Why customer experience is more important than ever

One of the saddest things we’ve seen recently is a number of companies advertising for the role of ‘Customer Experience Manager’. In our book, if you need someone to tell your entire business how to do it properly, you’ve already blown it.

‘Customer experience’, or just good old customer service as we traditionalists like to call it, isn’t a job role. It’s a way of life, a business ethos – and it’s something which every person within a company should have at the front of their mind in everything they do.

Surely that’s what you’d like to see when you’re the customer, not the supplier?

A good customer experience doesn’t just come about based on how you interact on a day to day basis though. It starts much earlier than that, when you’re deciding how to structure your business and how you’re going to offer your services. So it’s probably more fundamental to an organisation than you might imagine.

Well, we think so anyway. And we thought you might like us to share that with you now . . .

 

Why listen to us?

Like all good agencies, we ask our clients for feedback on how we’ve done, and for testimonials to add to our website. And more often than not, those positive responses are not so much about what we did, but about how we did it. And how we made them feel.

When a customer tells you that your actions ‘made their day easier’ or ‘let them sleep better at night’ you know you’re doing something right. But how do you actually make that happen?

You do it by putting yourself in their shoes at every step of the way, and by delivering the type of experience that you would want to receive from your own suppliers.

 

It really is that simple

At Shine we have exactly the same ethos. The business was set up with a primary focus on the ‘how’ and not the ‘what’, and in 16 years that hasn’t changed.

At a fundamental level, everyone’s offering more or less the same service – but for us it’s all about how we can offer a unique customer experience, that makes our client’s lives easier. Which is more important than ever in a world where online reviews are so accessible and you really do have nowhere to hide if you get it wrong.

So what can you do to make sure that your customers come away from any interaction with your business and say ‘Wow, that was an amazing experience!’?

Here’s a few thoughts from us on what we think makes for a great customer experience – some of which might sound obvious, but it’s probably no surprise that so many businesses still get it horribly wrong . . .

Communication – it needs to be fast, efficient and relevant right from day one. As soon as you engage with anyone who might possibly become a customer in the future, your responsiveness and your interest in their challenges has to be exemplary, so they feel like you are their number one priority. And so they should be.

Enthusiasm – many companies reach a point where they are sufficiently successful that they forget how excited they were to bring in their very first piece of work. Back then, they really were genuinely grateful to that client for choosing them. But now? We’ll it’s just another customer. That attitude will eventually kill your business.

Efficiency – if you say you’ll do something, do it! Send information when you say you will. Reply to emails quickly, and with the right answer first time. Go a step further and add extra useful detail that you know might help, based on putting yourself in their shoes. Do the maximum, not the bare minimum.

Consistency – from your very first interaction with a new client, you need to create, and then maintain, that momentum. Never start to take them for granted or treat them as part of the furniture. Make sure you stay as enthusiastic about them as you were on day one. Remember all those stats about the cost of acquisition vs retention?

Innovation – very much a buzz-word, especially in the technology industry, but relevant for any business. Always be thinking about new ideas that can make your customer’s lives even better, and even easier.

Awareness – always know your place in the world, and how you fit into your customer’s universe. Do they value you as much as you value them? If not, why not? You need to become indispensable, and to develop a two way relationship that will hopefully last for years. That way, everyone wins.

When it comes down to it, that one word sums things up perfectly. Relationship. How do you relate to your customers? How much do you care about them, and about doing a great job for them? Delivering a fantastic customer experience has never been more important than it is today. Not just because of the possibility of a bad review – but because it is, and always has been, the right thing to do.

 

Ever had a truly bad – or brilliant – customer service experience? We want to hear all about it. Get in touch with us on Twitter and share your thoughts now!