Customer Experience: It’s Our Business, It’s Our Passion
SingleStone CEO, Chris Little, discusses customer experience and why it is of paramount importance to your business.
At SingleStone, we help our customers delight their customers. This is not just a side effect of what we do; this is the focus of every project and the guidepost for every decision we make. Customer Experience: It's our business. It's our expertise. It's our passion. Our conversations and collaborations, our strategies and tactics, our execution and metrics, they all center on enhancing Customer Experience. This in turn leads to achieving better business results.
So what is Customer Experience? While the professional discipline Customer Experience Management might not be familiar to you, its focus—customer experience—is as familiar to you as motherhood and apple pie.
In the past month, have you eaten at a restaurant, entered a store, used an ATM, or called Customer Service? If yes, then you know customer experience pre-2000. In the past month, have you purchased a product online, paid a bill or transferred funds online, or emailed a service or product provider? If yes, then you know customer experience post-2000.
In the past month, have you read a review online, written such a review, used Facebook to share and read consumer experiences, or conducted any form of business using your smartphone? If yes, then you know customer experience post-2010.
You are a customer. Sometimes you're a delighted customer, other times disappointed, most times somewhere in-between. You have customer experiences many times each day and your experiences as a customer have a meaningful impact on your life. And to help you connect customer experience to its impact on conventional business results, think of your best and worst customer experiences and how each one influenced your future business with the merchant or product. Think also of how you then influenced your friends' choices with your stories of delight or despair.
The good news for you as a customer is that you have more power now than ever before.
Compared to 15 years ago, you have dozens more merchant choices—right at your fingertips—and they're all competing for your business. You are much better informed about product qualities and product choices. No longer relying on empty promises propped up by mighty marketing and subjective salesmanship, you're informed and empowered by thousands of reviews by customers just like you, who have firsthand experience of merchants and products. And finally, thanks to social media, when you're a delighted or frustrated customer and you want to tell the world, you can. Your voice really counts.
According to industry research, "after a poor experience, 26% of consumers posted a negative comment on a social networking site," "50% of consumers give a brand one week to respond before they stop doing business" and "86% of consumers say they would pay more for a better customer experience." Forrester Research describes this era in business as the Age of the Customer, where "empowered buyers demand a new level of customer obsession."1 The power truly has shifted to the customer. And this is not only very good for customers; it is also very good for business. More than ever, integrity and delightful customer experience are paramount to conventional business success, and even survival.
In addition to higher standards of service, customers today expect a more holistic customer experience...
...spanning the full lifecycle of the relationship across all channels, from in-store visits to online bill payment to mobile alerts. Customers want to know they're dealing with the same company, standing by its unique brand promise that initially attracted them. No longer are the interactions independent and isolated; they must tie together in a consistent and unified manner. In this regard, Apple really sets the standard in that one's experience using an Apple product is consistent with the experience of navigating Apple's website or visiting an Apple store. In all cases the experience is simple and intuitive.
The trend toward higher expectations reflects a permanent shift in consumer behavior. In the past, the customer was captive and had far less power. Struggling to have just our functional needs met, we subordinated our feelings. Now the customer is king. Functional needs and competitive prices are becoming table stakes. Customers want to feel good too. We want to be treated like human beings.
Since our inception, SingleStone has focused precisely where our clients meet their customers.
Whether building an online store for a world famous rock band or simplifying call center processes for a Fortune 100 credit card company, we've helped our clients serve their customers better, improve customer relationships, and drive business growth.
Founded with a primary focus on providing positive human experiences for our employees, that foundational commitment has naturally expanded to include our communities, our clients, and their customers. We believe that even in the business context we are still all fundamentally human and so we engineer our strategies and solutions for the human experience, demonstrating how this translates to improved business results too.
More and more, enlightened business leaders are embracing the Age of the Customer and focusing attention on improving and unifying the experience of their customers at every point of contact. They understand that the first step toward building a great customer experience is asking a few basic questions:
- "What is my customers' experience?"
- "What are they telling their friends about me?"
- "How can I be sure?"
- "Am I measuring the right things?"
- "What can I do to improve my customers' experience?"
- "What will happen if I don't?"
If you're asking these questions...
...we'd love to help you discover the answers and advance your journey to consistently delight your customers.
1. "Competitive Strategy In The Age Of The Customer," Forrester Report, June 6, 2011