The Sunday Mail
Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba
“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them” – Kevin Stirtz
The ease of transmitting information in the world today has resulted in so much clutter, causing a revolution in customer experience.
A click on your phone can relay so much information in a split second. Talk of politics, weather, or even business news, all these can easily be accessed at a very low cost and whatever information availed has an effect on the experience of the customer.
Business has not been spared either, there is so much noise on the digital marketing place.
Customers are being bombarded left, right and centre.
I was watching television recently and could not fathom how customers are expected to make informed decisions when all brands are squaring for the same market on a ‘Black Friday’ sale. Competing brands are in fierce war zones just to get a slice of the market. Organisations are, however failing to understand that in spite of dumping all the noise on the customer, the power to buy or not to buy belongs to the customer.
This power is based on a combination of factors and chief among them is the experience that the customer has with the organisation – better known as customer experience – and the all-powerful referral from satisfied or rather delighted customers.
Organisations should always do an introspection on their service delivery, and make it a point that their customers’ journey is reviewed more often than ever. One bad customer experience can drive other customers into the arms of competing brands.
As they say, bad news travels fast, negative reviews move at the speed of lightning if not managed well, and can kill a brand instantly.
Thus, after auditing the customer service, organisations must work on managing their customer experience.
Mistakes do happen and can result in a bad customer service, but organisations must always learn not to be rigid, but to be agile and resolve any mishap immediately before it taints the customer experience in the making.
They must evolve with the times, and make amends in their service delivery strategies and suit the current call.
If you notice, successful companies consider the importance of their customer journeys and do not just rely with one individual campaign in their quest to give an unforgettable customer experience. They know that a singular view is not enough to see how their customers interact with their brand or brands, hence, they employ several campaigns in order to have the famous 360 degree customer view.
This helps them to have an intimate knowledge of their customers.
Organisations that fail to notice all their customers interactions also fail to deliver the right message at the correct time thus, losing on loyalty and high sales volume. It is therefore vital for these organisations to connect their marketing systems with customer-service insights.
Even though customers are victims of noise caused by marketing efforts on different channels, the targeted customers usually care less about all that. Their previous experience, influencers experience and referrals give them a voice to speak on how they really feel about brands. In most cases their voices are felt in the actions, and it gives them the power to set their own pace and dictate when, where and how they engage with certain brands.
Customers must therefore be at the heart of every brand experience, thus, managing their ‘customer’ experience is another way to create a loyal, trusted and long-term relationship with a brand.
It is more than just a transactional journey with customers, but a deep bond with brands.
The management of customer experience, also helps organisations not just in giving their customers a positive voice on their brands, but it also helps them to have a strong grip and control of their customer lifecycle.
Some companies may argue that they use customer relationship management systems to get data on their customers. But, that information seems not to be adequate when it comes to customer re-engagement. This is because the system only checks at past purchase behavior, whereas customer experience management incorporates context and timing. Sometimes customers’ buying behaviour is dependent on some internal factors such as their moods and affordability. For instance, some customers may be more receptive to engage with brands because they will be in a better mood at that particular moment.
Customer experience management help organisations to pick various customer signals at different touch points of the customer journey. Signals that can be picked through customer experience in their journey include: How much has the customer spent recently, compared to what they spent in the past? Are there any repeated enquiries on a certain challenge? Did the customer ask for customer support or they already know how to serve themselves? What have they put in their shopping basket and paid for today?
Information about customers must also not be kept in silos. In fact, the full picture of the customer must be available to all staff members that interact with customers directly and indirectly. This helps brands not to only be reactive, but be able to listen to their customers and pick the signals in real time.
*Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba is a marketing enthusiast with a strong passion for customer service. For comments, suggestions and training, she can be reached on [email protected] or on 0712 979 461