Do you remember the time when you really needed a customer service rep to be responsive to you at that moment? The time when he was not only able to help you with your current problem, but also took the extra step to help you avoid a future issue? Do you remember how you smiled with relief? Do you also remember how you became a loyal customer at that moment?
Brands are starting to take notice of the importance of being there for customers during these make-or-break moments, and of knowing how to shape the customer experience by tailoring it to these moments.
Customer experience is composed of the emotions felt by customers and potential customers from the beginning to the end of their journey with a brand. This experience includes feelings, such as satisfaction with accommodations and friendly staff, as well as thoughts, such as “pushy salesman,” “what a life saver,” “not worth the wait” or “worth the money.”
The variations don't stop there. Different people have different journeys, with some aspects of the experience valued more than others and at different times, and with some customers preferring to interact with brands on specific channels. For example, some customers may prefer to initiate contact via phone, while others prefer to interact with a brand via email or on social media channels.
Yet one thing is the same: customers expect a quality experience that is not only effective and efficient, but is also personal, makes them feel special, and turns them into brand ambassadors. Indeed, customer experience is often the deciding factor for many consumers in determining whether to continue using a brand in the future.
Challenge for Providers
It can be tricky for brands to figure out which aspect of the customer journey is of particular importance for each individual customer. It is also tricky to really “see” each journey in its entirety. Companies need to determine how to make each part of the customer’s decision-making process positive and memorable. They also have to get each member of their staff on board with their action plans.
But where should they start? What solutions would make everything else fall into place effortlessly?
The Science Behind it All
According to author Simon Sinek in his presentation of “The Golden Circle,” customer experience has nothing to do with psychology and everything to do with how the brain is organized. The part of the brain controlling feelings and emotions also governs decision making and behavior. As a result, customer loyalty arises out of an emotional state of contentment.
Ultimately then, it's not only what you say but also how you say it that is important. Customers aren't moved to react if facts and figures are presented to them mechanically. Rather, a warm and human approach, which taps into their emotions, activates positive responses, and entices them to make quick decisions, is required. Once customers are satisfied at an emotional level, they will become advocates of the brand.
To learn more from NICE about enhancing the customer experience, join us at Interactions 2013, the industry’s leading customer conference.