How to Give a Great Customer Experience
It seems everyone is talking about it right now, customer experience
that is. But what does it really mean? In this article I will take an
in-depth look at
customer experience and how to provide a great one.
But first, let's look at customer satisfaction – a relative term
attributed to the sense of fulfillment a customer feels after every
transaction he makes. These
days, the customer is engaged in multi-channel experience which gives rise to the feeling of being satisfied or not.
At this time, the notion of customer satisfaction has become more of an ongoing experience rather than an end in itself; thus, the term customer experience (also known as CX, CEM or Customer Experience Management).
If you are a customer service agent or manager, good questions to ponder upon are these:
How did you satisfy your customer?
When he hung up, walked away, or read your reply, how did he feel?
How were you, as a front-liner in the context of the client-customer relationship?
Factors Affecting Customer Experience
It would be good to look at the factors affecting customer experience
before moving on to the tips of enhancing it. Here they are:
The client-customer channel
The channels where customers experience services can be personal, online, over the phone, or by mail. Undeniably, personal interaction with the customer gives the best potential of a positive experience.
This is because the
Customer Service Representative has the best shot at making amends to
the customer for
something that was not done right the first time, something that was
never done, or something that is being requested for. The other
are avenues where the front-liner needs to engage in limited ways of
satisfying what a customer needs. Then again, it’s the experience that
The customer’s attitude
Customers approach their clients or front-liners with a relative degree of expectation. In the customer’s mind, what he intends to ask or to accomplish may or may not be granted or fulfilled given intervening factors that involve company policies, the nature of his purpose, and the demeanor of the person he will be dealing with. Naturally, the customer is prone to react if he is frustrated. This is where the third factor comes in.
The CSR's attitude
Some Things can never be done. Some customer requests can never be fulfilled. This is because front-liners operate in an environment regulated by company
rules. But even so, there are options that front-liners can resort to as alternatives to meeting customer expectations. If the front-liner is not keen enough, he will miss the chance of saving the customer experience when it is about to fall into shambles.
With these factors in mind, here are my tips to provide a positive customer experience.
How to Give a Great Customer Experience
1. Acknowledge the customer
Whether a customer comes for problems, inquiries, or complains, it is your duty as the Customer Service Agent or Rep to acknowledge the customer’s purpose. A common mistake CSRs sometimes makes is when she thinks that a customer’s question is ridiculous. Remember: the customer comes to you because he does
not know what to think, what to do, or who to approach. So regardless of his purpose being ridiculous or not, it is your duty to give the best answer.
2. Apologize when things go wrong
Not every company is perfect so there is a room for mistakes. However, only a few companies acknowledge their mistakes. As a front-liner, it is your duty to
apologize for something that has gone wrong. Do it not because you are taught to do so but because of human nature. If the same thing happens to you and no
one apologizes, you’ll end up just like the customer you ignored.
3. Confirm understanding
Sometimes, customers approach front-liners and rant. They rant that what they originally come for is lost and the front-liner is confused about what the real
issue is. The only way to get past this is to confirm understanding of the problem. Customers will not get back at you for asking for confirmation. In fact, most of them appreciate it. So as a front-liner, do not be hesitant to ask.
Sometimes, apologies are not enough. If a customer comes with a grievance, the least that you can do is to acknowledge, apologize, and empathize. When you empathize, avoid a condescending tone. It is true that you may not have experienced what the customer has just had but think about how you might feel in the same situation in case it happens to you.
5. Deliver time-bound results
Be honest when the turnaround time for a resolution is not certain. This will surely frustrate customers, but one way to alleviate the situation is to offer to get in touch with the customer every time an update is done. And you do not have to call the customer personally or make him return from time to time. A short text, email or voicemail will suffice to let the customer know that his situation is being looked at.
6. Offer options
If the customer does not like a specific product or service, if he does not like the way things are being done, or if he cannot do something he wants through
you, do not dismiss him saying it is not possible. Instead, offer available options – things that you can do which has a similar result from what the customer is
trying to do.
After everything else is done, ask for confirmation from the customer if his problems were handled just fine. And one way to focus on the customer experience itself is to ask him how he finds the experience. That should give you an idea about how to deal with similar situations in the future.