The customer experience is key in the future of branding
Defining the modern customer experience is a much more dynamic process than it’s ever been in the past. When you talk about customer expectations and deliverable results, it’s no longer as simple as helping people navigate an issue from point A to point B and sending them on their way. Today, it’s about creating a full experience of you and your company
While problem solving will always be the foundation, customer service experts know that what people want out of their service experiences is speed, thoroughness, empathy, efficiency, and multi-channel accessibility. Experts also know that what people need to best suit modern demands is integration, a fully immersive experience that ties together all manner of technology and skillful, professional assistance.
To stay afloat in today’s world, the customer experience must include multiple channels through which people can seek solutions, and do so at their own convenience and speed. There must be a balance between efficiency and precision, and service providers must turn the notion that modern consumers will tolerate antiquated approaches to service on its head.
That’s where today’s approach differs from decades past: customer experience is the full-package deal, and it’s the way that customers engage with companies in the digital world.
From mortar to mobiles: the wait is over
In a strictly brick and mortar world, a company might be able to make excuses or get away with less than world-class customer service. There was a company face presented to the customer to drive the sales experience, and service was more of a side function, a chore for a customer appearing as an occasional obligatory item on a to-do list.
In 2018, we are highly connected in numerous ways, and that connectivity will only continue to expand. If one thing is clear in how people interact with the places they do business, it’s that they don’t have limitations on when or where they do it, with the wide range of mobile devices most people own. As a result of this technology, the lines between where customer experience start and end begin to blur, and waiting is no longer as tolerated.
Modern customer experience is an all-hands-on-deck sort of scenario, a blend of high-quality service, a freedom of choice, convenience and terms defined by the customers themselves.
It’s going to get personal
Customer experience today equates with customer empowerment through personalization and integration.
According to Forbes, a 2017 study found that 75 percent of companies said improving customer experience was their highest priority. The value of a customer’s experience can make or break their willingness to do business again, so it’s critical to update your company’s understanding and approach to it as the times change.
Everyone in a company, all the way through the top, should participate in cultivating the service that customers demand. From finding the company’s “voice” in its customer experience outreach to locking into every potential option for integrating technology, the entire team plays a role in placing focus on how customers will experience the brand and service.
The multiple channels through which customers interact with brands, as well as the interconnected web of brand affiliates, casts a wider net on how companies must be available. Higher levels of accessibility are an absolute must, since studies show that customers who can’t interact at their own convenience are likely not to return.
How can a brand optimize the experience for customers? Through personalization. Harnessing technology to tailor service to the individual customer, rather than treating them like cattle waiting at the chute to connect with an anonymous representative who may or may not have the answers to their questions, is a practice in high demand. A robust omnichannel experience can help drive this home.
Finding land in a sea of data
Technology carries with it large amounts of data generation. Creating trust in customers that data will be protected, while using it to optimize every stage of the customer experience, is a challenge that every company must rise to meet. Strategizing ways to harness that data can mean higher levels of personalized service and an opportunity to empower customers.
Harnessing data can mean employing a wide swath of tools, from the Internet of Things to Artificial Intelligence designed to help customers sort issues efficiently until a live representative trained directly in the customer’s inquiry needs to step in.
The bottom line here is that customers now have far higher expectations for how service will play out. The customer experience is a dynamic part of a business model that is now laced into the fabric of a brand itself. Creating a dynamic customer experience should be a top priority for every company.