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Second to None

Five Qualities of Customer Experience Leaders

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Found in:    joyX | Consumer Products or Services | Financial Services | Healthcare | Restaurants | Retail/Ecommerce

Emulating the best aspects of successful brands is a key aspect for brands hoping to differentiate their Customer Experience from the rest of the competition. Imitation is the best form of flattery, and in this case, it can serve as a tool to improving your organization’s ability to form customer relationships. Understanding what qualities do or do not fit within your own organizational structure can help your team better establish a brand identity. To learn more, check out William Craig’s piece for Forbes. You can access the piece by clicking here, or by reading below: 

This piece was originally published by Forbes on January 4, 2018.

“There are some things you just can’t take for granted. We’re here today to discuss two of them.

The first is company culture. It’s easy to believe just assembling a team of folks with a common cause is enough to “generate” the values and qualities you need for success. But as a business leader, you’re the one who has to set the tone — it doesn’t just develop.

The second thing you can’t take for granted is customer experience.

You might think there’s a big disconnect between the first element and the second, but successful companies know better. You can’t build a great customer experience — and improve it over time — unless you invest first in developing the following five qualities and making them a part of your company’s culture, identity and commitment to excellence.

1. Empathy for Others

Empathy is the ability to see the world through somebody else’s eyes. We perform minor feats of empathy nearly every day at work and in business.

We have to picture ourselves placing an order or interacting with a graphic interface or dialing the number for customer service. It might also mean learning about how your intended customers engage with you and your services. Do they come to your blog for product guides and other information? Are they active on Facebook or Instagram? Meet them wherever they are.

Empathy isn’t just an essential human emotion — it’s also paramount for making sure your efforts are meeting the right needs.

2. A Focus on Core Products and Strengths

The idea of focus is very broad, so let’s limit our conversation to a particular type — a commitment to what your company does exceptionally well.

There’s a very good chance many of your customers came to you with a specific need or want. They likely took a chance on you because you made a case that your widget is the very best of its kind anywhere in the industry.

At this point, you might be tempted to “pivot” or “diversify.” Adding another type of product to your stable, or even several, might sound like a great plan — but it could compromise your customer experience in some key ways.

By focusing on the products you know inside and out, you can continue to innovate within that space and give your customers something new. Just don’t bite off more than you can chew by investing in product lines that don’t provide value or gobble up resources you could use elsewhere.

3. An Eye for Efficiency

Waste and duplicated effort are two of the biggest enemies of company efficiency and customer experience alike. If you’re taking five steps to do what other companies accomplish in just two or three, you’re leaving money on the table and disillusioned customers in your wake.

According to research, most consumers tend to be quite picky about their experiences as capitalists. About one-quarter of customers are willing to switch to a different company or provider after the very first bad experience.

Limiting “touch points” is a critical part of a smooth and customer-friendly operation. It’s pretty common to think about onboarding new customers, billing, maintaining contact and performing service calls as discrete and siloed processes, but that’s not how customers think.

They think about their relationship with your brand as a journey. If big sections of that journey are disconnected, poorly implemented or seem to exist in isolation from the rest of your business, your customers might start to look elsewhere for a more cohesive experience.

4. A Sense of Global Citizenship

Research has finally made official what most of us have suspected for years — we all want to make choices we can feel good about. Increasingly, that means seeking out companies with values and mission statements that maintain awareness of their place in a global context.

More consumers than ever before are willing to do a little more research, or even go without certain goods and services, if it means doing business with more ethical organizations. Your pro-social focus can be nearly anything, but it has to start somewhere:

  • Maybe you make a point to hire former felons or veterans.
  • Maybe your team members donate some of their time to local charity efforts.
  • Maybe you were the first business in your community to install solar panels and batteries.

Whatever it is, make it a part of your brand identity. Don’t force it, either — you probably don’t have to look very far to find a social issue that’s worth your attention as a business leader. Your employees and customers alike will see and appreciate your passion for your chosen cause — and will feel better about their partnership with you as a result.

5. A Tasteful Respect for Technology

We’re all doing great things with modern technology. It’s empowering our inventors, thinkers, creators and consumers to broaden our horizons and improve our world. But it can also be a huge irritant and distraction.

We mentioned already that you should spend some time engaging with your customers on the media and social networks they know and love. Technology is already a part of their lives, and you can use it to stay in touch with them, tell them about your new innovations and efforts, and ultimately keep them excited about what you do and how you do it.

Just note that a little goes a long way. It’s really easy for your emails, pokes, prods, tweets, flicks and likes to overstay their welcome. You can, and should, use technology to enhance the activities your customers already engage in. But adding tech-based functionality for its own sake isn’t tasteful and it isn’t a great way to keep your customers loyal.

World-Class Customer Experience = World-Class Profits

It probably won’t surprise you to learn this, but companies that regularly take stock of how well they are, or aren’t, answering customer needs are far more successful than those that don’t. These are the companies that recognize each sale isn’t just a sale — it’s a little journey we undertake with money we worked to earn. At the end of the day, there might be just one quality your company needs to stand out from the rest and impress your customers — being worthy of several kinds of trust.”

Second To None empowers customer-centric brands to deliver consistent, intentional and authentic consumer experiences.

We adeptly design and manage mystery shopping, compliance, engagement and voice of customer solutions grounded in strategic relevance, program integrity and actionable insights. Our solutions are developed on the basis of solid research and statistical science. We achieve success through a relentless focus on quality and innovation, consultative relationships and a talented team of professional associates.