Perhaps you are among the 27% of companies that are customer experience driven.  If not, you may want to read on.customer_experience

According to a recent Temkin Experience ratings survey, the majority of companies (2/3) want to be customer experience industry leaders.  Yet, in that same survey, consumers indicated only 28% were “good” or “excellent”; even worse, 37% received “poor” or “very poor” ratings.

Why Does Customer Experience Matter?

Customer experiences are the building blocks of customer loyalty, and customer loyalty is a sound strategy for survival and profitability.

According to Josh Bernoff of Forrester – “understanding, delighting, connecting with and serving customers are the only advantages that will enable companies to survive the continuous disruption that will define business going forward.”

The marketing landscape is changing. There is a strong correlation between a positive customer experience and customer loyalty.

What are the Benefits of Building Customer Loyalty?

Loyal customers are more likely to spend more. Some studies suggest consumers will pay a premium for a good customer experience , they are less likely to defect, more inclined to recommend the product or service to their friends, and more willing to forgive when there are problems.

What are 4 Core Competencies of Creating a Positive Customer Experience?

1. Culture – Customer experience leadership doesn’t happen by accident.  It starts with senior management, or in the case of smaller businesses, the owners.  The leadership of the business has to set the tone by connecting values to every day decisions.

All too often there are campaigns or slogans about the customer experience, but there is no way for frontline staff to apply these in their daily interactions. Zappos, a widely respected customer experience leader, requires ALL new employees to undergo a four-week customer experience training program. There has to be a compelling connection between the values of the organization and the daily decisions each employee is required to make. This must be clearly communicated and constantly reinforced. It has to be part of the framework of the organization, not just occasional proclamations or campaigns.

2. Employee Engagement – Leaders need to make sure they hire the right people, and then they must invest in training and two-way communication. Listening is at least as important as telling. Ask questions; take surveys that measure the pulse of colleagues to detect any misalignment. Create a climate that motivates and stimulates colleagues to produce their best work. Keep employees informed, especially frontline staff, so they are always aware of promotions, issues, announcements. Provide guidelines that will clearly communicate expectations and provide direction for colleagues.

3. Compelling brand values – Make sure all colleagues know what your brand stands for, so they understand and can articulate your brand’s uniqueness. Continue to reinforce this message since brand values can become diluted over the course of time. Focus on the ways consumer’s benefit from using your product or service.

4. Consumer connectedness – Connecting with customers begins with targeting the right customers. Pay particular attention to specific segments where appropriate.  Listen to consumers, ask for feedback, and pay attention to complaints or compliments. Focus on creating a memorable experience with every interaction, and then make it easy for consumers to share their experience with friends and family.

Applying Customer Experience Core Competencies

Becoming a customer experience industry leader requires a commitment at every level of an organization. Actually it’s a different mindset.  When you apply the four elements listed above, you are well on your way to being a social marketer.  While the challenges are significant, so is the potential payoff. (For more on this, check out 4 Ways Social Can Enhance your Marketing Campaigns.)

What do you think?