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Your customers need to feel valued and recognised: How to give them the best experience

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By Koketso Mamabolo



Your customers need to feel valued and recognised: How to give them the best experience


Consumer rights month is over, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop caring about giving your customers the best service and the best experience possible. Leigh Whiting’s job involves understanding humans, how businesses relate to them and adapting to changes in technology. Here the Experience Design Lead at Decisions Inc. shares her cross-functional expertise with us.


On customer service and customer experience

I believe the two are perfectly interwoven and separate at the same time. Customer Experience encompasses the entire journey, from initial discovery through to after the service is delivered. Every interaction is included and there’s a strong focus on how customers perceive those interactions, and how they feel about the sum of all the interactions.

Customer service is just one aspect that contributes to the overall experience. It can be defined as the act of assisting and advocating for your customers before, during, and after the purchase of a product or service. The goal is to make sure that this is done while going above and beyond in solving customer problems and providing buyers with the best option possible. 



How you can improve customer service

Consistently high levels of customer service are essential to making sure that customers become advocates for your business, so this should be a major focus for companies.

As a starting point, customer needs must be understood, which means that having comprehensive data on each customer is crucial to being able to determine their key drivers and motivators. Secondly, feedback is crucial, and companies should actively seek and promote customer feedback.

I think that in addition, any customer service delivery needs to be underpinned with a set of standards that helps keep an experience consistent.



How you can know your customers are having a good experience

“Delivering a great customer experience” has become a top strategic objective, a survey by Bloomberg Businessweek found.

If a focus is placed on understanding your customers, and there is clear vision for CX in place, I believe that companies are setting themselves up for success, if they don’t lose sight of the entire journey.

I think having a method in place for continuous feedback and by implementing metrics is a fair measure of improved customer experience. Reduced support requests are a better indicator of improved experience than Net Promoter Scores for me, personally, just because I believe that people will always seek help to resolve issues, but may not always reach out to share feedback. 


How to retain customers

Companies that build the best customer experiences, by truly understanding customer needs and requirements and being able to respond to these in a rapid way, can see the benefits of that work reflected in the retention rate.

There has never been as many options available to consumers as there is now in the subscription economy, so really listening is so important. According to SuperOffice, companies spend six to seven times more on acquisition than retention. 

The experience you create for your customers—both good and bad—may be the single largest determinant of your retention rate. Customer experience represents a summation of how customers feel about your brand, their interactions with your company at each point in the customer journey. By understanding the overall customer experience, teams can identify what changes should be made to improve that experience in the customer journey, and consequently the retention rate. 57% of respondents in the Zendesk 2020 Customer Experience Trends Report, said that customer service influences their loyalty to a brand.



The importance of sustainable consumption

Sustainable consumers are often confused with consumers that care about the environment and being eco-friendly. Beyond that though, sustainable consumers hold brands accountable across multiple practices, like respecting human rights and ethical workplace practices. Sustainable consumers matter as they support brands who are open about their values, and this encourages brands to operate sustainably.



How we can encourage sustainable consumption 

It could be as simple as prompting users to switch from printed receipts to email receipts.



On putting the customer first?

“Customer first” is a method for companies to make sure that the customer is at the heart of every decision a company makes, more than products or internal business structures. It can be achieved by proactively seeking ways to deliver a positive experience, and consistently designing and delivering with the customer in mind.

This may be an unpopular opinion, especially for someone who advocates client-centricity, but I don’t think the customer always comes first. I think that customers need to be held to account for their actions, interactions, and consumer behaviour. If any of these conflict with a company’s values, a company may want to question whether aligning themselves with that consumer is in their long-term best interest.

I’m not saying that a customer first lens of always listening and responding to needs should be discarded, as I strongly believe that this level of customer care makes people feel valued, which results in loyalty to a company. It also means that a journey is designed with the customer in mind, meaning that their overall experience is positive.

When we focus on understanding our customers, we can focus on delivering experiences that make them feel valued and recognised, which reduces churn, increases revenue and ultimately leads to higher profits.



On her experience using a Single Customer View?

My foremost experience is that the lack of this single view of the customer and their journey is a major impediment to being able to ensure a positive customer experience. I think that an aggregated view across legacy systems is the best way for companies to overcome this challenge in the short term.

That being said, as an experienced design professional AND customer myself, I think that when leveraged correctly, there are massive benefits for the company and the customer.

As an example, a customer receiving a relevant offer with a discount voucher – at the right time means they feel understood and rewarded. Simultaneously the company increases sales, loyalty, and advocacy. It should always be mutually beneficial.


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