Opinion: What is customer experience?

by Oyefeso Oluwafemi

The-Thin-Line-Between-Customer-Satisfaction-And-Loyalty

For companies to effectively leverage on the Customer Experience there must be a high degree of engagement between the company and its employees, with open communication and feedback across various ranks, titles and departments, with the aim of improving the employees’ attitude towards the customer.

Simply put, Customer Experience is about the overall experience that consumers have while interacting with a company, organization or firm throughout the customer life cycle. This comprises before purchase (through adverts, word of mouth marketing or any other interactions), during purchase, and after purchase (after sales service) experience covering all company touch points.

The onus is on forward thinking companies to ensure that customers have a great and delightful experience throughout their interactions with the company. These company interactions cut across borders ranging from products and services from the private sector to the public sector.

The company which is able to effectively position itself in the heart of its customer will always gain a priority size of the customer’s wallet effortlessly.

For companies to effectively leverage on the Customer Experience there must be a high degree of engagement between the company and its employees, with open communication and feedback across various ranks, titles and departments, with the aim of improving the employees’ attitude towards the customer.

In this new competitive dispensation, mere customer service no longer holds water. Therefore, forward looking companies around the world are reviewing and creating experience-based differentiation to set new standards while establishing cult-like followings. Examples of such companies include Zappos, Starbucks, Apple and GTBank. These companies have been able to create new and refreshing ‘blue ocean strategies’, while leaving their contemporaries to slug it out with slim margins, in the overpopulated and keenly contested ‘red ocean’ market space. Their company financial statements show the true benefits of leveraging on unique customer experiences, while competitors sit down and scratch their head in disbelief.

To enhance and get a better grasp of the Customer Experience, companies need to create a journey map to detail how customer interactions should go when customers relate with their systems, processes, people and products. This diagram will be used to analyze typical customer scenarios and interactions with various touch points. At this stage, critical pain points can be revisited and re-assessed to make processes simpler and less cumbersome to customers. A case in point is a bank’s ability to enable its customers open new accounts online or via social media, with the aim of reducing its customers’ visits to its branches and the associated waiting periods and inconveniences.

It is advisable for companies to get the basics right by removing impeding bottlenecks in their processes and procedures and meeting set expectations, before proceeding to give their customers emotional highs.

Customer Experience takes a healthy dose of creative thinking, thinking like there is no box, breaking rules, being a zillion steps ahead of the customer to anticipate future needs whilst converting these attributes to products and services. Customers readily identify with companies who have been able to discover this Holy Grail, and become referral dispensing machines for such companies thus, building a cult-like followership.

In the final prognosis, organizations need to adopt an outside-in approach to view the customer experience from the customer’s perspective. After this, all good things, like growth, profit and expansions that are paramount to C-suite executives will naturally follow.

 

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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