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Why customer experience matters when your customer service fails

Oct 25 • Features, Management • 1482 Views • No Comments on Why customer experience matters when your customer service fails

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Today’s market does not lend itself to brand loyalty, and with the growing commoditisation of services, field service organisations are increasingly finding they need to focus on customer experience to differentiate themselves from the competition writes Rachael Pullen of Leadent Service Cloud.

This doesn’t have to mean anything exciting or flashy – but it does mean thinking holistically about the customer’s experience.

If we’re honest, we’re all aware that despite a company’s best endeavours, systems will have glitches and humans will make mistakes. It happens. How you deal with it when it does, is what can make or break your brand’s reputation.

At this point the brand in question had the opportunity to put things right, to appease my anger in some way and leave me feeling slightly better about the experience and the company. But instead they passed me from pillar to post

Recently, when I decided to re-fit my kitchen, I went all out and bought some new white goods from a well-known brand. The customer service was great, until my order arrived – without my oven. After an infuriating 30 minutes on the phone to the customer service department, through 3 different advisors, I was advised that the oven was out of stock and they wouldn’t be able to re-deliver for another 3 weeks.

At this point the brand in question had the opportunity to put things right, to appease my anger in some way and leave me feeling slightly better about the experience and the company. But instead they passed me from pillar to post, and now I am still waiting for them to reply to my complaint email about the incident.

The result? I re-ordered through a competitor.

The competitor did all the same things as the first – email confirmation, text message confirmation, 1-hour delivery window etc. But, when something went wrong – in this case the delivery driver was delayed by traffic – they rang to inform me. Gave me the option to reschedule if it wasn’t convenient.

Simple, but effective. A completely different customer experience.

As for the first brand – they’ve lost me as a customer forever. The second brand not only gained a customer, but I have recommended them to people I know and via social media – creating that marketing gold ‘word of mouth’ that service brands crave.

Very few people or organisations are willing to put up with average service regardless of the product/service features they bought in the first place.

Whether it’s a consumer example like mine, or a business-to-business situation, the expectation of a seamless experience remains paramount for customers. Very few people or organisations are willing to put up with average service regardless of the product/service features they bought in the first place. So this is where service businesses gain their competitive advantage. But it’s not as simple as just wanting to provide a good service to customers. The processes and tools need to be in place to enable excellent service, in a cost effective way that won’t lead to a net increase in operating costs.

For field- and customer service managers, achieving that balance between cost and service is the ultimate goal. But a true focus on customer experience means taking it one step further; it’s not just about putting yourself in their shoes, but about collaborating. It’s thinking not just about the purchasing experience, but about everything that comes after and around that. It’s about recognising the myriad of other factors which can impact on the overall experience. Aspects such as appointment windows, first time fix, communications, and follow-ups are all components, but they need to be viewed holistically, rather than as isolated contact points. Achieve that and the benefits will flow in terms of customer satisfaction and cost.

In the world of service things sometimes go wrong, that’s life – how organisations respond and revive the customer’s experience is what really matters.

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