytics to Understand the CX Journey and Pain Points
Have you ever shopped at Amazon? Most of us have at some point because Amazon offers a wide range of products and great service, but have you ever thought about what really differentiates Amazon in a crowded retail marketplace? It’s simple – simplicity.
When Amazon patented their one-click system back in 1999 shopping online was far less simple than it is today, but suddenly you could select a product and with a single click Amazon would use your default payment card and delivery address. Simplicity creates a great experience for the customer.
Companies that want to simplify their service need to understand the entire customer journey so pain points can be identified. A key competitive advantage comes from the ability to harness customer experience analytics and make business process improvements. By examining high volume call drivers and searching for ways they can be avoided or minimized, companies have an opportunity to win big by making each touch-point an improved and more meaningful interaction.
IDC research indicates that 90% of companies are now leveraging the customer experience as a key differentiator. Almost every executive now acknowledges that his or her usual ‘reduce-cost-and-increase-revenue’ strategy is less important than the CX. This is up from 58% in 2015.
This change in how customers learn about your products and how they are served seamlessly across channels makes the incorporation of customer experience analytics more important than ever before.
2. Treat Customers the Way They Want to be Treated
What makes customers remain loyal to a brand? Loyalty often comes from those key moments of truth when a customer faces a problem or has a question. Brands can create advocates from a negative situation, such as a product failure, by delivering customer service in a way that fosters trust and strengthens the relationship.
Apple provides a great example of this approach. Apple’s approach to customer support can be summarized as ‘easy and reliable’, emphasizing that not only should the product be easy to use, it should be easy and simple to get help when needed. Steve Jobs always used to say ‘it just works’ when describing Apple products. His summary can also be applied to service and it is this simple approach that wins fans – even when the customer has a question or concern.
Here are some important aspects to consider when optimizing your customer support strategy:
- Understand what’s important to the customer; water doesn’t flow uphill. Make processes and procedures simple so customers can get what they need as quickly and as easily as possible.
- Empathize with the customer; strengthen the brand’s relationship with a customer by building an empathetic, cohesive and trustworthy customer service delivery team.
- Align quality to satisfaction; Quality Assurance (QA) measures often focus on agent performance and adherence to the processes, but strictly following established processes may not be drive customer satisfaction. Make sure Quality Assurance measures and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores are closely aligned and reinforcing each other.
- Omnichannel; customers want flexibility and convenience – make sure you’re creating a seamless experience across all channels including chat, social, email and phone support.
Forrester research demonstrates that “customer experience innovators” lead “customer experience laggards” in growth by 5.1 times. Customers will pay 4.5 times more for an excellent customer service experience versus a poor one. Customer service isn’t a cost center anymore – it’s a driver of revenue. By harnessing insight analytics to identify and improve upon pain points and capitalizing on key moments of truth by understanding how your customers want to be treated – you have a simple but effective road-map to significantly improve customer experience and create strong advocates for your brand.