Let’s not bury our heads in the sand. All businesses are subject to competition. Even in the unlikely event that nobody else does what you do, your customers’ time and money are finite. Will they come back for more of what you offer? Will they recommend you to their friends?
The value of referrals and repeat business should never be overlooked. It costs you much more to attract and convert new customers than it costs to get a returning customer. And, while a happy customer might just tell friends and family about your business, an unhappy customer is almost sure to air his or her grievances to the world at large.
Differentiating your brand from the competition, gaining loyalty, and getting accolades from your customers, requires much more than just an acceptable customer experience. Nothing but an exceptional one will do.
Although the term “customer experience” might seem self-explanatory, it’s worth taking a closer look at what customer experience is, how it can be improved, and how you can leverage it to differentiate your brand from its many competitors. That’s just what we’re going to do in this article.
So, What is Customer Experience?
Customer experience covers every single interaction your customers have with your business from the moment they notice it and walk through the door, enter your website, or visit your online store. What do they see? How easy is it for them to do business with you? How easily are transactions finalised? What after-sales service is available to them?
Quite apart from the transactional basics, it’s important to consider how your customers feel. A reasonable amount of efficiency ensures an OK customer experience. But “OK” isn’t memorable. You’re looking for “great.”
It may seem that brick-and-mortar businesses have the advantage here. After all, there’s the personal touch: the greetings from helpful sales staff, the smile at the checkout, and the attentive store manager. But even online businesses can turn customer experience to their advantage or suffer the consequences of failing to provide a feel-good scenario.
In truth, it’s a simple concept to understand, but a harder one to implement. No matter how many customers your business has, each of them wants to feel valued, recognised as an individual, and treated like a VIP.
How to Improve Customer Experience
If you’re looking to improve customer experience, all it takes is the ability to walk a metaphorical mile in their moccasins. Take a long, hard look at what it’s like doing business with your company. Remember that every detail counts – and don’t forget that feeling individually valued makes the difference.
That means recognising every person as if he or she were your only customer, even though you might have hundreds, or even thousands of customers interacting with your business every day. Sounds like a tough call? It can be! For example, your customer-facing personnel need to connect with a great many people on a one-to-one basis, and they have to do so in such a way that every single one of their contacts feels nurtured, understood, and valued.
Long waits are out. One size certainly won’t fit all. And every single aspect of dealing with your firm should feel like a pleasure.
Beautiful presentation creates a good first impression, but doesn’t make a customer experience that feeling of being individually recognised and valued. CRM (customer relations management) software can be a help, but a tool is only as good as the person who uses it.
If you’re trying to do everything in-house, it may be time to look for help, because, let’s face it: you and your staff are busy. Listening patiently to Mrs Jones or Mr Smith and responding in a way that makes them feel valued, isn’t an easy matter when contacts can and do occur at any time and there is other work to be done.
Here’s the good news. You can do it without making fundamental changes to the way you do business.
How to Use Customer Experience to Differentiate your Brand
If you’re doing what everyone else does, you aren’t differentiating your brand. You’re just keeping up with the Joneses. You need to do more. For your customers, differentiating the goods and services you offer from your competitors’ may be difficult. But it’s important to remember that customer experience has a great deal to do with how your customers feel.
Meeting expectations doesn’t differentiate you. Exceeding them, and making your customers feel valued, does. And the easiest place to get the edge is in your choice of the people your clients will deal with when they have enquiries, complaints, or comments to make.
Scripted responses, delivered without feeling, may represent your internal policy, but they don’t make your clients feel important. You need empathy, expression and communications that accurately reflect the procedures your business follows while making the client feel that someone actually cares about what he or she has to say. Once you can’t improve your virtual or physical storefront and layout; once your products or services match or exceed those of your competitors; if practicalities like billing and delivery can’t be improved, the quality of your customer service and support agents could be the area where you differentiate your brand from its competitors.
The Importance of Customer Experience: Walking the Talk
To recap: great customer experiences retain clients and generate referrals. There are businesses who never advertise, yet still get new leads every day through existing customers.
Your advertising message will be taken with a pinch of salt, but a referral from a friend is seen as a far more credible thumbs up. You can say that you’re the best until you’re blue in the face, but if my friend tells me your company is awesome, I’m far more likely to believe her since she has no vested interest in your bottom line. Everyone says their company is best, but if my friend says you are, I might believe her. That’s powerful stuff and it isn’t going to happen without an exceptional customer experience.
Getting the Right People on the Frontline
Who answers your phone? Who responds to your customers’ mails and messages on social media? Is he or she a communications expert? Is every nuance attended to? Is there empathy and connection? Finding the right people to deal with your customers may not be easy. Or, it can be as easy as calling RSVP.
You know your business. At RSVP, we know ours. Our business is representing your business as if we were you. And we’ll strive to do it better than you ever could. After all, your contact centre isn’t your core business, and there’s just so much time and energy you can expend on it. For us, your contact centre is everything.
Think about it. Imagine a multilingual call centre with agents that communicate excellence across all possible communications channels. Imagine that each of these agents has the interpersonal expertise and the software to make every client feel as important as if they were your only client.
Can you differentiate your brand when customer contacts are peripheral to your primary operations? Or should you outsource this task to a company that not only sees it as their core business, but sees your business’s customer experience as the key to mutual success?
There’s more to this than just treating your customers nicely. Identifying gaps in your customer experience offering is part of what we do. We listen to your customers on your behalf, and we’ll tell you if we uncover recurring issues you might want to address internally. We’ll match what your contact agents already do, but that’s just a starting point. Customer experience excellence is our goal – and since it matches yours, RSVP is the perfect partner for you.
Find out how we can help you to differentiate your brand through customer experience today. We’re ready for your call.