Customer experience is a growing concern for companies. As customers have a wide choice of extremely competent suppliers who basically offer the same technical services, it is becoming increasingly difficult for software companies to stand out through purely technical accomplishments.
But first, let’s define customer experience. Customer experience is the whole package of messages received by customers over the entire lifecycle with your company. These messages produce an impression, either positive, negative or neutral, that customers experience every time they contact you. Cultivating a culture of customer experience means fostering a set of pleasant interactions that will provide a positive impression for the client when interacting with you. The important thing to understand is that we’re not talking about just the technical interactions, but rather all interactions with clients, from the receptionist’s greeting to questions about billing, through calls for tenders. Every contact is an opportunity to create a positive customer experience.
Now that you understand what we mean by customer experience, the answer is obvious: a culture of customer experience isn’t just a Support Department issue; it’s everybody’s business!
Imagine the following scenario: you call Support with a specific question, which your advisor unfortunately can’t answer without consulting a colleague. Conscious of the importance of customer experience, your advisor promises to get back to you by the next business day. Unfortunately, their colleague doesn’t “get” customer experience, taking two days to get back to your advisor with an unsatisfactory answer. The result: your customer experience is second-rate, despite your advisor’s best efforts.
As you can see, customer experience is a team sport; it can’t be pulled off by a single department on its own. Moreover, the culture of customer experience can’t be just talk; everyone, from management to the entire staff, must walk that talk.
Here are a few tricks to maintain a company culture focused on positive customer experience:
- Train all employees on customer service standards.
- Apply these standards internally, amongst yourselves.
- Encourage your colleagues and staff to go beyond customer service expectations.
- Raise your standards every quarter.
- Keep light, interesting customer-service reference materials handy and available to all.
- Talk about customer experience and demonstrate it at every opportunity.
But above all, live customer experience with passion and enthusiasm! Customer experience is not a task with a beginning and an end; it’s a state of mind, and it’s never over. It can’t be placed on a To Do list. Customer experience is a way of life.
A robust, sustainable culture of customer experience is something that develops little by little, by raising standards throughout the company, not just within one department.