For as long as there’s been commerce, customer service has been a key priority for sellers, businesses and organisations.
Providing a quality customer experience – or CX – has proven to be crucial for organisational growth and spurring repeat business. But what does that customer experience actually look like?
In the past, the primary means of customer service was the support or help line, where customers could call to get assistance or voice their issues. Lacking the tools and technology to proactively address problems, organisations instead settled on a reactive approach — you call us, and then we’ll take care of it.
Today, leading organisations have realised that customer service goes far beyond the simple help line, and that they must be proactive in addressing problems.
Creating a holistic customer experience strategy
Over the past few decades, smartphones, social media and a host of new and emerging technologies have changed the way we live, work and communicate with one another. Amid this changing landscape, organisations began to interact with customers on several different channels – simultaneously. We’ve all seen the many ways in which brands have succeeded and failed (sometimes spectacularly) in reaching customers on social media, and companies like Zappos have made customer service an integral part of their organisational story.
But social media and a support line aren’t a customer service strategy. They’re necessary and effective tools, yes — but they’re just tools. Instead, an effective CX strategy for the new world of work must consider nearly every aspect of your organisation and every potential touch point your customer has with your organisation and then proactively employ these and other tools to maximise the quality of your customer service and set your organisation apart.
3 areas you may not have considered when it comes to CX
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, or so the old saying goes.
So when customers come to your workplace, what sort of impression are they getting? Does it take far too long to just to get through screenings and security? Do you have a work or meeting space that will comfortably fit everyone? Is it easy to schedule a conference room, get online, use the necessary AV tools or even just print? Or do you have scheduling conflicts, connection issues and old technology?
Fair or not, these sorts of things affect customers’ perceptions of your organisation and colour their overall experience.
If you’re like most organisations, you probably produce all kinds of critical communications.
Things like insurance policies, medical records, invoices and statements, direct mail and a host of other items — communications which often come every month, must be accurate, may contain personal information and are usually subject to regulations and privacy laws.
These items may be the only touchpoint you have with a good number of customers, meaning that it’s vital to the customer experience that these communications are produced accurately, sent out in a timely manner and adhere to all necessary rules and regulations.
Many business challenges are the result of inefficient processes and workflows that kill productivity.
Addressing these issues requires a thorough look at all departments, implementing new technologies and effectively managing through change — importantly, with a focus on people, not just the technology.
The goal is to allow information to flow freely through your entire organisation, so that workers can access what they need, when they need it. If your customer-facing workers have this ability, they’re better able to provide the sort of personalised customer service that leaves customers happy and coming back for more.
Happy employees. Happy customers.
Ultimately, the things that negatively impact the customer experience are the same things that frustrate employees which are the same things that hinder many organisations from achieving their business goals: information bottlenecks, inefficient processes and a lack of access to necessary information or tools.
This shouldn’t be surprising since customer service and business success are inexorably linked. Happy employees are productive employees and they’re your front line, responsible for living and delivering on your brand promise every single day. All three – happy customers, happy leadership and happy employees – together, should be viewed as part of a greater whole. The triangle is, after all, the strongest geometric shape.
Don’t leave your customer experience solely to social media strategists, call centres and support lines. Take a proactive approach. The secret sauce in creating the best possible CX is reducing friction. Reduce friction in how employees get their work done. Reduce friction in how your customers interact with your brand at every touchpoint.
Most of all, don’t forget that building this sort of holistic strategy will take time – and it’ll also look different for every organisation.
And if you need help, call on us. After 85 years of imagining change, we’ve learned a thing or two about changing with the times – especially when it comes to workplace technology. But experience has also taught us that technology needs to put people first. Let our people help your people do their jobs better, faster and more securely. Let us help you redefine work and Change. For better.
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