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Why customer experience programs can run into problems

Here are five of the mistakes that are repeated by customer experience initiatives all too often: 

customer business using automation
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There surely isn’t a business on the planet that doesn’t hope it can delight its customers with a great customer experience. Even the most disappointing business hopefully doesn’t set out to leave customers with a bad taste in their mouths: it just fails to take the right steps to yield a positive outcome.

Increasingly, businesses set out to “delight” their customers as a way to differentiate themselves from the pack. The idea of delighting customers is that it will create a strong positive association in the mind of the customer as pertains to the business in question. Positive associations mean customer loyalty, which means sustained (and increasing) spending over time.

But while businesses may understand the value of the customer experience, many fail to deliver successful programs. That’s despite the fact that, thanks to the advent of tools like Customer Journey Analytics, it’s easier than ever for businesses to stay on top of this all-important area.

Here are five of the mistakes that are repeated by customer experience initiatives all too often: 

They fail to operate effectively at scale

Why does your local independent bookshop still exist in a world in which giant booksellers are a thing? Simply put: Because they offer a bespoke service. Walk into a small, successful bookstore and you’ll find knowledgeable employees and a curated selection of products targeted at the local market. The result is a wonderful customer experience — and one that’s very difficult to replicate on a bigger scale. 

Scaling a customer experience service can be challenging, sometimes resulting in lower quality solutions in the interests of expediency. Consider, for example, the replacement of humans to answer questions with low quality chatbots.

Although chatbots can play a valuable role in offering good customer service, helping to answer simple questions while routing more complex ones through to the right person, fully replacing humans with chatbots can negatively impact the customer experience.

They don’t treat it with enough seriousness

A customer experience program doesn’t just happen. While it’s absolutely true that these programs grow and develop over time, they also need to be afforded priority status by an organization.

Not every company can afford to pump endless dollars into programs designed to delight customers. What they can do is to make sure that it is taken seriously and given the resources that are available to help it. 

For starters, businesses must make sure that the customer experience program has proper ownership, meaning an individual who is responsible for the quality and success of the program’s offering. The more they are able to understand about strategies, business analytics, and the like, the more effective they will be. 

They fail to give employees autonomy

This is essential. It’s also an extension of the previous point. When it comes to offering a good customer experience, employees should be empowered. This starts at the top with the person with whom the customer experience program buck stops. They must have the authority afforded them in order to be successful. 

But employees throughout the company who have a customer-facing role should also have a degree of autonomy. Giving them the responsibility and ability to make judgment calls regarding surprising and delighting customers can make a big difference — not just for customers, but also the empowerment (and, therefore, job satisfaction) of employees.

They do not keep track of customer expectations

One of the most famous quotes from the classic movie Annie Hall is about how relationships are just like sharks — because they need to continually move forward or they die. Customer expectations are a bit like sharks in this way, too.

Think back to your earliest experience of buying a product on the internet and then compare it with your expectations today. If you were shopping for books or CDs online in the late 1990s or early 2000s, chances are that you’d be happy to wait a week for an item to turn up. Longer was not unusual.

Today, Amazon has conditioned a generation that same-day delivery isn’t only possible; it should be standard. The same is true with on-demand services like Netflix or Spotify, which provide what customers want the second they want them. Predictive algorithms can even help guess what people want before they know themselves. 

Organizations must stay attuned to changing customer expectations and be able to deliver in line with these demands. If the goal of your service isn’t just delivering as promised, but actually “delighting” the customer, you’ll have to stay even further ahead on the curve.

They do not measure

If it matters, then measure. In an age of data and data analytics, tools like Customer Journey Analytics can help tease out valuable data points about the ways that customers interact with certain products and services. This can help organize customer data, as well as analyze behavior, and shape omnichannel customer journeys. 

Most customers would probably struggle to give you an exact number to describe how loyal they are to a particular business. However, by using new technologies, it’s possible to glean game-changing insights into the way that customers act. That can help lead to an improved customer experience. That’s a great thing for both businesses and customers alike.

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