May 3, 2016

From Customer Service to Customer Experience

An emerging imperative for forward thinking businesses is to move beyond customer service to the customer experience. What is it and why is this occurring?

What is the customer experience? The customer experience is all about providing a positive, enjoyable, and yes, even joyful experience for customers and potential customers at every touchpoint with a company. Any one of your company’s several touchpoints can be the first experience for a potential new customer. Similarly, current customers often come into contact with a touchpoint they have not experienced previously and it either confirms or questions their loyalty.

What are a company’s touchpoints? Of course they vary somewhat depending upon the nature of a company’s business, but common touchpoints can include sales representatives, advertising,  a website, in-store experiences, the quality and value of a product or service, service after the sale, interactions with employees,  activities sponsored or supported in the community, recommendations from friends, etc.     

Why is it so important to focus on a comprehensive customer experience? On-line shopping and the ability to easily research products, services and ratings on the internet provide customers with more choices than ever before. Partially because of this, customers expect more appreciation and a better experience. Additionally, with the increased isolation many people are experiencing, a positive relationship with a business is valued. By 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

Research indicates that it is 6-7 times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to retain a current one. Ensuring that every touchpoint a customer or potential customer has with a company is critical, and yet many businesses are not currently investing in a customer experience that distinguishes them from their competitors.

What are the benefits from providing an outstanding customer experience? The obvious benefit is establishing a long-term relationship with loyal customers and increasing the prospects of attracting new ones. The ultimate benefit is outperforming customer’s expectations to the point where they become advocates for a business. It is well-known that the value of word of mouth recommendations from trusted friends and family members is priceless!

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