As competition grows and we become a global economy, companies are spending millions on attracting customers for the experience they provide. Over the next few years you will see organisations stop discounting to attract new clients, they will strive to gain a competitive advantage through the experience.
Many organisations have realised how important this is, however many have not caught on. In many cases, if a company has not started to implement strategies on enhancing the customers experience then they are behind the eight ball and consequences could be massive.
Have a look at the airline industry, CIO Group explains “Flights are often delayed by passengers who are checked in on time but late getting to the gate, most commonly when they’re distracted by restaurants or duty free shopping. Rather than relying on just airport intercoms, airlines could develop a two-way communications channel within their mobile applications that automatically sends a notification when it’s time to board, and allows passengers to relay their location if required. This can be supplement by the provision of resources (such as a map) to speed up the boarding process. Customers who are unable to make a flight due to unforeseen circumstances can also advise the airline using tap-to-call functionality, connecting them to an agent who deals with flight re-bookings. This would not only improve the customer experience, it also improves operational efficiency”.
When understanding about the customer experience there are 4 key areas to manage:
- Pre Purchase
Social media and the internet have given your customers a chance to see what your company is like before they have even purchased any products or services. Facebook, Instagram and your website allow your potential customers to make their mind up based on their perception of what you post and the way your website is displayed. They will look at your reviews and the way that you manage your clients. Never before has a customer had so much knowledge about your company and they have not even made a phone call to talk to a staff member.
- Initial Contact
What is the experience like when a customer contacts your organization for the first time? Do they phone in? Do they email in? Who responds to the customer and what is the quality of the information they receive? Does the message get to the right person in time and how quickly is the response? All these questions are part of your customer’s experience.
If we put ourselves into the customers shoes, how many times have we contacted an organization and our initial contact was terrible? What did you do? Who did you tell? Did you purchase anything from that particular company or did you go to their competition?
As part of giving your customers the perfect experience every business needs to have procedures in place to make the client feel excited about doing business with you. Steps need to be put in place and then they need to be reviewed so that you can continually track the performance.
- Purchase Time
So your customer checked your social media, your website and your initial contact met their expectations, now they are happy to purchase from your organisation. The customer experience now is more important than ever. How do you present your product or service to your client? What is the delivery time? Did they get sold on promises that can’t be met?
Remember the last time you went to a restaurant and they were renown for great food, however when you received your meal you were disappointed. What happened to your experience? What about when you purchased an item online and when you received it the product did not look like the images?
In business having quality is critical, however having consistency is just as important. Your client needs to have an experience that is consistent with your branding. Understand that everyone in your business needs education and training to make this step seamless.
- Post Purchase
Just because your customer has spent their money with your business does not mean the customer experience model stops here. Repeat business, referral business and reputation is won with your after sale care. Every organization will receive complaints, how do you handle them? How fast do you respond to them?
We have all complained at one time or another about a product or service and the response from that organisation will determine if we will remain a client or move to a competitor. What is your post purchase customer experience like? Do you have processes in place? Are your staff educated enough and do you monitor this part of the life cycle?
The customer experience will become far more important than product and price in the near future. As an organization, substantial training and education needs to go into this model for the sustainability of any business. For every business if they are not acting now on this then they will be left behind and facing an uphill battle. Wes York, CEO of Sales Coaching International says “ So many businesses understand how important the customer experience is and are working towards enhancing the customers journey, however many companies are not investing in the education of their staff so they are equipped with adequate knowledge to make the model work seamlessly. Without your staff being educated in sales, conflict resolution, and the customer experience your business will never reach the heights it should.”
For more information, contact Wes York at www.salescoachinginternational.com.