Many large companies approach improving its customer experiences differently. Most common approaches come from the perspective of customer support solutions, user experience design, and account management. While these pathways are vitally important, more businesses could benefit from looking at customer experience through the lens of productivity.
The bottom line is when you think about agile and efficient business solutions; customer experience needs to be included.
What is the customer experience?
Let’s start with the basics. To understand the relationship between customer experience and productivity, you should know what customer experience is and how to prioritize it in your organization.
Good customer experience takes into account the entire lifecycle of your prospect and customer. It starts with the awareness stage, through to consideration, decision, and after-sale interactions. Think of it this way: creating positive customer experiences means your prospects and customers trust your company, have good feelings about your brand, and would likely recommend you to others.
To create these remarkable customer experiences, you should actively be putting them first in your priorities. Following up to ensure they are satisfied with their purchase. You can do this through personalized messages and tailored content that helps to address some of their questions or problems, or merely expressing your appreciation for them. These are all activities you can do right now to make the customer experience better.
What is the difference between customer experience and customer service?
While similar, customer experience and customer service are not to be confused. Both are likely important in your organization, we can think of the difference in a relatively simple way: Customer service is expected to help customers troubleshoot issues, file complaints, provide feedback, or request something. On the other hand, customer experience is more proactive and constant.
If you have reliable products and services, you hopefully won’t need too much customer service activities, but especially if you have a strong model of customer experience. That’s because when you always carefully considering the customer, and how you as a company can be most helpful and transparent and pleasant, there may be less of a likelihood that your customers will be dissatisfied enough to require service.
Your customer experience and customer service should also work in tandem because one of the essential qualities of a successful business (and successful customer experience) is consistency.
Why is customer experience so relevant?
From the business perspective, customer experience is vital because the changing consumer expectations mean that the demand for companies to provide quality and value, isn’t enough. With competition across markets becoming tougher, to stand out, companies have to be providing exceptional service and memorable experiences.
Moreover, repeat sales are accounting for a much bigger piece of the revenue pie. When we can provide the right kinds of customer experiences that generate loyalty and recurring business from existing customers, they tend to spend much more over their lifetime, create referral opportunities, and cost less for an acquisition than new sales.
Customer experience efforts should be productive.
How do customer experience and productivity work together? The best customer experiences are not just the ones that are thorough and high quality, but also appropriate in timing and efficiency. If we aren’t servicing our customers within a timeframe that matches their expectations, we may lose them forever. Engagement and customer experience must be prioritized for you to deliver what your customers want in real-time.
Businesses should look to encourage customer experience implementation that is efficient and scalable. You can do so through defining how to prioritize values of customer experience, creating an environment that enables employee’s productivity, and thinking about customers achievement. Giving your team some productivity tips can help. The key is to implement the right values, and workplace culture focused around productivity.
Enabled employees to improve customer experience.
What is customer experience as it relates to productivity? With compelling customer experiences, your customers should feel as though you care about them and their needs, over the needs of your business. They should feel as though each interaction with you is a priority, and that you aren’t trying to find the simplest ways to engage with them. Engaging with your customer in a timely fashion is why the activities you implement for customer experiences, like demos and tutorials, troubleshooting and issue de-escalation, and account management and sales, need to be based on productivity.
Let’s take a hypothetical scenario, in which an employee at a SaaS company is assisting a customer. This customer is frustrated with understanding the full capabilities of the product. Customer onboarding may be an essential part of your business, but how do you get this customer up and running as quickly as possible – especially when they are becoming impatient – without sacrificing the quality of service?
It’s important to equip your teams with the right tools (and values) for productivity. Establishing processes for specific circumstances can be a good foundation for ensuring consistency of a customer experience-led organization. You should also consider how to encourage employees to be solutions-oriented. Did you know that Zight (formerly CloudApp) is a productivity tool? The screen recorder, screnshot tool, and GIFmaker all help to save businesses time each day. We regularly see how using the right methods to be efficient and engaging can improve customer relationships significantly. Here are some communication hacks to increase productivity.
Creating memorable customer experiences often has a lot to do with personalization and a human touch. The personalization can be limited by an inability for customer support, sales teams, or account managers, to be efficient. By focusing on the productivity of your staff, they can better prioritize and address customer needs.
Looking to see what can be automated, or where in the process, your staff can focus less on internal tasks and administration, means they have more time and energy to devote to outward-facing activities. Having systems in place that help to identify and alert employees to impending problems, usage data reporting and contract management systems that assist in upsells and renewals, and interactive customer engagement tools, all can encourage promptness and efficiency.
What do you want to help your customers achieve?
