Experience is everything: why you need to understand your customers.
In an increasingly aggressive digital economy, companies that can deliver an excellent customer experience perform better. And that means recognizing that CX goes beyond customer service: it is about every interaction that a customer has with a brand. From branding, advertising and browsing in shops to purchasing, delivery and maintenance. Good CX is online, offline and on the phone.
Many companies will believe they are delivering a good CX, but evidence suggests few are achieving it. In Forrester’s 2015 CX Index benchmark, 86 per cent of companies say they want to excel at customer experience yet only 27% of brands even qualify as “good” in the opinion of their customers.
One reason is the ad hoc approach companies take to CX. “Their old ways don’t cut it in a world where thousands of employees have to serve millions of customers through dozens of channels,” explained Forrester.
For those that are prepared to get to grips with customer experience, the rewards are clear. Shoppers told Forrester that if they have a good experience with a company they are more likely to stay loyal and recommend the brand to a friend. “Both of those factors should drive increased growth in customers and, in turn, increased growth of customer revenue,” explains Forrester.
Good CX is good for business
Global research from McKinsey & Company found that for every 10 per cent increase in customer satisfaction, revenues can increase by 2–3 per cent. Put simply: satisfied customers spend more and churn less.
To improve CX, McKinsey advocates focusing on key factors that move the needle for people. These include ease and simplicity in a consumer culture that values convenience, mastering the digital-first customer journey, understanding that brands and perception matter and getting to grips with personalization.
French electrical retailer Darty, for example, understood that the digital customer journey begins before customers reach the store. Online searches, product comparisons, price checking, product reviews and visits to retailers are all part of the trip. Orange helped with this digital transformation of stores by training and equipping thousands of staff with tablets. A store app enables staff and customers to create product wish lists, check product availability, order online and contact support staff. Darty stores also have digital kiosks, providing extended product catalogs and purchasing facilities.
Measuring successful customer interactions
Some organizations find it difficult to quantify the return on their CX investment. Thanks to big data, this can easily be addressed by analyzing data from all consumer touch points, such as mobile, Internet and in-store, to gain continual insight into how CX is playing out across the business. This can include both applications and training.
Orange Business Services is spotlighting three strategic priorities for customers embracing the new trends and behaviors of CX. First is engaging customers with an omnichannel customer-centric approach. Second, empowering customer service agents to enhance collaboration between front-office and back-office staff to ensure customers get a smooth journey. And third, enriching CX by turning data into meaningful insights which can then feed into real-time offers, targeted offers.
As an example, Orange Business Services has worked with elevator and escalator industry leader, KONE, to upgrade its contact center application and enhance the customer experience. KONE maintains over 1 million elevators and escalators in close to 60 countries.
The Orange solutions, including a multi-channel managed contact center and a cloud-based flexible contact center, are enabling KONE to further enhance service to its installed customer base and support new business development programs. The result is increased customer satisfaction and retention on a global scale.
The new frontier
“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground,” according to Jerry Gregoire, CIO of computer company Dell. In a digital world where potential and new customers’ buying power is just a click away, CX is key. Happy customers are the ones companies will retain.
This is underscored by analyst Gartner. Speaking at the Gartner Customer 360 Summit, managing vice president Gene Alvarez said the best CX leaders design their CX from the perspective of the customer’s goals and motivations, thereby building a brand around CX and not vice versa. Understanding the different components, he said, will enable organizations to focus their efforts and improve CX.
“Customers will not tolerate companies that have amnesia when it comes to remembering them and their preferences for recognition,” explained Alvarez. “This makes it imperative for companies to recognize their customers and to serve them pertinent content that demonstrates the proper recognition and treatment.”
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