Customer-facing employees have heard their fair share of conversations about customer service and customer experience. What does either term really mean, and how do they influence each other?
Customer experience is the term used to describe a consumer’s holistic experience from beginning to end. This term covers the customer’s initial awareness of a company’s services or products, their interaction with the company, purchase, use of the product or service, and then finally, advocacy or dissatisfaction. The interaction step in the customer experience model embodies customer service and can include helping a customer find a product to the customer contacting the after-hours call center for assistance.
The Customer Experience Beginning-to-End Journey
Customer service is defined as the advice and help given by a company to customers who purchase its products or services. Customer service is instituted by executives of the company and handed down to the customer-facing employees to be implemented. A customer’s interaction with the company initiates a customer service strategy that can be in-person, on the phone, or online. The type of customer service that you need is dictated by your type of business or industry. It needs to be tailored to the customer and what you provide.
A good customer experience is harder to influence than customer service. Companies can greatly impact their customer’s experience by keeping these 3 rules in mind:
1. Foster Customer Experience at all Levels
If you run or manage a company that is still trying to come to terms with its company culture and philosophy, it will be harder to communicate that significant improvement relies upon the efforts of the company as a whole. Businesses can get off track or slowly lose sight of why they are in the business to begin with – the customers. To get back on track, upper-management needs to reintroduce the focus on customers. New products, procedures, and services should revolve around how it will improve the lives of your customers. Once customers become the true focus, then everyone from sales, marketing, and upper-management can see how they individually impact the customer experience.
2. Build Relationships
Building relationships can be pretty easy for small companies. It’s when you get to medium and larger businesses where building relationships becomes harder to implement, especially if your company is concentrated in a specific geographical area while your customer base is in another.
Build relationships with complimentary brands – Customers want to know if your product or service contributes or connects to other parts of their lives. One partnership that connects well with customers is Johnson and Johnson and the World Wildlife Fund, which creates environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Johnson and Johnson understood that its customer base cares about the environment and made that knowledge an active part of its strategy.
Build relationships with customers – If your company is headquartered in New York, but your customer base lives in California, consider Customer Relationship Management systems. A CRM system allows companies to foster relationships regardless of a customer’s physical location. This can include weekly e-newsletters, webinars, conference calls, and vendor meetings.
Business can’t cultivate relationships and trust with their customers through a computer screen – it can just barely be done through the phone. Your management team can only understand your customers if your business immerses itself in their lives and interests.
3. Invest in Innovation
Invest in breaking boundaries, questioning tradition, and promoting innovation throughout the company. Businesses like Apple, Tesla Motors, and Netflix are changing the direction of the conversations in their fields. Innovation is what sets companies apart and is also good insurance for your long-term growth strategies.
Can your company use customer service and customer experience to improve overall customer satisfaction? Learn how you can get direct feedback from your customers with our customer surveys. NBRI will work with your company to discover what your customers are really thinking so you build better relationships. Contact us today.