Building Great Customer Experiences

The decision to develop and implement a customer experience strategy is a no brainer.

Name one organisation that wouldn’t like:

• A competitive advantage that is sustainable and difficult for competitors to copy.
• A culture that builds strong internal and customer loyalty, that leads to more word of mouth recommendations.
• A strategy that reduces marketing, recruitment and staff turnover costs.

The challenge is to develop and implement a strategy that will achieve all this quickly and cost effectively.

One of the major mistakes that organisations make is to try and address individual aspects of a total customer experience, rather than addressing all the areas of a business that impact on the quality of a consistently great customer experience.

Take the continued investment in customer service training, carried out in isolation. This is an outdated strategy producing very few long-term results, which quickly becomes a cost rather than an investment. Sure, customer service is a key component in any customer experience strategy, but it is not the only one.

We are now competing in an environment that has changed considerably. The internet is huge, we have more product choice than ever, and price competition is often fierce. In fact, there is often little that distinguishes one business from the next from a customer’s viewpoint.

Question: So how do you stand out from the crowd? Answer: Adopt a totally focused customer experience strategy as your company culture.

It is not surprising that in a recent survey carried out in both the U.S. and Europe, 95% of executives believed that the Customer Experience would be the next big competitive advantage.

Creating an innovative business culture where a business capitalises on all the creativity that exists within an organisation is the key to the on-going development of a great customer experience. Most businesses do not have a strategy in place to do this or don’t have the knowledge and skills to develop this type of culture.

In my experience running workshops to help organisations build a great customer experience, I have found that people often need to take a step back from their business and don the hat of a customer.

We take people out of their normal work environment and get them to create a customer experience for a totally unrelated business, but a business they are very familiar with as a customer. This approach provides people with the ability to look at the customer experience of an unrelated business and adopt and adapt ideas from that business for their own organisation.

Businesses have a choice and that choice has not changed: continue to pay lip service to the importance of your people and customers and suffer the consequences, or; adopt a total customer focused approach based on the quality of the experiences you consistently deliver.

Commitment to this sort of strategy will give you an advantage your competitors will find hard to copy.

Chris Bell is managing director of Customer Experiences; a company that specialises in helping businesses improve the way in which they interact with customers and clients. Click here to contact us.

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