The topic of customer service and customer experience has been coming up in lots of client conversations as well as at networking meetings lately.
As my colleague and First Base Director David Tovey is writing a book on the subject we put our heads together to agree some thoughts and tips. Customer experience has been described as “the next competitive battleground for businesses that want to differentiate themselves” – so it’s a pretty important subject.
Firstly, there is a difference between ‘Customer Service’ and ‘Customer Experience’.
Customer service tends to be more about the interaction involving customer facing staff. Customer experience on the other hand takes into account all the interactions that a customer has with a company. There can be many different ways a customer ‘experiences’ what it is really like to buy a particular product or service. It is the sum of all those interactions that form the opinions of a customer about a supplier, whether they become loyal customers and what they tell other people.
Both of us are clear that the companies delivering an excellent customer experience are not those who put the customer first. It is those companies that first make sure that their employee experience is excellent.
It should go without saying that if the person who works at a company is 100% proud of the Brand, is given the tools to do a good job and are treated well, they are going to be happy, Happy employees WANT to give customers a great experience.
It’s a leadership issue
All the research suggests that there is a significant difference between what senior managers in a business think the company delivers in terms of customer experience and what customers really think. If customer experience isn’t regular featured on the board’s agenda, it is likely that it isn’t on the agenda of anyone else in the business.
When everyone in an organisation is striving to deliver an excellent customer experience, the results are happy employees, happy and loyal customers and happy shareholders.
Sharon Adams and David Tovey