10 Tips for Creating a Positive Customer Service Experience
Every interaction a customer has with a company creates a larger customer service experience. A positive experience helps build brand recognition, client retention, and increased sales. Understanding how to create a customer experience strategy can help you better serve your customers and support your colleagues or team. In this article, we discuss the definition of the customer service experience, identify the difference between customer service and customer experience, and highlight 10 tips for creating a positive customer experience within an organization.
What is the customer service experience?
The customer service experience is the collection of services an organization provides to its clients to create a consistently positive interaction. It's the collection of interactions with a customer before, during, and after a sale of products or services. Everyone with an organization has a part to play in the customer experience. This ranges from one-on-one communication during a support call to the more extensive interaction of public relations and media presence. The customer experience is a critical component of a successful business and affects customer retention.
The difference between customer service and customer experience
There is a definite distinction between the terms customer service and customer experience. Customer service is the interaction with a customer at a specific touch point within the company. For example, the interaction between a cashier and a retail shopper creates an environment of customer service at that moment. The exchange can be good, bad, exceptional, or adequate, depending on how the cashier relates to the customer. The success or failure of that interaction also depends on the customer's perception of the service they receive. Customer service is simply one element of the customer's journey with an organization.
Customer experience focuses on the entire journey a customer has with an organization. The concept focuses on the customer instead of the company and puts the customer at the forefront. A customer experience-centred company makes the customer's journey their number one priority in all decisions, training, policies, and procedures. Customer service is one aspect within the more extensive customer experience. Creating a supportive and inclusive customer experience enhances a brand's reputation and provides an opportunity for consistent growth.
10 tips for creating a positive customer experience
Here are 10 tips for developing strategies to create a positive customer experience:
1. Design the ideal customer experience
The first step in developing a customer experience strategy is to identify and design the ideal customer journey. You can do this by identifying the organization's core values and sharing them with all levels of employees. Having a clear company mission statement, vision statement, and specific core values lets all company staff know what's important to focus on regarding their interactions with customers. In addition, creating a set of statements that act as guidelines for the organization allows employees to feel empowered to care for their customers.
Designing the ideal customer experience also includes identifying all the areas of customer contact within the organization. Any point of contact is part of the customer experience and requires careful consideration of how best to interact and support the customer. Such moments of connection can include phone and email support, live chat functions, in-person interactions, and online self-help knowledge bases. Even social media presence and marketing materials affect the experience a customer has with your company. Planning every aspect of your business with the customer as the centre can provide a positive interaction.
2. Know your customer
A powerful strategy to creating a positive experience is to understand your customers intimately. When you know the wants and needs of your customers, along with their biggest struggles and pain points, you can custom tailor an experience for them. One way to do this is to segment your customers and create a customer profile. In the world of marketing, they call this a customer avatar or persona. Identify your organization's ideal customer groups and give each one a persona.
Focus on their struggles that you can help them solve. For example, look at how they prefer to interact with your company, their technological preferences, and their favourite mode of communication. By clearly defining your customer's likes and dislikes, you can craft the ideal experience for them. This creates an emotional connection to your organization, and customers feel as if you know exactly what they want and need.
3. Create an emotional connection with your customer
Emotion is one of the strongest reasons people buy and is integral in forming our buying decisions. When you can create an emotional connection with your customer, you unconsciously influence their choice to purchase from you. You create brand loyalty and retention by building emotional bonds with people. You can do this through empathy and understanding your customer's needs and wants. Storytelling and effective marketing are also powerful tools to build an emotional connection.
4. Provide value to your customers
Forming a positive experience also requires that you provide value to your customers. This means providing the product or service your customer needs or wants at the right price, being fair market value. Providing value goes further than just the price of your offering, though. It also means making the sales process efficient and straightforward to navigate, whether the buying process happens in person or online. You can provide value to your customers by simplifying their decision-making process by having transparent pricing, helpful product or service information, and customer support to answer questions.
5. Be consistent in your service
Once you've developed the ideal customer experience, it's essential to be consistent throughout your interactions. As a customer interacts with your organization, they begin to expect a certain level of service. If they receive exceptional service during one interaction and have a terrible experience during a different time, the emotional connection breaks, and they lose trust in the company. Training all employees within an organization of the customer experience journey and proper customer service is critical to long-term success. You can empower all staff to make the best decision for the customer's interest, based on the company's vision and values.
6. Use technology to your advantage
Another strategy for creating a positive customer experience is to use technology to your advantage. Technology can be helpful to enhance the experience, both for the company and the customer. For example, using a CRM (customer relationship management) program can streamline customer information, preferences on modes of communication, and frequency of contact. This type of software makes it easier for customer service representatives to understand who they're speaking with to feel valued and important to the company.
7. Design a high-quality training program
Identifying and creating a strategy for a positive customer experience is only complete when every employee understands how to implement the plan. Designing a high-quality training program specifically for employees to learn about customer service, the company's vision and values, and the customer journey is essential to long-term success. A training program also helps create consistency within the company, allowing everyone to know the expectations surrounding the desired customer experience.
8. Capture customer feedback for improvement
One of the best ways to know if a customer has had a positive experience with an organization is to ask them. Asking for and capturing customer feedback is a vital component to making continuous improvements. Feedback can prove insight into areas where you need to provide further training. You can capture customer feedback during every interaction by asking for it from your customer. Some examples include using a feedback form after a live chat, sending a follow-up email after a phone call or discussion, or offering customer surveys regularly.
9. Ask for regular employee feedback
An area often overlooked when developing a strategy for a positive customer experience is regularly asking employees for feedback. This is critical at all levels with a company, ensuring you receive a wholistic view throughout the organization. Employee feedback provides valuable insights into areas of confusion where you need to provide more training. It can also allow you to see parts of the customer experience that are complicated and frustrating for both the customer and the employee. Consistently asking for feedback is essential for real-time information that you can act upon quickly.
10. Apply the principle of continuous improvement
As with any business practice, you want to apply the principle of constant improvement to the customer service experience. This means that you regularly review customer and employee feedback to identify areas of opportunity. Reviewing KPIs or key performance indicators also provides valuable insights into areas of strength and weakness. By constantly reviewing performance, you can identify issues and create a plan of action or adjust your current strategy before they become a problem. Continuous improvement requires an objective perspective and the desire to get better.