If Ignored, These Three Elements Could Destroy Value for Your Customers

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Silo efforts without an understanding of the customer’s perspective will result in confusion. Companies understand the need to improve the management of their customer experience. Unfortunately, 81% of these efforts have failed in the last three years [1]. Customers haven’t experienced significant benefits from these efforts; in fact, customer satisfaction is no higher than it was in 1970 [2]. Companies’ efforts to gain a better understanding of customer needs and wants continue to be segmented. In most cases, insights drawn from data do not inform the business.

Gaps in customer experience are present in every sector of the service industry. From new to mature companies, most companies are still struggling to integrate all their service delivery from end to end. Some organizations have been successful at working with customers to create something of value, and they have been able to outperform the competition, not only to deliver a great experience to their customers, but also to increase revenue and profit margins [3]

 

Third-Party Vendors and Data Integration

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Recently, my husband bought me a new pair of slippers from a company named Happy Feet. A couple days after the purchase, he received a survey asking for his feedback. Unfortunately, we did not receive the slippers or updates on the estimated delivery date. Days later, my husband sent an email requesting information about our order, and the answer we received was not acceptable. The company blamed the USPS for the delay, as you can see below:

From: Happy Feet Customer Service
Date: December 17, 2017 at 8:05:06 PM MST
Can’t do anything about USPS delaying a package I wish we could.  Sorry for the issue
Thanks!
Happy Feet Customer Service

What went wrong with this customer experience? The problem was twofold. First, third-party vendors are part of a company’s service delivery. From a customer’s perspective, the customer paid Happy Feet for a service, not USPS for the slippers. Companies need to take ownership of a critical phase of the customer’s journey, the process that will allow your customers to experience your service maybe for the first time.

Second, segmented data collection efforts cannot inform your organization, and they create more challenges than solutions for companies and their customers. Data integration capable of providing companies with actionable insights will facilitate the identification of pain points to deliver extraordinary customer experiences and enable predictive capabilities to anticipate future customer behavior.

Customers evaluate every single interaction. If your company will ask customers to invest their time and provide feedback, you should at least make sure your customer has experienced your service. The integration of data across the entire enterprise, including data from third-party vendors, is necessary to deliver something of value to the customer. More than 90% of your customers who are dissatisfied with your services will not reach out and tell you about it [4] [5]. So, if you receive a request from your customer, embrace it, and try to learn from what he or she is telling you. Remember that more than 50% of customers will talk about their experience with someone else. 

 

Constant and Relevant Communication

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Customers don’t like uncertainty or surprises, and a lack of communication is one of the primary drivers of ambiguity. At the beginning of the month, I wanted to obtain the new edition of the PMBOOK 6th edition Project Management book published by the Project Management Institute. I placed the order online from their website. Two weeks later, I still had not received the book, so I checked the confirmation email. No information was provided about delays in the order or if it was on back order.  It was not until I asked to cancel my order that I received information about the status of my order, including tracking information. The response I received was not exactly what I expected, primarily because it was coming from an organization dedicated to successfully managing projects, for which communication and deadlines are critical. The email stated that I could not cancel the order because the book was on its way. No additional options were provided, as you can see below:

Hello,
This order has already shipped so it is too late to cancel. The tracking number is 1ZX3… scheduled for delivery on 2/19/18.
Best regards,
PMI Book Service Center

This email felt almost like an ultimatum; it didn’t give additional options to me as the customer. At this point, I was frustrated about the lack of information received. I was already concerned about my order, and now I couldn’t cancel an order that didn’t arrive on time. Providing customers with accurate information to help with their decision making it is not an option; it is a necessity to maintain the customer’s trust in your company.

 

Integrating Human Senses into Your Customer Experience Delivery

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Understanding what customers feel when they see, taste, smell, hear, and touch your service appears to have been forgotten by some companies. For example, recently I purchased one of my favorite fragrances online. When I opened the box, I was surprised at the company’s lack of attention to packaging. In the service industry, service is generated and consumed simultaneously [6]. Therefore, all the elements supporting the delivery of the service play a crucial role in the customer’s journey. The item’s presentation cannot be ignored. Nordstrom is considered a high-end retailer, but their packaging certainly did not represent this image. If customers take the time to place an order from your company, why not thank them and avoid turning the experience into a painful one? 

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On the other hand, there are companies that understand the importance of every detail of their service delivery.  The Perfect Bar [7], one of the best protein bars I have tried, has not only provided relevant information throughout the customer’s journey, but they also took pride in how their service was presented to the customer. All the details regarding packaging were well taken care of.

Companies need to understand how their customers perceive their services from end to end. The integration of third-party vendors, appropriate data integration, keeping customers informed throughout their journey, and understanding how customers experience your service through their five senses will provide companies with a better position to deliver an improved customer experience.

Make an effort to experience your service from the customer’s perspective!

 

References

1.         One Transactions at a Time: Businesses Fail to Deliver on CEM Programs. 2014; Available from: https://http://www.avaya.com/en/about-avaya/newsroom/news-releases/2014/pr-140429/.

2.         Reports, C. The problem with Customer Service. 2015; Available from: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/07/the-problem-with-customer-service/index.htm.

3.         Libert, B., Y. Wind, and M. Beck, What Apple, Lending Club, and AirBnB Know About Collaborating with Customers. Harvard Business Review Digital Articles, 2015: p. 2-7.

4.         Afshar, V. 50 Important Customer Experience Stats for Business Leaders. 2016; Available from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vala-afshar/50-important-customer-exp_b_8295772.html.

5.         Marketing. A Penny for your Thoughts: When Customers Don't Complain. Research and Ideas 2006; Available from: https://research.wpcarey.asu.edu/a-penny-for-your-thoughts-when-customers-dont-complain/.

6.         Lusch, R. and S. Nambisan, Service Innovation: A Service-Dominant Logic Perspective. MIS Quarterly, 2015. 39(1): p. 155-176.

7.         Perfect Bar. Available from: https://perfectbar.com.

 

 

Five Elements Needed to Achieve Exceptional Customer Experience

Five Elements Needed to Achieve Exceptional Customer Experience

Customer experience has become a top priority for businesses in the past decade. Unfortunately, there is a significant gap in understanding what it is, how to measure it, and why it is important for companies to pay attention to it. As technology continues to advance, new platforms will continue to transform the way customers experience a service and engage with companies. As customers continue to search for solutions to their needs, companies who create barriers and pain points for them are going to become vulnerable to their competition. Competitors may not be present yet, but they will eventually arrive.