We all pride ourselves on providing exceptional customer/client service, that is, giving a level of service to a customer after a transaction has taken place. But a new term has been entering the corporate lexicon and it’s a good one. Be forewarned, however. It isn’t a buzzword. It’s a differentiator!
Customer experience is disrupting the way companies do business. Forbes defines customer experience, or CX, as the “cumulative impact of multiple touchpoints” over the course of a customer’s interaction with your brand.
Why are companies putting such an emphasis on CX? A primary reason is because with the internet and social media consuming so much of our lives, it’s easy to spread the word. And customers are doing exactly that. So it’s not surprising to learn that a positive experience with your brand is more influential than a stellar advertising campaign. In fact, according to PR firm Weber Shandwick, 83% of consumers trust online reviews about a company, compared to only 56% who trust a company’s ads.
In the professional services arena, we make an effort to be more collaborative with clients reaching out, solving problems, and engaging where we can. Yet according to a study done by PwC, only 38 percent of U.S. consumers say the employees they interact with understand their needs. 38 percent! In a world with such a dependence on technology, the PwC data shows 75% of consumers say they WANT MORE human interaction. Sixty four percent of consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of CX. What’s even more incredulous is that 16% say they would PAY MORE for better customer experience.
A McKinsey & Company report confirms that CX builds customer loyalty, makes employees happier, reduces costs by 15-25%, and produces revenue gains of 5-10%. Companies that create exceptional customer experiences more easily set themselves apart from their competitors.
So what’s a firm to do?
- Recognize that an experience is an investment not an expense.
- Discover what the experience looks like and find ways to enhance it. Use people and technology to frequently connect and enhance each touchpoint the client has with your brand.
- Create a culture of providing an exceptional experience. Empower employees to make decisions and own their client relationships.
- Recognize staff who go above and beyond to demonstrate to clients and colleagues what your brand represents.
- Monitor what is being heard and said on social media. And, by all means, participate!
Most of all, stop telling people what makes you different and start showing them.