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Connected Customer Experience

Why The Customer Experience Should Be At The Heart Of Marketing and Selling Services

Author Michael R Blumberg on Feb-13-2018

Consumers now reside in a digital world where instant gratification is the new currency. The rise of Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime Now and Uber ensures they can avoid any pain points and get what they want and when they want it in a new on demand economy.

However, the ‘we want it now’ consumer continues to evolve and now expects a personalized experience too. If online services know what their favorite movies, TV shows and music they like, surely retailers will know what they like too.

Tech savvy users are looking for businesses to lead the way with new technology that continues to treat them as unique individuals. A generic marketing e-mail with their name pasted at the top in a different font is no longer going to cut it.

The evolution of the customer experience has even given birth to the phrase Martech which is the blending of marketing and technology. Industries across multiple industries are all facing the same problem as the digital transformation of everything gathers pace.

Keeping up with all the latest trends across the digital landscape is no longer an option it should be compulsory for anyone serious about the future of their business. The good news is that you are not alone and the fact that 76% of field service providers were reportedly struggling to achieve revenue growth should be the only wake-up call that you need to take this seriously.

However, there are numerous field service winners here too. For example, in 2017 there are many organizations providing seamless digital experiences and delivering faster resolution times. It is often said that technology works best when it brings together and here is a selection of great examples.

The Value of Improving the Customer Journey

Personalization is much more than just another industry buzzword but a reaction to the demand driven by consumers. Providing the right experience at the right time is an art that many are still learning to master. But, the ability to increase 15% percent of revenue and lower the cost of serving customers by 20% is a language that every member of the boardroom will understand.

Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Customer Service

According to Microsoft, an incredible 97% of consumers advised customer service is critical to their choice or loyalty to a brand. But it’s also crucial to remember how this is across self-service, social, phone, mobile and a plethora of devices.

The divide between offline and online is disappearing. No matter what device we have at hand, wherever we are located and if we are using our keyboard, touchscreen or even voice, the experience should be the same.

Poor Customer Service Will Be Punished

It is well understood that it costs businesses more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Savvy consumers will happily shop around for the best deal. Ironically many companies seem to treat their current clients with contempt arrogantly and assume they will stay with them regardless.

The reality here in 2017 is that 64% of consumers have switched providers in at least one industry due to poor customer service according to Accenture. We no longer suffer fools gladly, and a lack of patience or frustration will ensure most consumers will switch providers after only one negative experience.

In this digital age, loyalty must now be earned rather than taken for granted. The only question that remains is what are you doing about it?

Time Is Money

An Amazon Prime account makes one-click ordering and delivery within 2 hours a reality. Maybe, we shouldn’t be too surprised how our time is becoming increasingly valuable. Forrester recently advised that 73% of consumers will happily admit that their time is the most important factor where businesses need to focus.

Pain points such as long-winded automated phone menus, cumbersome online chats or waiting around between 9 am and 6 pm for somebody to call you will no longer be tolerated. Organizations need to manage the expectations of their customers and remove friction to offer a truly simplified service in a timely manner.

Make Way for The Internet of Things (IoT)

With 50 Billion internet-connected devices by 2020, the time to take IoT seriously is right now. Consumers do not care about your product roadmaps; they now expect the same experience with any of their devices.

There is already a long line of competitors offering similar services. Failing to keep up will leave your brand looking like a tired Sears or J. C. Penney store that failed to keep up with the speed of hyper change across the digital landscape.

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Transforming a Customer Service Culture in Manufacturing

Author Jeff Toister on May-19-2017

The post-sale experience is a giant opportunity for many manufacturers.

Let's say you buy a refrigerator. Buying an appliance like that is a big investment that should last a long time, but there are many reasons you might need support.

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How to Get Your Employees Obsessed with Customer Service

Author Jeff Toister on Apr-6-2017

Imagine you could develop a customer-focused culture so powerful that your employees always seem to do the right thing.

They encourage each other, proactively solve problems, and constantly look for ways to go the extra mile. In short, imagine a workplace culture where employees were absolutely obsessed with customer service.

Almost every leader wants this.

My new book, The Service Culture Handbook, provides step-by-step guidance on how to get there. It combines lessons from elite companies with practical advice that's easy to implement.

Most important, it shows what customer-focused organizations do differently. Here are a few highlights:

#1 Customer-Focused Companies Have Clarity

Here's an easy way to test the strength of your organization's customer focus. Pick a random sample of employees at all levels (executive, mid-management, and frontline). Ask them to answer these three questions:

  • What is our customer service vision?
  • What does it mean?
  • How do you personally contribute?
The average employee struggles with these questions, or their answers don't match their colleagues'.

Employees in customer-focused companies can give clear and consistent answers to these questions. That's because their organizations have a clearly articulated customer service vision that's consistently reinforced.

#2 Customer-Focused Companies Engage Employees

Will we ever stop talking about employee engagement?

Probably not. It's important but there just aren't many companies that are good at it. According to Gallup's most recent employee engagement report, the percentage of engaged employees has remained relatively flat since 2013.

There is a silver lining in that report.

According to Gallup, the best companies have 70 percent or more of their employees engaged. And they do it by following a few basic steps:

  • Employees know how the organization defines success.
  • Employees know what's expected of them.
  • Employees feel they are making a contribution.
Look familiar?

These same key drivers are the ones customer-focused companies use to ensure employees understand the customer service vision.

Sure, there's a bit more to it than that. Which leads us to number three.

#3 Customer-Focused Companies Are Committed

"We're working on customer service this year."

I've heard many executives make that statement. Each time, I know they're bound for failure. Why? Because customer service isn't something you treat like a New Year's resolution.

Customer-focused companies have leaders who are truly committed. Here are just a few things that set them apart from the rest:

  • Customer-focus is a way of doing business, not a side-project
  • Strategic decisions are made with customers in mind
  • Customer-focused leaders consistently model the culture
  • Employees are truly empowered to deliver outstanding service
  • Customer-focused leaders take the long-view on investing in service

I'm sorry to tell you that culture isn't a quick fix. You need to be fully committed if you want to make a lasting change.

These three characteristics of customer-focused companies are just the icing on the cake.

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