Customer experience, simply put, is the most decisive factor driving a business’s success in the service sectors. Through the establishment of a fluid and adaptive customer experience, brand loyalty is created, customers are cultivated and long term relationships are formed. Customer experience is infinitely personal and continuously evolves from each service encounter to colour how customers view both the service event and the provider as a whole.
In this blog, we will take a deep dive into what elements shape customer experience, from the initial point of contact to final billing. We will define the customer experience and the broad range of factors which, if properly balanced, can improve customer retention and the overall service dynamic across business operations.
Factors defining Customer Experience:
Customer experience is defined as the perception a client has of a business or service as influenced by:
- An Employee or Point of Contact member of staff
- Customer Expectations
With this ever-growing basket of factors influencing customer experience it can be exhausting to try and find that perfect balance point to satisfy customer needs. With fierce competition and an increasingly demanding customer base, many businesses are often faced with the question of where to focus their time and energy to improve customer retention and brand loyalty?
A recently conducted study of over 6,700 customers found that 80% of people agree that the experience your brand creates is just as important as the product or service you are selling. Long gone are the days when having quality service and a skilled workforce alone were enough to ensure customers use your product or service in the future.
Today’s marketplace is defined by; ease of accessibility and personalisation of services, as well as highly informed customers who demand transparency throughout the entire service experience. Customers expect technicians to be friendly and knowledgeable, well versed in cutting edge technology and quick on their feet to adapt to a request on a moment’s notice.
According to PwC “43% of all consumers would pay more for greater convenience; 42% would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience. And, among U.S. customers, 65% find a positive experience with a service provider to be more influential than great advertising.”
In order to improve customer experience, it is critical to understand the role each component part plays in illustrating the broader relationship between service provider and customer. If correctly understood and integrated into a long term business strategy, these factors can vastly improve customer satisfaction and in turn, facilitate customer retention.
Point of Contact:
The customer experience is heavily influenced by the point of contact. As the person who facilitates the broader service experience, the service technician or staff member must “incorporate all of the aspects of the service firm with which customers may interact, including its personnel, physical facilities, and other tangible elements during a given period of time. It has been suggested that from the customer’s viewpoint, staff members provide the service and staff behaviour therefore, influences customer perceptions of the service.”
Staff competence, helpfulness, and responsiveness are vital factors which guide the evaluation of service. Unfortunately “only 46% of consumers outside the U.S. say the employees they interact with understand their needs.”
An organisation’s employees, or the salespeople representing it in retail channels, are a key channel for delivering superior Customer Experience. It’s no good saying you’re great if your staff don’t act like they believe it. Everyone in an organisation has to be aligned with corporate objectives and on-message. So teaching staff to understand their role within the organisation and how everyone contributes to outsiders’ perception of it is hugely important.”
It is essential that companies hire passionate staff and train them to love the product or service. Ensuring the point of contact is well versed and easy going helps customers have a positive experience and significantly impacts the perception of the brand overall.
In Part II we will discuss the impact of; Customer Expectations, Technology & Personalisation on Customer Experience.
To read more about how BigChange can help improve your Customer Experience click Here.