Customer experience these days is far more personal than it once was. It’s no longer enough to take a reactive approach: Customers seek proactive and humanized brand engagement that takes their perspective, not the brand’s. Indeed, customer centricity begins with assuming the customer’s point of view and asking at every step of the journey, “Is this what the customer wants?” Here are five key words every brand should consider for building true customer centricity.
Your brand may have an omnichannel presence, make great marketing offers, and feature fun videos on the website. All these things are positive, but are you delivering an efficient and seamless experience? Too often, brands get caught up in offering more of something to customers—whether it be more channels, services, etc.—without paying enough attention to their efficiency and the true value to the customer. For example, if you are an omnichannel brand, make sure your channels are actually accessible to customers when they need service the most, staffed by agents who are well-trained to provide service on those channels. Marketing offers are similarly of little use if they are not well suited to the preferences of your customers. Target offers to the tastes of individual customers, and make them timely so that your customers benefit from them when they need those offers the most. When delighting your customers with great features and services, never forget to make the experience seamless and efficient.
A major factor in earning long-term loyalty is brand accountability. Customers should always be able to trust your word, whether it be a sincere marketing offer with no deceptive language or a simple follow-up to a service case as promised. Similarly, when your brand makes a mistake, a sincere apology is always better than avoiding frustrated customers. Communicate honestly with your customers, mean what you say, and always accept responsibility for mistakes. An honest reputation is essential to winning customer trust and loyalty.
Customer-centric brands know that timeliness is essential to every customer. Prevent them from repeating information by using such tools as a CRM database / to streamline communications across the contact center and keep customer data up-to-date. IVR menus are also essential to saving customers time and routing them to the most appropriate agents for their service situation. Lastly, customers should never have to search long for information. Promote self-service by providing clear answers to questions on your website, offer timely live chat invitations, and cater to mobile customers with an optimized mobile site or brand app.
Generosity can mean many things when it comes to the customer experience. It’s always great to offer discounts and vouchers to thank customers for their long-term loyalty, or to correct a difficult service situation. However, being generous to your customers in a broader sense may also mean giving them the time and space to express what they feel about your brand. For example, customers shouldn’t feel rushed when explaining their issue during a service interaction, and agents should always show respect and empathy. Saying thanks to your customers and apologizing when necessary also show a generous and humble brand attitude, while customer feedback surveys that ask for detailed, free-response suggestions also show your brand’s openness to serving customers better. Let your customers express themselves, listen closely to their concerns, and take the appropriate measures to give them the experience they need.
Showing generosity toward your customers is one way of being an authentic brand. When your gestures are genuine and your brand always delivers on its promises, customers will notice and appreciate such behavior. Being authentic means giving a human touch to your customer experience. This can be shown through agents with genuine soft skills during service interactions, social media campaigns that represent brand values and encourage customer participation, and brand commitments to helping social or environmental causes. When your customers feel they are engaging with humans who have a purposeful existence and not just an organization, they will appreciate and reward such authenticity. Customer-centric brands show real awareness of customer needs and make a sincere effort to deliver what is asked for. By keeping the customer’s feelings at heart and mapping the journey from his perspective, your brand can deliver the great experiences that win customer love and loyalty.
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