The Customer Experience Is Everyone’s Business
Smart brands know that everyone owns the customer experience. Columnist Katy Keim discusses the steps to becoming a truly customer-focused brand.
The experience people have with brands today doesn’t have a traditional start and end point. Quite the contrary: The experience a brand creates for its customers is really all about evergreen engagement across all screens, senses, and, in many ways, sensibilities.
Customers now have multiple points of entry (aka engagement) with brands, especially within this oversaturated, media-driven environment we all live in, and it’s made me wonder who truly “owns” the customer experience.
Simple answer: everyone (even your very own customers)!
Customers can, at any given point of time or even all at once, engage with your brick-and-mortar storefronts, your digital storefronts, your social channels, your on-domain communities, your customer service team, and so on. And those are just your owned and operated properties.
Add to that the myriad third-party touch points that your customers regularly tap to engage with your brand indirectly, and that “customer experience” net you cast becomes even wider.
So while I once may have thought that “customer experience” was meant to live within the hallowed walls of a marketing organization, I would argue now that the experience customers have with your brand is the responsibility of everyone — from your senior leadership teams all the way through the organization.
Your customer is the absolute priority. So why not have everyone involved in making any experience with your brand the best it can possibly be? (You should be nodding your heads in agreement by now.)
Here are a few ways you can bring the customer’s voice back into your brand:
Learn To Love Social Media Analysis And Reporting
Data and insights are all we hear about today — and that’s because there are now so many incredible ways to extract useful customer insights via social and digital media. It’s all at your fingertips. So use it.
The knowledge you can extract by analyzing your social media channels will allow you to better understand what your loyal customers care about just as much as what your disgruntled consumers would like to see improved.
This gives you not only an opportunity to listen to your customers, but also a way to take action on the insights that will inevitably lead to creating a better brand experience for them.
Improve The Customer Service Experience By Empowering Community Experts
Your on-domain community is full of experts — the most loyal of customers who are always ready and willing to do whatever it takes to make your brand succeed.
These customers are an invaluable resource to you. Empower them to create a better (customer service) experience for your entire community by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, training and incentives to allow them to thrive as your “unofficial” brand ambassadors. The benefit to your brand will multiply tenfold as a result.
Get Real-Time Results With Mobile
Everyone has a smartphone tethered to their pocket, purse, and even nightstand these days. And the beauty of advancements in mobile technology is that they give anyone within your company — from the expert marketers in your organization to the retail salespeople manning the front lines — the ability to swarm around issues (the good as well as the bad) in real time.
Not only does this access to mobile community management technologies help your brand more quickly address and adapt to customer wants and needs, it also makes it possible for you to create a better relationship with your customers.
Remember, your customers are on their mobile devices pretty much all the time, making it a common entry point for engaging with your brand. No reason why you shouldn’t be following suit. Smart brands know: Go where your customers go!
Make Sure All Systems Speak To Each Other
We live in the era of extreme customer expectations. As a result of this, we have become much more inclined to want real-time knowledge about our customers, as well as their experience with our brand.
So it’s critical that your frontline social service, support and POS systems are in lockstep with your enterprise-wide CRM systems to ensure that information and insights can both travel faster and be accessible any time, anywhere across your organization.
By aligning your systems, you can make managing a single streamlined and consistent customer experience across multiple touch points exponentially easier (and you’ll have one less headache).