Pop quiz! Customer service and customer experience (CX) are the same thing? Did you say yes? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you just lost out on the million dollar question today.
You’re in luck though, because that beautiful consolation prize is none other than a crash course in customer experience with yours truly!
Picture this: you decide to go see a movie at a local theater. Tickets are reasonably priced, you can pick up your favorite snacks, and when all's said and done you’ve seen the movie you planned on seeing. As far as customer service goes, you’re satisfied. You came, you conquered, onto the next.
Don't settle for Darias...
However, say the floors of the theater were sticky with food of patrons past, the seats were rigid and made for an uncomfortable two hours, and the theater itself has seen far better days. Yes, you may be satisfied, but your experience was sorely lacking. Here’s the kicker - without a solid customer experience, customer service means next to nothing.
Foster Minions instead.
We live in a world where most individuals are more than willing to pay a couple dollars extra to secure those reclining seats, new venues, and state of the art amenities - or in other words, the experience. This is especially true with regard to the service industry. Options are plentiful, and more often than not, each option delivers the same end result.
So, what’s the key to standing out amongst your competition? Well, it’s the customer experience, or the overarching atmosphere you, your team, and your company consistently foster. With that high-level understanding in place, let’s take a more granular look.
The Harvard Business Review defines customer experience as “the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company.” What this should tell you is that even if you were unaware of it, your company already has a customer experience in place. For better or for worse, there is already a general feeling or attitude that your clients associate with you, your company, and the services you provide. It is the knowledge of this, and the establishment of your current strengths and weaknesses, that will allow you to determine what the next appropriate steps are. Luckily, if you’re already customer service minded, pivoting to enhance your customer experience proves considerably less difficult, but no less vital.
So at this point, and understandably so, you may be a little jarred by all of this. You may be asking yourself, “How do I determine the current state of our customer experience?” or “What do I do to determine where my company can improve?” Luckily for you, your favorite marketing agency has already gone through this evolution, and we’re going to let you in on the juicy details.
Before you can even think about improving your customer experience, you need to have a firm grasp of where you need that improvement. What you need is to create a customer journey map.
First and foremost, you need to understand your client:
- Who are they?
- What makes them unique?
- What hoops do they have to jump through to get what they want?
- What does their journey with you and your team look like from beginning to end and beyond?
At its simplest, a customer journey map is a timeline of every touchpoint a client has with your brand, from the first time they give you a call all the way through every interaction they have with your brand. It details each. and. every. touchpoint. from your perspective and theirs. This is the keystone to a customer experience plan. It’s where you’ll begin, it’s where you’ll consistently reference, and it’s where you’ll inevitably return.
An example of the initial mapping phase.
Once you’ve outlined what your typical customer’s journey looks like, now you can begin to fill in the gaps. Using information you’ve gathered from clients (either from previous emails/calls/reviews or through surveying them for this express purpose), you’ll want to identify the touch points throughout the journey where clients have consistently expressed frustration or concern. These become known as “pain points.” It’s at these junctions that you and your CX team will want to focus on improving. If you don’t have current legacy data to utilize for determining current pain points, it would be in your best interest to set up either a quarterly or bi-annual survey that would allow clients to voice their honest feedback and opinions. This will allow you to craft and deliver on a successful CX plan over the long run.
It’s a lot to digest, for sure, but this is just scratching the surface of the efforts companies nowadays are putting into developing and maintaining a positive and superior customer experience. Awareness is the first step toward evolution. Acknowledging that the customer experience is key to your success, the happiness of your current clients and to new prosperous leads, has you already geared towards making the necessary pivot. Establishing a team whose focus is strengthening your CX is an investment that will deliver in strides.
Seriously, don’t hesitate, take the bull by the horns and get started today!
Tune in next week to find out how Coalmarch is working to step up our own CX game.
Did you know that your website is a huge part of your overall CX? If you're unsure if your website is providing the best experience for your customers or potential customers, contact us today for a completely free, no-pressure website assessment. We'll take a look at your site from a customer's perspective and give you tips on how you can delight visitors from the moment they first contact you.
Interested in how this can affect your service business? Check out Grow! Inbound Marketing System by Donnie Shelton. He makes the case for CX over CS and lays out how it's relevant to your business, your brand, and your future success.