Customer experience is the business buzzword of the moment. According to a Forrester report, 72% of companies say that improving customer experience is their top priority for 2017. In fact, out of the $30B annually invested in corporate training in the U.S., the bulk is concentrated in leadership and customer service skills development. As customers are inundated with choice and information in the e-commerce fueled economy, companies grapple for market share by capitalizing on the customer experience.
But what if companies are missing the mark on what makes customer experience? What if the customer cares about price of product more than quality of customer service? In this instance, a company should limit investment in customer service and find a way to reduce cost structure to provide the price-conscious customer with a solution that still contributes to a healthy bottom line.
In the Harvard Business Review article “The Truth About Customer Experience,” authors Alex Rawson, Ewan Duncan, and Conor Jones describe the importance of focusing on the customer’s end-to-end journey: “…the narrow focus on maximizing satisfaction at those [customer touchpoints] can create a distorted picture…[diverting] attention from the bigger-and more important-picture.”
I have worked with clients who concentrate obsessively on being the best at everything they do. That’s the only way to win customer loyalty, right? This obscure approach to customer experience, however, often leads companies down the wrong path. They end up investing in aspects of the business that customers don’t care about.
In order to improve the overall customer experience, companies must understand what the customers want. The easiest way to obtain this information is to ask. I am a big proponent of quick and convenient customer surveys. Once management recognizes the progress that their product or service is making for their target customer, processes can evolve to narrow in on these specific customer needs. The organization can restructure to serve narrowly-defined objectives that get to the root of the customer experience.