Five Tenets of Improving the Customer Experience

I. The customer is our reason for being here.

A Small Business Trends article entitled “Sixty Eight Percent is Yours to Keep” explains that “sixty eight percent of clients who leave do so because they feel unappreciated, unimportant, or taken for granted.”  Replacing 68% of your client based is not an option, so the solution is to improve the customer experience. Smart businesses try to create an environment where customer appreciation is routinely communicated.

II. It takes months to find a customer; seconds to lose one.

It’s easy to understand why.  An article by the Contact Center Association states that “nine in ten (91%) consider the level of customer service important when deciding to do business with a company” and that “the call/contact center is the first and often the only encounter that a customer will have with a business or organization.”  Making every customer feel valued is the way to keep your 68%.

III. Personalize each customer contact.

An article in the B2C (Business 2 Community) site entitled “Igniting Passion for the Customer Experience” describes a process not unlike rehabilitation therapy that includes admitting how you have let your customer down in the past and requiring all departments to pledge to do better in the future.  The article emphasizes the need for all levels of the organization to change their behavior and mind sets, and provides a link to a video with some great ideas on how to accomplish this.

Personalizing each customer contact goes a step further, tailoring each interaction to meet the customer’s tastes and needs more effectively and efficiently.  Using technology to keep track of customer purchases and then identifying each customer that calls or visits your website is the key to providing individualized service.  Personalizing customer service builds customer loyalty while increasing your competitive advantage.

IV. Always do more than is expected when you handle a customer’s problem.

Part of personalizing your call center is trying to achieve that “aha!” moment with each customer that happens when you exceed their expectations by offering service that is new or different from your competitors; and your availability is a huge part of that.  Customers today may call on land lines or smart phones, fax, text, e-mail or chat via your website or through another site like Facebook, and your call center needs to be ready to respond instantly.

V. Never promise more than we can deliver.

Often the roadblocks to excellent customer service such as poor or limited technology and uninspiring leadership can seem insurmountable.  They are not.  Improvements are always possible as long as you establish a habit of learning from each interaction.  Analysis of reports from your website, e-mail, chat or interactive voice response system can help you better understand what it is your customer wants and needs, so you can tailor your customer service to deliver on all your promises. Setting a goal of continuous improvement based on customer feedback will allow any organization to improve their customer experience.