Everyone is looking for an edge over their competitors, and customer experience management may be the best way to gain a competitive advantage. Studies have shown that customer experience is surpassing price and product as the most important factor for customers, so providing an exceptional experience is a smart way to stand out from the crowd.
But what does exceptional customer experience management look like? And how is customer experience different from customer service? These are important first questions before creating a strategy to transform the way your company engages with your customers.
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Customer Service vs. Customer Experience
Both customer service and customer experience are well-known terms in the customer care industry today, but they’re not the same thing. Identifying this difference is key in ultimately differentiating yourself using customer experience management.
Customer service relates back to a transaction, a moment in time. A customer has a need, so they reach out to your company. You engage and address the need, and the interaction is over and successful.
Customer experience, on the other hand, is about the customer’s complete journey with your brand. It’s about a journey shared by the consumer and the business and a relationship that’s formed over time based on multiple experiences. These experiences may include using a product, seeking assistance and any other touchpoints with your brand. And that’s a bit more complex than a moment in time.
Business Impact of Customer Experience Management
Customer experience management is how you nurture that relationship, and it’s more important today than ever before. In this day in age and across every industry, it’s becoming easier and easier for consumers to switch. Switch business services, internet providers, insurance companies or anything else because there is so much competition today.
For businesses wondering how to engage customers and drive loyalty, you must offer more than an amazing product to gain a competitive advantage. Customer experience management is the answer.
Excellent customer experiences not only inspire customers to stay with your brand. As customers stay connected with influencers on social media and influencers, memorable experiences create opportunities for customers to become promoters and advocates of your brand.
Word-of-mouth marketing is possibly the most efficient and effective way to expand your business footprint. So if you create magical moments for your customers, they’ll not only stay loyal for life. It drives an emotional connection that goes beyond servicing that one customer and creates a true competitive advantage.
Best Practices to Achieve a Competitive Advantage
Customer experience management allows you to create more personalized experiences for each customer. To achieve that, you need three factors: technology, experience and data.
Customer Experience Technology
Contact center and customer engagement technology is a foundation that makes customer service possible. You must have the capability to engage customers wherever they are, be it voice, text or social media. Without a variety of service channels supported, you can’t engage with customers or create a memorable experience. But this is just the first layer. Creating exceptional experiences requires something above and beyond technology.
Experience with Customer Experience
It requires knowledge workers that understand customer lifecycle and journey management. These workers can identify various problems or opportunities present in the relationship and predict future behaviors. Having that knowledge and consultation from the right professional team allows you to get ahead of customer needs and offer predictive, prescriptive service to wow the customer before they even know you need to be there.
Using Customer Data
Using data is key in understanding how your customers want choice, convenience and control. Data shows how they interact and do business with you. And data reveals not only what the general journey looks like. It also reveals where to go and how to tailor specific interactions. It allows you to demonstrate that you know the customer is on a journey and care about more than the end destination. With data about their past interactions, you make the right decisions at the right time for where the customer is currently at in their journey. To learn more about using customer data, contact us at www.intrado.com/Customer-Experience.
How to Orchestrate Customer Experience
While the benefits may sound good, implementation can be more challenging than the traditional model of customer service. “Traditional model,” in this case, refers to one-off interactions contained in their channel. Inbound was for inbound, outbound was for outbound, web was for web, and mobile was for mobile. Customer experience management asks you to orchestrate the experience, or make every interaction work together, regardless of channel.
To get started, offer customers a choice in how they want to engage. Offer service in multiple channels, including digital, voice, social media and more. That’s the foundation. Channel of choice has been discussed for a long time, but it’s still as relevant as ever.
The next step in gaining a competitive advantage is creating a long-term strategy to harness information from all points of interaction. Whether it’s contact center technology, a CRM system, your employees or equipment deployed in the field, there is data to be found. Harnessing that data is key to understanding how customers move through their experiences with you.
This process also helps you discover where you lack information or where data siloes exist. These issues prevent you from making the right choice at the right time for the customer. So as part of your long-term strategy, create a plan to fill those gaps in a programmatic manner. Tracking all this data should help reveal incremental wins year over year as you build up your experience.
Start Your Journey Today
All in all, implementing customer experience management is a journey. It requires a long-term commitment strategy. And it may be challenging to get buy in, but it pays dividends when you create alignment across the organization.
For more advice on creating a competitive advantage with customer experience management, contact Intrado at 800.841.9000 or visit us at www.intrado.com/Customer-Experience. Customer experience is the modern-day differentiator, so start your journey today to discover the best next steps to stay ahead.