More and more, customer experience (CX) is overtaking price and product as the key brand differentiator. But what constitutes great CX?
Timely response. Whether it’s an answer, apology, assurance, or anything else, customers want to get it quickly. At the same time, though, they don’t want to feel like they’re being rushed through a process or checklist, and the last thing an agent wants is to add insult to injury, by not taking the time to thoroughly understand the issue at hand. That’s why it’s important to focus on timeliness and not just speed – excellent customer experience takes into consideration both promptness and proper handling.
Effective communication. This isn’t just a matter of speaking the customer’s language, but also comprehending and conveying information clearly, concisely, and in keeping with your brand image. Agents for a young, hip brand, for instance, can—and possibly should—respond to an inquiry with “I get what you’re saying.” while agents for a prestige brand would more appropriately reply, “I understand.” Every interaction crystallizes your image in a customer’s mind, so consistency is as vital as clarity.
Human touch. Having stated the importance of on-brand communication, it’s equally critical for your representatives to freely engage as human beings. Feeling valued as individuals helps agents understand the individuals they serve, building empathy, which forms the foundation of a relationship of trust. On the other side of the equation, human interaction makes customers feel both comfortable and valued, while personalization creates loyalty – customers tend to stick with a company that they feel knows them.
Omnichannel access. Many customers start an inquiry with, say, a chatbot; then ask for clarification via phone call; follow up with an SMS; ask for updates through email; and make a complaint or commendation on social media. Good CX can handle the customer’s concern at any point during this chain – but great CX should address the entire continuum, across not just this inquiry, but the customer’s history of interactions. Omnichannel is about giving the customer every option and opportunity to be heard.
There are, of course, many more things you can conceive to foster excellent customer experience. But these are the basics that, really, any company in today’s marketplace needs to achieve, to deliver the delight that keeps customers coming back for more.