Recently, customer experience blogger Shep Hyken discussed what makes a customer truly feel connected to a business’ customer loyalty program. Shep makes a great point within his article and calls out the importance of the customer feeling a sense of ownership in the relationship they have the business.
We couldn’t agree more – a delightful customer experience is a sum of the connections a customer has with the organization over a span of time and the customer needs to feel they have a voice in the relationship every step of the way. Some businesses understand the value of keeping an ongoing and consistent dialogue with their customers and have built a system that ensures the customer experience across any channel – phone, web, social media, etc. – remains positive and personalized to their needs.
However, as Annette Franz Gleneicki in her recent post on social media customer service, many companies are struggling to respond to their customers on social media in a timely manner. While social networks open up a wide variety of avenues for customers to connect with companies, organizations need to ensure the relationship they have with their customers on these channels remains consistent with the experience on other channels.
As businesses think about how to build a lasting relationship with their customers that values their loyalty, below are a few thoughts on core ingredients to a more lovable experience:
Listen – A customer experience can (and likely will) quickly go sour if the company doesn’t listen to the customer’s preferences. Positive or negative, incorporating a customer’s feedback into future interactions can go a long way.
Consistency – Social media has really defined what it means to be “always-on.” With this type of outlet available, consistency can be tough. Identify the channels that customers connect with the business and ensure the personnel or technology resources are set-up to ensure each customer is addressed in a timely manner.
Be available – Call wait times are so passé and can result in not only a frustrated customer, but also a lost customer. We’ve found that 26 percent of customers are likely to share their experiences with a friend. Finding a way to lower wait times or reduce the amount of time to solve a customer issue shows the customer that the organization values their business and is putting their needs first.
Creativity is special – We’ve talked about how having fun with your IVR can produce results, with a duck quack no less. Offering something unique in customer interactions can build a connection with the customer that’s significantly different than other companies and develop a stronger level of loyalty. Allowing the customer to suggest ideas and incorporating their feedback could also lead to a fun experience.
Spontaneity never hurts – For the record, spontaneity does not give businesses carte blanche to be creepy and invade any element of customer privacy. However, sending proactive reminders via phone, text or email around upcoming appointments or specials can create a two-way conversation between the customer and the business.
Bottom line: strive to create a customer relationship that values their time, insight and loyalty.
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