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great customer experience

Today’s customers have unprecedented access to information. This empowers customers to make choices and shift loyalties rapidly. Business leaders are responding by intensifying their focus on delivering superior customer experiences.

However, many brands are still in catch-up mode. Customers often encounter frustrating situations—such as being routed from agent to agent when they contact a call center. Many companies do not achieve the goal of first call resolution (FCR). However, 54 percent of U.S. call centers now track this metric, according to studies from Saddletree Research.

The takeaway: the desire for improved experiences—by customers and brand leaders alike—is not a universal reality.

As brands make strides to improve customer engagement, they need to know qualities of a great customer experience. They also need to know how to measure the customer experiences their front-line team delivers. With the right analytic approach, brands can cultivate a continuous improvement culture, which adapts to shifting customer trends.

What Makes a Great Customer Experience

Consumer research from several sources has revealed a very distinct trend. Today’s customers want low-effort experiences.

  • A survey of 97,000 customer revealed that exceeding customer expectations is not always enough to retain customers. Instead, customers are more likely to remain loyal to brands that require minimal effort when engaging with them. Yet many brands are not delivering the low-effort, multichannel experiences customers desire. (Corporate Executive Board).
  • A U.S. study of 27,000 customers across 14 industries validated that high-quality, low-effort experiences deliver positive business results. Positive experiences correlated to increases in revenue growth and customer satisfaction. (McKinsey)
  • A consumer study showed that brands who make purchase decision journeys easier for customers were 86 percent more likely to motivate consumers to buy. Moreover, these brands earned higher repurchase rates and were more than 115 percent more likely to be recommended by consumers than brands with more complex purchase journeys. (Customer Experience Board)

Top performers make sure they are accessible on the channels customers prefer. Often, consumers use multiple channels in their buying journey—from research, through down select, and purchase.

Companies need to eliminate information silos so that every front-line representative—from the contact center to a branch location—has up-to-date detail on customer interactions. Streamlining systems can also eliminate the common problem of asking customers to repeat or reenter information multiple times—a major source of customer irritation.

How to Know if You are Delivering Quality Customer Experiences

The best way to know if you are making your customers happy is to ask them. You need to adopt a real-time survey approach to capture customer feedback when it matters most—immediately after a customer interacts with your brand. This practice gives you fresh, honest insight on how your team is performing.

Here are few things to consider when upgrading your survey program:

Multichannel delivery

You can administer your survey program across multiple channels for the widest possible customer reach. By offering a mix of contact by phone, text, email, and web, you can also demonstrate to your accessibility to your customers.

Survey Design

Today, customers may encounter multiple surveys per week—as many websites ask for feedback from every visitor. That means you are likely to get more responses to a shorter survey.

If you use closed-ended questions—such as multiple choice—you must take care not to influences the questions with your response set. Also, if you offer more positive options than negative, you may force customers to respond positively—even if the response doesn’t match their true feelings. You must also include a neutral or not applicable choice with most questions.

Open-ended feedback:

Many companies today have recognized the limitations of closed-ended surveys. They are migrating to open-ended formats, including collection of customer verbatims. The benefit: open-ended questions provide a more accurate gauge of customer sentiment.

Companies can gain even deeper insights by employing human sentiment analysis. With this approach, you can evaluate these subtle communications nuances that reveal customers’ true feelings and perceptions.

You also need capabilities for on-the-spot analysis of customer feedback. Gone are the days when reviewing survey data at periodic intervals is enough to feel confident that your organization is delivering quality customer experiences.

Delivering Next-Generation Customer Experiences–Today

Today’s brands are realizing that customer experience is not a wish list item for the future. It is a here-and-now imperative that requires focus and investment. Streamlining operations to provide the simplicity is key, along with capturing ongoing customer feedback to benchmark improvements.

Optimizing customer experiences is fast becoming a clear differentiator in an intensely competitive landscape. This is making advanced survey collection technology a business necessity for 2015 and beyond.

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Engage with Us

We always welcome reader comments and insights. Please share your thoughts on these questions, or add your own ideas:

  • Do you agree that low-effort experiences are a key driver of customer satisfaction?
  • Has your organization taken steps to allow customers to engage with you across multiple channels?
  • Are you one of the many organizations focused on upgrading survey approaches in 2015?

We look forward to your input.