Experience is, and should be, valued. Particularly when customers' and clients' experiences are positive.
There is increasing recognition that customer experience is not limited to local and physical considerations. It commences from the very first phase of the buying cycle and extends beyond the purchase process, installation and post-sale service delivery.
Indeed, the term “customer experience” has made obsolete the label “customer service”, and now embraces the concept, principles and applications of “ambience”.
Accordingly, operational silos, in which authorities and responsibilities are focused and constricted to specific actions have been dismantled. Internal business territorialism has been supplanted.
The allocation of resources, including capital, marketing, merchandising, sales, advertising, inventory and people is now determined in part by the desire for, and standards which are applied, to the customer experience.
Therefore, positional titles of “manager”, when they are related to the individual disciplines detailed above, seem inappropriate.
New measures of success are being implemented, in which the optimal outcomes are related to enhanced and positive customer experiences.
Hope springs eternal! Perhaps, the balanced, boring catalogue-type mass media advertising will be replaced by placements that abound with emotions, fun, advantages and benefits. Now that would be an experience!
Indeed, a single resolute focus on positive customer experiences for the progressive and complementary disciplines of public relations, communications, promotions, merchandising, sales and service will ensure a cumulative, reinforcing and positive delight for the intending customer.
Astute business leaders who are keen to address and redress the most recurring negative experience of customers will give priority to refining the telephone interaction system and processes.
Automated telephone answering processes which, however much they improve internal efficiency and productivity, often incur delays, frustrations, annoyances and additional phases for the customers. Typically, satisfaction levels plummet, along with the image of the business and preferences for its products, services and people.
Furthermore, inefficient, cumbersome online networks are a close second-rated source of annoyance. Whatever happened to recognition of the need for “seamless organisations” and seamless experiences…...
The current digital era has witnessed, indeed has facilitated, increased efficiency and speed of transactions. It has also been instrumental in a loss of privacy and personalisation.
“Mass-customerisation” is a cute phrase. It is also an oxymoron – a contradiction in terms. Transparently computer-generated communications can be, and are perceived by many to be intrusive and, sometimes, offensive.
There is an understandable reluctance by a significant percentage of consumers, individuals and corporations to declare and share private, confidential information - including banking and credit details.
Some things are considered best kept private.
Customer experience surveys often do not address or measure all phases of the experiences to which the customer is exposed.
Most noticeable are the inconsistent levels of service and positive sentiments expressed about the eleven phases which typically characterise the total experience.
Two aspects in particular are consistently deficient in rating, and contaminate the expectations and the ratings of individual customers and clients.
Well-targeted communications, which feature the names of recipients in the salutations can be impressive. But, the positive experience is negated when consumers are encouraged or directed to initiate contact with a website or call-centre.
Smooth processes never counter the impact of disappointed, impersonal outcomes.
“Personal” is an attribute, feature or adjective that is never fashionable, cyclical, or seasonal. It is an eternal, compelling basis on which to establish and sustain relationships. Furthermore, the allure of “personal” is an equally compelling reason to make contact and to develop great “customer experience” expectations and for businesses to enjoy competitive advantages, benefits and above all, customer loyalty.
To be effective, Customer Experience Managers need to be responsible for each and all eleven phases of the customer experience, and to have the authority to effect and refine initiatives and interactions, including public relations, advertising, promotions, merchandising, selling and service. One suspects that for many entities, those that have simply introduced a fashionable new label in their organisation charts, this will be a step too far.
Shades of “Customer Service Manager”, when everyone in a business is and should be responsible for managing service.