Whether you like it or not, in today’s disrupted economy, the business world has entered a new age.
The “age of the customer”.
In the age of the customer, consumers have the power. The traditional giants (you know who I’m talking about…) no longer hold sway like they once did. Instead, customers are choosing brands that not only offer the best value, but also the best service. Which means that those businesses and brands that fail to evolve and change are often getting left behind.
Thriving in the Age of the Customer
Some businesses are entering the market fully prepared to cater to the changes that have come with the age of the customer. Global ride-sourcing company Uber is a great example of these new disrupters – businesses that enter the marketoffering better products at a better price and with a better service.
What disruptive businesses like Uber tend to have in common is that they’re more flexible and agile than more established, traditional businesses.
But that doesn’t mean that established businesses necessarily have to be left behind. They too can thrive in the age of the customer. All it takes is a willingness to change – and a healthy focus on customer experience.
Why Customer Experience?
In a world where consumers have the power, customer experience is one of the key challenges businesses currently face.
As the term suggests, “customer experience” describes the experience a customer has when dealing with your business or brand. This includes the quality of customer service, and the ease with which customers are able to complete certain tasks or sort out a problem or issue.
Customer experience, therefore, is one of the key differentiators consumers in the age of the customer are looking for. Which is why your business must improve its customer experience if you want to stay competitive and relevant in today’s disrupted economy. This applies both in the contact centre environment, and in other customer-facing areas of your business.
The Recipe for Exceptional Customer Experience in Your Contact Centre
If you’re determined to ensure your business and contact centre will thrive in the age of the customer, then this is the recipe for you.
There are five essential ingredients for providing an exceptional customer experience in your contact centre.
- An “omni-channel environment” base
- A dash of “customer-centric design”
- Three cupfulls of “efficient tools and processes”
- A measure of “employee engagement”
- And a sprinkle of “continuous improvement culture”
The Right Base: An Omni-Channel Environment
An omni-channel environment is best described as a multi-channel environment (i.e. you can get the same service and complete the same transactions via web chat, web self service, email, and phone) where customers do not have to restart their conversation when they move from one channel to another – for example, moving from a web chat to a telephone conversation. Not having to re-start a conversation is a key element to providing exceptional customer experience.
Omni-channel environments – and how to use and implement them – will be covered in more detail in my next CX blog post.
A Dash of Customer-Centric Design
Once you have your omni-channel environment base, you’ll need to add a generous dash of customer-centric design. Customer-centric design is aboutmaking your customer’s experience contacting you as straightforward and simple as possible. This is often best achieved using “customer journey mapping” or “co-creation” approaches.
Customer-centric design – and how to achieve it – will also be covered in an upcoming CX blog post, so stay tuned!
Three Cupfulls of Efficient Tools and Processes
Once you’ve mixed in a generous dash of customer-centric design, it’s time to add in your efficient tools and processes. These are the technologies and process flows needed to support your omni-channel environment and enable your agents to deliver great customer-centric service. Where possible, you’ll want to embrace automation, and reduce manual tasks.
As you probably guessed, you’ll learn all about efficient tools and processes, and their role in creating exceptional customer experience in your contact centre, in an upcoming post.
A Measure of Employee Engagement
Your CX pudding is almost done, but you still need to beat in a measure of employee engagement. Employee engagement is a crucial ingredient for customer experience. After all, your agents are the primary and sometimes the only interactive contact channel for your customers. If they’re not happy and supported in their roles, they’ll be negative and frustrated – and that will impact on your customer experience.
Fostering and maintaining positive employee engagement – including strategies and activities – will be the topic of a blog post coming to a computer screen near you, soon.
A Sprinkle of Continuous Improvement Culture
Every good chef knows that a good recipe becomes great when you pay attention to the finer details. In this case, that means embracing and fostering a continuous improvement culture. After all – the only constant in today’s market and economy is change. That means that the yard stick for measuring improvements and achievements is always moving. Your contact centre needs to move with it.
Not surprisingly, we’ll be covering off the details on adding a sprinkle of continuous improvement culture to your contact centre in our final CX series blog post.
Serve it Up
So there you have it – the recipe for creating exceptional customer experience in your contact centre and customer facing channels. I’ll be expanding on each of these important elements in a series of CX Secret Ingredient blog posts, so be sure to keep your eye out.
In the meantime, however, do you have any personal stories about customer experience? Have you implemented measures that have dramatically improved your CX? Or have you been on the short end of the stick when it comes to receiving a bad customer experience with another business? Let me know in the comments below!