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When you say it out loud, it sounds a little ridiculous to have to state why customer experience matters! But believe me, you do. That is because too many businesses focus more on reducing the cost to serve than they do on delivering the right experience. To me, this is completely counter intuitive. After all, you should be focusing on maximising customer lifetime value, not making decisions that lead to customer churn.
Why would anyone make decisions to cut corners or cut costs when they know it will reduce the ability for the customer to engage with their business on their terms? The proliferation of choice driven by the internet means that poor service and inconvenience very rarely lead to consumers giving a brand a second chance when there are literally thousands of alternative products and places to buy at the click of a mouse.
Anyone who has had an issue that’s led to them contacting customer service will know that in most cases, the customer service team is not empowered to resolve your issue and all too often it feels as though they’re just trying to make the problem (you) go away.
Why would any business be happy with this outcome? Most of these customers will never come back. Not only that, but they will also often go on social media and amplify their dissatisfaction.
Customer experience must be thought of in an end-to-end context. Where are the barriers and points of friction across the customers journey that can be removed for them to have the experience they seek? Think of your business as a customer service business rather than a retailer, restaurant, car dealership etc. What would you do differently when it comes to the level of service and customer experience you provide? I’m sure it would look and feel very different to how it does today.
The goal for any business, no matter what you sell, should be to do all you can to turn customers into fans. The former is merely a transactional relationship. The latter is an emotive one. You can only achieve that level of empathy and connection with customers by delivering on your promises. By empowering customers to have the joined up omnichannel experience they seek as opposed to the one you foist upon them that is dictated by legacy technology and a cost to serve mindset.
You need to act like a service provider and continually think about how you can improve the experience for customers and make their life easier. Convenience almost always trumps all when it comes to consumer decision making.
We’re living in challenging times. And as the cost of living continues to rise and consumer disposable income continues to fall, it has never been more important for a retailer or any consumer-facing business to personalise the experience for customers. To communicate with empathy and understanding but also to look to add value to customers when they need it most.
Customer experience is the be all and end all. Get that right and continue to work on it and you’ll be repaid many times over by customers as their frequency and propensity to buy from you increases dramatically. As does their advocacy because, at this point, they don’t think of themselves any more as customers, they have become fans of your brand.