Customer Experience Featured Article

What is Customer Experience?

April 22, 2014

Whether it happens in a brick-and-mortar store, online, on the phone with a call center agent, or through SMS, the customer experience has become a multichannel, multifaceted force. Companies big and small have long since realized that a happy customer makes for a happy business, but in today’s changing technological climate, keeping the customer happy is becoming an increasingly complex task.

So what exactly is customer experience? In a nutshell, it is how customers interact with a company, and the impressions those interactions give the customer about the company. Leaving a good impression is crucial to business, because a customer is much more likely to return to that company for a service, remain loyal, and even recommend the company to friends and family if he or she takes away a positive experience. A poor customer experience, on the flipside, can have tremendous negative impact—especially in this day and age, when one harsh online review or video of poor service could go viral. Bad press speaks loudly and travels at exponential rates through social media. What’s more, a customer with a rotten experience is much more likely to speak up than someone with a satisfactory experience.

Maximizing the customer experience means making it clear to customers that they are in control of their service, that they are valued, and that their voices are heard at every step of the way. If there’s a problem with a product or service, the customer should be able to tell someone about it, and have the issue resolved in a timely manner. Contact centers play a vital role in this piece of the customer experience puzzle, as they are the front lines for processing and addressing customers’ issues. Sometimes the first step is the hardest, so it’s important to make the initial point of contact as painless as possible. Contact centers can make it convenient and easy to start the conversation by giving customers several avenues of communication from which to choose. Above all, when a customer is given the communication option he or she is most comfortable with, the interaction that customer has with the company will start off on the right foot.

Image via Shutterstock

Social media sites like Twitter (News - Alert) and Facebook have become major outlets for customer feedback and business-consumer interactions. The majority of people in their 50s or younger use texting on a daily basis, which makes texting another smart option for companies to consider. However, calling a company is still one of the primary ways in which customers prefer to reach out, so it behooves companies to have an effective call center system in place with well trained agents. Customers also need to feel appreciated every now and then. The occasional promotional deal, sale, or giveaway is a great way to say “thank you” to customers for their loyalty and patronage. It’s important that they know you appreciate them for choosing you.

Ultimately, the customer experience is what people take away from a company. Did they feel they got the best bang for their buck? Were staff members conscientious and informative? Making customer experience a priority for your business will give you a valuable edge in the long run, as it will encourage customer retention and build a strong reputation to gain new customers. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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