Happy Customers Have More Control Over the Consumer-Company Relationship
February 21, 2013
Quick: what makes a good customer experience? Is it the quality of the product or service? Is it the agent’s training? How fast the phone gets picked up? The speed of the resolution? While it may be a combination of some or all of these things, most experts recognize that it’s no one element: it’s a complex mix of tangible and intangible factors that lead to an excellent customer service experience, or, as it’s often called: “customer delight.”
Some industry analysts believe it’s the control a customer has over the customer experience. In other words: a one-way relationship in which the company holds all the cards and the customer is simply a cog in a bit wheel isn’t going to break any quality records, according to a recent blog post by interactive voice response solutions provider Angel.com (News - Alert).
“A delightful customer experience is a sum of the connections a customer has with the organization over a span of time and the customer needs to feel they have a voice in the relationship every step of the way,” writes Angel.com’s Amy Brennan. “Some businesses understand the value of keeping an ongoing and consistent dialogue with their customers and have built a system that ensures the customer experience across any channel – phone, Web, social media, etc. – remains positive and personalized to their needs.
This is perhaps why customers have taken so well to social media as a customer contact channel: it enables them to retain more control over the conversation. After all, a phone call is a one-to-one experience between customer and company. A social media contact can bring dozens, hundreds or even thousands of observers of the interaction onto the side of the customer.
At the same time, companies are struggling to find the right way to support customers via social-media: it’s labor-intensive and there is less room for error. Brennan recommends five tasks companies should engage in when interacting with customers if the goal is to boost customer delight and provide the customer with the feeling that the interaction is a two-way street.
These include listening to the customer – really listening; being available, since nothing puts customers off faster than having to wait to have their issue addressed; consistency between media channels, including social media; creativity in how companies engage with customers to help them stand out from the herd; and spontaneous outreach in periodically engaging with the customer with a timely offer or suggestion.
In this way, companies are better able to create an ongoing, two-way conversation with the customer which accomplishes a number of things: it boosts customers’ feeling of control over the relationship, it helps prevent misunderstandings and confusion that can escalate into problems, and it creates more touch points between company and customer that can result in more revenue.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli