“When building a business model for success, it goes without saying that customer satisfaction should be ingrained within the very fabric of your mission.”
The nature of business has changed dramatically over the past decade. Customers now have more choice than ever over which products and services they buy, putting control over which firms succeed in the marketplace firmly in their hands. In today’s business landscape where the customer is king, providing a first-class customer experience is crucial to remaining competitive.
The importance of customer satisfaction does not discriminate between industries, nor does it go unnoticed amongst customers themselves. In the UK, research shows that they are paying more attention to customer experience than ever; the UK Institute of Customer Service (UKCSI) found that nearly a third of consumers prioritise excellent customer experience even if it costs more. When developing a business model for success, it goes without saying that customer satisfaction should be ingrained within the very fabric of your mission.
What Does Good Customer Experience Look Like?
From a technology vendor perspective the goal is clear: to provide and maintain a high-quality customer experience. The experience provided should align with the company’s core brand philosophy and values to ensure that the journey for the customer is consistent from start to finish. A bad customer experience, whilst sometimes subjective, can spread like wildfire in today’s socially-driven world and cause considerable damage to a brand.
A good selling strategy is pivotal to success with customers, but it can be challenging to decide on whether to focus on products or services? Those firms which come out on top offer a mix of both to suit ever-changing customer needs and preferences.
Let’s Talk Customer Service
The UKCSI found that companies with high levels of customer satisfaction also had high levels of trust – that’s no coincidence. A company that fails to prioritise the customer experience will ultimately face challenges in attracting and retaining new customers – one bad experience can last several years and will encourage a customer to avoid a brand for a long period of time.
Take for example a company that provides wireless connectivity to large venues like arenas for music concerts or stadiums for football matches that seat tens of thousands. Technology failure during these types of events can impact on marketing deals, Wi-Fi connectivity and, ultimately the fan experience, reflecting badly on the connectivity company in question.
Your competitors will claim that they too offer top-notch customer support and service, but if you achieve a 100 percent in-sourced technical support centre with 24-hour service available seven days a week, you will hold a market advantage. Further, if you take the time to understand the customer’s end goal, not just immediate need, you have the ability to increase their success and ultimately decrease their need for additional support, in turn further enhancing a customer-centric company reputation.
How Can You Put Customer Satisfaction at the Heart of your Business Model?
When committing to going the distance to embed customer experience in your company, the three key tenets for success are:
1. Be Contactable
Primary in any customer service infrastructure is how a customer can contact a company. It may seem evident to some to make services available on all devices, but this is an area where some companies still fall down. This is true also of social media; customers are asking for assistance on Facebook and Twitter, but, as is the case for many companies, such requests fall on deaf ears. In putting customer experience at the heart of a business model, all forms of personalised communications need to be accommodated for, with responses tailored to each individual customer.
2. Be Adaptable
It’s crucial that, as a company, customers can contact you in a medium that suits their needs. For example, customers have become more self-sufficient when it comes to seeking out answers to product inquiries or support issues, so customer portals have become incredibly valuable tools. Portals can be used not only as sources of information, but also as sources of adoption of different products and services.
3. Be Supportive
The infrastructure layer of networking, wireless, security, data centre, virtualization and unified computing systems is the backbone that supports the customer experience. Built on this foundation are the web, portals and apps that ultimately deliver what the customer experiences from their device. To gain that positive customer experiences, enable the uniqueness of the customer by providing a common and stable underpinning of technology and services beginning with the network fabric and extending through the services layers.
If you deliver a stellar experience across the entire customer journey from beginning-to-end you will cut through the noise. In a landscape where customers have limited time to consume information, a service which is quick, user-friendly and accessible will help firms remain competitive. With brand reputations in the hands of our customers, it is imperative that excellent customer service is the bedrock of all business models.
Image Credit: Jacek Dudzinski / Shutterstock