Customer Experience News & Trends

Top competitive advantage: Your customer experience

Anything you do to improve the customer experience could be the most profitable step you take in the coming year, according to recent research. 

More than 80% of companies say they will compete mostly or completely on the basis of customer experience within two years, according to Gartner’s Customer Experience in Marketing Survey.

Why? Nearly half of the companies in the Gartner survey said they have established the relationship between customer experience and business outcomes … and it’s a positive one. So they’re focused more on the experience more than or in tandem with product or service quality.

4 ways to improve

Here are four tips to improve your customer experience in the coming year:

  • Innovate, don’t imitate. Companies often keep their eye on what the competition is doing – and try to replicate it because customers seem to like it. But what was new for one company can become tired for other companies. Instead, look for ways to create a new, unique experience for customers in your industry. Yes, you can look to other industries for ideas, but you still don’t want to do what’s overdone. Look at it this way: If imitation is good enough, then innovation will be above par.
  • Work well, don’t wow. While innovative is important, the key to every experience is ease. You don’t need to “wow” customers every time they contact you. You do want to make the experiences seamless. One way: Maintain a CRM system that records every interaction so when service and sales pros interact with customers, they know all the contacts – from social media to phone calls – that customer made and the results.
  • Train and retain. The best customer experiences are still mainly built on human-to-human contact, not on the latest technology development. Customer experience pros need regular training on the technology and on soft skills. Invest in training, compensation and rewards so front-line service pros stay loyal and are better equipped to deliver seamless experiences.
  • Listen more. If you want to continue to improve the experience so customers notice and stay loyal, do what they want. Ask for customer feedback relentlessly. Don’t let one drip of feedback fall through the cracks by encouraging employees who interact with customers to take time after interactions to note comments, criticisms and praise. Then use that informal feedback to complement what you gather formally to constantly improve the experience.

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