Customer Experience News & Trends

What customers really want – and how to deliver it

For everything you do to build relationships with customers, you’ll probably be surprised to see what they really want from you.

Efficiency over personalization.

That’s according to recent research from IntelliResponse Systems Inc. When researchers asked more than 1,000 consumers, “What kind of relationship do you want with companies?” responders said:

  • efficient transactional service (59%)
  • personalized service (24%)
  • to buy and say “goodbye” (11%), and
  • an interaction I look forward to (3%).

“There’s a lot of romantic talk in organizations and among industry pundits on the importance of personalized service,” the study’s authors said. “But these results indicate this kind of talk might just be waxing poetic. Customers don’t see it as all that important.”

Maintain personalization, focus on efficiency

Of course, this doesn’t mean companies should abandon personalized service. Customers still do and likely always will crave personalized attention. They want to be the center of attention when they’re doing business.

But giving them efficient experiences is one important way to create good customer experiences.

“The interactions customers have with a company prove how much thought and planning were put into key touch points,” says Jeanne Bliss, author of I Love You More than My Dog. “Be operationally deliberate and get it right.”

Here’s how five companies improved efficiency to “get it right” with customers, according to Bliss:

1. Let employees take the wheel

To eliminate red tape and increase productivity, one company started a “Kill a Stupid Rule” movement. Executives encouraged employees to point out policies that hindered them and customer satisfaction.

Another company asked employees to look for ways to eliminate fine print every month.

2. Pick employees who put customers first

To make sure that decisions from the boardroom to the front line were made with customers in mind, another company changed its hiring practices. Instead of bringing on technical pros who could handle problems, but with little empathy, they stared to hire “memory makers” —  people who would likely make a positive impact on customers.

3. Be clear

To make every experience more fluent and smooth, another company started to reward employees if they stopped using jargon when talking amongst themselves and with customers. Without jargon, ideas flowed efficiently between departments, and solutions came across clearly to customers.

4. Know what’s most important

To keep customers satisfied before, during and after they buy, a company identified their five most important customer touch points. Then they regularly gave anyone who worked directly with customers specific actions they could use at each touch point to make interactions even better and more efficient.

5. Be proactive

Companies can speed up service by eliminating issues proactively. That’s why the executives at one company look at the previous day’s customer issues to find one thing that should be addressed by them or customer experience professionals on the front line the next day to prevent recurrences. By being proactive before one issue turns into a recurring problem, they improved the experience for nearly all customers.

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