With so much emphasis placed on finding customers today, businesses often lose sight of keeping the one’s they do have. Thanks to social media and our digital culture, customers are in constant dialogue with us. It gives us an opportunity to change or transform our influence and experience. We have an opportunity to learn how they want to interact with brands. The vulnerability of course, is that word of mouth is amplified in our social-digital world – especially when they complain, and they do complain.
In my opinion, the main reason why companies lose customers is the feeling of indifference between a product and service. To counter this ambivalence, it’s key to make sure your customers feel and perceive that they’re wanted and appreciated. But to make customers love you, you’ll have to work even harder. My top two tips for improving customer experience:
1. You have to listen
Customer Experience and Customer Centricity are buzz words that have been around for ages now. The shift is in motion but now it’s time for action if you want to remain competitive. Smarter customer experience solutions leverage technology enabled analytics and will listen, interpret and act to solve customer problems.
a. Listening across channels in real-time (online, social, SMS etc). Businesses should listen across every interaction – as all customer engagement with your company is considered a valuable source of information.
b. When a high-value customer has a bad experience – or multiple bad experiences – the customer experience solution needs to identify what to do next (should the customer be contacted, if so through which channel, who within the company should contact the customer, what is the next best steps to take to keep this customer etc)
c. Acting on insights: Like the saying goes – not all customers are created equal, so too not all relationships are created equal either. You can’t assume engagement and loyalty with a customer by talking to them as part of a homogenous group of people with the same characteristics. Intelligent data decisions based upon individual preferences and behaviours ensure that you get to keep your customer, by providing stimulating conversations in a language and tone that are personal to your customers. This in turn builds trust.
2. Once you’ve listened, you are in a position to optimize the experience across channels
Businesses have to adopt a customer-centric culture and offer intelligent, effortless service across all channels so that each interaction happens with empathy and understanding (insights) in the right channel. All this can be achieved by companies being better technology innovators, instead of laggards and by being proactively data driven, instead of reactive observers of data.
Information is useful only if it provides insight that helps you strengthen relationship value. The more data you are able to collect through a customer’s lifetime, the more you’ll notice patterns forming in the data. Using our wealth of historic data, our models have achieved 93% confidence, allowing us to predict business outcomes based on the individual customer’s story. It’s really powerful stuff when done correctly. It relies heavily on accurate, clean data. We’re not “fortune tellers”, but we do have some super clever people on our team that love nothing more than crunching this data. My personal mantra – Data collected in service of relationships will pay dividends on investment.