Any company working in a service-oriented industry has accepted the fact that customer experience is a big deal, huge in fact. Gone are the days that companies focus solely on customer service, customer experience is the next best thing, and rightly so. Companies that excel at customer experience enhance their brand reputation, earn more customers, reduce churn and increase their revenues and profits. These are really powerful benefits, but how does your company excel at the customer experience? You need to develop a robust customer experience strategy that includes customer experience training. Before we dive into your strategy, let’s define what customer experience is.
Customer Experience vs. Customer Service
According to Hubspot, “the best way to define customer experience is as the impression you leave with your customer, resulting in how they think of your brand, across every stage of the customer journey. Multiple touchpoints factor into the customer experience and these touchpoints occur on a cross-functional basis.” While many companies may use customer service and customer experience interchangeably, customer service is only a single touchpoint with a brand, while customer experience encompasses the entire customer journey. Since customer experience impacts all areas of your business, it’s important that you create a comprehensive customer experience strategy that includes customer experience training at various intervals.
Developing Your Customer Experience Strategy
According to FinancesOnline, customer experience strategies that are driven from the top of your executive team downwards and that receive feedback from the bottom-up are most successful. This ensures that all functional teams are engaged and involved. Once your strategy team is assembled, you’ll want to identify what customer experience goals you’re looking to achieve. For example, perhaps you’re looking to generate new customers or drive revenue with existing customers. Your customer experience goals should be measurable and align with the overarching goals of your business.
Once your goals are set, you’ll then want to map your customers’ journey from start to finish. We’ll assume that you already know who your customers are; and that you’ve developed customer personas to gain a better understanding of their values, preferences, pain points and challenges. With this knowledge, you’ll be better able to plot your customers’ journey.
The customer journey is the series of steps a customer takes when making a transaction or completing an interaction with your brand. It includes all major customer touchpoints, channels and communication preferences. This comprehensive map of touchpoints lays the foundation for fine-tuning your strategy. Once the touchpoints are mapped you can analyze each point to identify the most effective, efficient and rewarding process for your customers. Focus on what you can do to solve any problems your customers might experience at each touchpoint or where you might be able to provide extra value so that your customers have a superior experience. Continually look for ways to improve and deliver consistent, optimized and personalized experiences that increase customer engagement and loyalty.
Customer Experience Training
To successfully implement a customer experience strategy your company’s culture needs to align with customer centricity and your employees need to adopt this mindset. Developing your employees with customer experience capabilities is critical for success. You need to ensure that your employees have the right tools and techniques to consistently deliver a superior experience.
To achieve this, a good portion of your training curriculum should be customized to your business. Include company-specific scenarios, language, and examples when developing your content to ensure that your training is realistic and engaging. It’s important that you clearly communicate what your customers’ expectations are so that your employees can deliver on those expectations.
Investing in customer service and soft skills training for your customer-facing employees prepares them to communicate more effectively. Developing critical thinking skills helps your team to recognize and resolve any problems, make informed decisions, and rectify any issues while delivering meaningful customer service.
More importantly, customer-facing employees who do not have access to ongoing customer experience training are likely to lose their customer focus. Therefore, training is a critical component of your customer experience strategy. Ongoing training will help to keep your employees engaged while reinforcing your customer experience strategy and principles. So, let me conclude with my opening questions, is training part of your customer experience strategy?
Susan Distasio | eLearning Industry Crusader | ePath Learning, Inc.
About the Author: Susan Distasio is an eLearning Industry Crusader focused on advocating for advancement and change in the eLearning and professional development industry. An avid seeker of knowledge and continuous improvement, Susan is happy to share her research, observations, and thoughts regarding “all things related to learning and development.” When she’s not out on the learning crusade, Susan can be found with the wind in her hair riding her Harley or simply enjoying life with her husband, Steve, and her Siamese cat, Elvis, and with family and friends.