Almost all of today’s companies are striving to improve customer’s lives in some way. And a lot of companies are in the actual business of productivity. Even if you may not deem yourself a “productivity tool,” it’s likely that you aim to help private consumers or enterprise customers to achieve a goal in a better, more efficient way.
In being a solutions-oriented organization, the question ‘what do we want to help our customers achieve’ should be a driving force for everything from your brand and marketing, to your product development. Included in this, is your actual internal functions. When you are thinking about productivity from the standpoint of not just doing more in less time for profitability, but in doing more in less time to service customers, then you have a winning mindset. Because, after all, if you can be more productive for the sake of customer experience, you’re more likely to help your customer productivity. Customers who feel that you make their lives better and more efficient will be more likely to become loyalists and generate referral sales.
Using customer experience solutions to improve productivity.
On the flip side, you can think of excellent customer experiences as a productivity hack. Why is customer experience so crucial for your business? Because when you see customer experience as an inherent piece of your company and all that you do, it can encourage employee engagement and better performance overall.
Good customer experiences are productivity hacks for your business. While in some cases, this might be a chicken or the egg scenario, it’s important to note that in modern business cannot exist without creating great customer experiences.
Better customer experience for more productive sales.
Current sales models are changing, in that more focus is being placed on after-sales customer experiences, creating loyalty, and securing repeat business. We now know that allocating resources towards existing customers has a much better return on investment than solely pursuing new sales. So when looking to be more scalable, and to truly harness sustainable growth, all businesses need to be prioritizing those who are already customers, rather than ignoring them for only chasing new markets and opportunities.
In this way, customer experience becomes a productivity tool for sales. Because if we put some effort into creating those significant interactions with those who have already purchased from us, we will be more likely to generate recurring revenue from them. Recurring revenue alleviates pressure, and also the effort that is required to secure sales.
On the other hand, creating great customer experiences (some of which can be automated) also frees up time and resources for sales teams to be seeking out new opportunities. With the right infrastructure in place for customers to feel confident in your business, and satisfied with all the interactions they have with you, the less hard selling and convincing a salesperson will need to do for up-sells or renewals.
In other words, for both recurring sales and new sales, focusing on customer experiences can make your efforts much more productive.
Better experience for more productive business.
Businesses are often looking to improve and streamline internal processes to increase profitability, employee satisfaction, and customer retention. When the business itself is a mess, there is a lack of standardization or importance placed on values and creating the right internal environment for employee engagement; it sometimes doesn’t matter how good your product or business model is – you won’t succeed. Consider why engagement drives the customer experience: when both customers and employees are actively invested together, that is the conditions necessary for creating support, positive sentiment, understanding, and excellent service.
There needs to be an emphasis on the customer experience. Thinking proactively about what you as a company, can do to achieve a high-quality customer experience can affect the entire lifecycle. Then, it’s more likely that you will be able to run your business productively.
Productivity comes down to priorities. For companies who prioritize profits over people, it becomes apparent quickly. For companies who prioritize high ranking leaders and executives over the majority of their employees, it becomes obvious immediately. For companies who prioritize delivering quality and service to customers as a standard for their business, this also becomes obvious quickly.
When customer needs are the driving force for all that you and your company does, it can allow you to be more aligned. When employees feel engaged and positive about what they are doing (such as being helpful and providing value to others), they are more likely to be highly satisfied in their roles, which in turn translates to higher employee productivity.
Productivity and customer experience shouldn’t be viewed as separate issues or not related. In effect, scalable business, productivity affects the quality and timeliness of experiences. When you start to consider these elements as having a close relationship and see how they affect one another, you can especially begin to understand why customer experience is so relevant.
Greater Productivity Through Visuals.
Fourty-five percent of people prefer to learn visually. That is more than kinesthetic (19%) and auditory (36%). We currently live in a world being disrupted by how we communicate. What is Slack? That may have been a phrase someone said five years ago, but the collaborative tool has taken the world by storm. It provided a quicker way to communicate, to connect remote teams, and enhance team culture.
If Slack is Collaboration 1.0, then visuals are Collaboration 2.0. Tools like Zight (formerly CloudApp), Airtable, Calendar, and others that live and breath by visuals. From using Zight (formerly CloudApp) to create the screenshots, GIFs, or screen recordings to attaching those assets to a content calendar on AirTable. These collaborative productivity tools are taking the world by storm and have become the next biggest thing in tech.
Companies big and small are working for ways to get an edge against their competitors, provide better customer experience, and connect remote teams. Communicating visually, both internally and externally can help accomplish these goals.
I am a regular contributor to Read/Write , this was originally posted there. https://readwrite.com/2019/08/26/customer-experience-led-by-productivity/