My Friday Night Adventure
My wife and were recently shopping for a new television. Our old TV had started to emit an annoying buzz and would occasionally shut off on its own accord. She said she was tired of adjusting the volume to match the high-pitch squeal. At least that was the aggravated response she gave me when I asked why we were purchasing a new TV. Even though I wasn’t at all bothered by our TV situation, it was up to me to find a new model. Yes, I admit, it was a Friday night and I was excitedly shopping for home appliances. Since I work in marketing technology, I was tasked with comparing the products and stores on my phone as we shopped: the customer experience in the 21st century.
The bad kind of customer feedback loop.
I knew I wanted to go to a store and pick one out. When buying a television, it’s important to see the display in person. You must find a floor model. Even if you plan on mounting your television, you must first put your nose a few inches from the screen and be sure that the picture quality is top notch.
I had become the reviews; lost in a feedback rabbit hole.
These other customers had shared their experience. And I was lost in it.
These reviews were from a single television, at one store. Just one store of hundreds that sell something.
This one experience had invoked a variety of emotion in customers near and far. And let me tell you, these customers were serious about their reviews. No one was mincing words.
I would even go so far to say that they were passionate about their responses. Their chosen television had changed their lives, one way or the other.
I flipped from review website to review website, not really grasping my desire. It was all too much. I wanted a quantifiable number, not just other people’s experience in paragraph form. Although I admit again, I was swayed by people I didn’t even know.
I took all reviews seriously. I also noted some of the companies (remember I was shopping all over the place and had a million tabs up) actually responded to the reviews, some of them took the time to fix the problem, follow up or even acknowledge the customer. Those were the locations I decided focused on: the customer service oriented ones.
I also filter to four-star ratings and up. Three-stars aren’t worth my time and energy.
I liked a quick, simple rating, I didn’t want to find myself falling down the rabbit hole again. It was too easy to do.
Have you ever gotten lost on Wikipedia?
Changing my criteria and using these new measurements, I narrowed the search down rapidly. I called my wife in to share what I learned and we made our decision. It took a half hour in total. I had a moment of lucidity, a sudden realization that by reading the reviews, we were tapping into a collective emotional review input from a large swath of others feedback. I found this quote later and was relieved to see that I wasn’t alone in my reliance on others’ feedback.
“58% of Americans perform online research about the products and services that they are considering purchasing.”¹
Customer Experience Management
This experience had me thinking about the changes in today’s shopping experience and how quickly we have changed the way business is done.
Businesses should no longer expect a customer to begin the “investigation phase” in the store. The online research phase is the first stop for many customers these days. They want to know what others thought of the experience too.
Customer experience management is now a requirement for businesses in this crazy world.
It makes sense. Marketing has changed and businesses are no longer able to control the message. The message belongs to the customer.
We have moved from the age of information to the age of the customer. The new customer service means involvement at different departmental levels. It is not about the best price, sale season, or politeness. Long gone are the days of waiting for black Friday or holiday sales only. Customers are responding emotionally and want a connection to what they are purchasing. They are interacting with the company as a brand now. They want to be your friend.
Customer experience is the relationship a company is creating with their customers.
It includes this internet research for quality, pricing, engagement of employees, and policies of the company. It is an accumulation of everything happening in your business before and after the transaction takes place.
And all of these new elements of the customer experience can set you, and your business, apart from all the other businesses. It can create loyal customers and keep them coming back.
My television purchase is the perfect example. While I researched many stores and products, I ended up going back to the one that took care of a problem when we bought a new wireless router a few years ago. The response and timely manner in which they dealt with me made an impression.
They created a loyal customer with me. Ultimately, the store I selected had a higher cost. It was $15.00 more than its competitor. However, I knew they would take care of my needs again if a problem arose. It was worth the $15 for the assurance.
Companies must manage the customer’s experience. By this, I mean developing a relationship. This new customer relationship is developed by the contribution of not only the values of your company but by the values of the customer. The business concept of service management must include interacting with customers from various perspectives.
Today, this experience management is how a company takes control of the experience of customers.
This control means all areas of service from the customer needs, the supplier quality, the service provided to the individual and even how a business follows through with that service. Expectations must be established and then met.
Software to Monitor and Measure
Your management software should make your business life easier. Knowing you now must control all aspects of your customer experience, you have to implement the necessary software tools to measure the success of these experience-oriented efforts.
Remember, happy customers do a lot of work for you by promoting their happiness and returning to purchase again. Others are reading the happy reviews and taking that into account. In essence, these happy customers are marketing your products for you. And don’t forget that these happy customers will remember how they are treated.
You want management software that is convenient and allows you to use the results and information you receive from these now loyal customers. The end game is profit for most companies. Profits are the the result of follow through on your customer tracking and production.
“When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better. Your customer service organization should be designed to efficiently communicate those issues.”
– Kristin Smaby, “Being Human is Good Business”
Understanding the voice of your customer allows you to utilize the feedback appropriately. When you have well designed software, you can analyze and empower your employees for the change when needed.
A software that manages the reviews will save invaluable time in this process. You can then implement departmental changes and improve your store, company, product, and online reputation. This type of power gives you the space to increase profits in a manageable way with your customer service first and foremost the leader.
It is vital to monitor your company’s performance. Good management is all about matching your company with the beneficial software and using it effectively. To be a market leader in today’s economy, this software is what will make a difference. If the customer experience is important, this is the first improvement your company might need; investment in valuable software that allows you to understand your customer’s voice and will provide consistency for you. This single system means simple reliable information, a cost saving in the long run.
To build customer loyalty and manage your company reputation you must listen to the feedback and reviews. You must capture it and be able to manage the information coming in to you. Understand your customer’s voice, yes, but also follow through on this feedback. Give the customer the experience that allows them to believe in your company. Share the information with your employees quickly and in a way that allows them to disseminate and process appropriately. When you have negative responses, don’t let them hurt your company’s growth. That negative customer voice is being heard and future customers will move on to another company if they don’t feel there was company involvement. You must Improve upon that negative experience. Follow up even when you feel it won’t help. Use this negative response to address any issues that might be overlooked in your company.
Opportunity is available
70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. -Source: Touch Agency
Use the software opportunities given to you. Your customer voice is invaluable to your profits and long term viability. If 70% of all purchases today are based on emotions, then use that emotion.
Follow up with your customers.
Make a real connection.
Use software to understand where people are coming from and make the changes needed. Customer experience management software is designed to help you succeed and today’s crazy climate demands it.