At a recent client meeting, I had the pleasure of witnessing the accolades poured upon our sales and account services team by a more than satisfied client. While sitting there, I couldn’t help but think about what a difference it makes when a client’s experience actually measures up to their expectations.
I mention this not to pat SourceLink’s back but because it so clearly illustrated what delivering on expectations means to the customer. Like all businesses, we put our best foot forward when advertising in our markets. And like every other business, we set expectations on what our customers’ experience will be.
You’ve probably heard that the fastest way to put your company out of business is to create wildly successful advertising that the company can’t deliver on. Bad enough if you disappoint a few customers – a real catastrophe if thousands are left wanting.
So, it should not come as a surprise that Forrester’s Global Customer Service Peer Research Panel Online Survey found that 93% of responders said that customer experience is at or near the top of their strategic priorities for 2012. And 75% of these executive respondents aimed to differentiate their businesses based on customer experience. Furthermore, improving the online customer experience was the most common (77%) objective. Yet 54% of responders felt their companies did not have a clear customer experience strategy in place and that same percentage felt a lack of cooperation across the organization.1 Sound familiar?
The digital age has opened the door to deliver on a customer’s experience at the speed of light. It has mandated that the integration of traditional communication channels with online delivery meet your customers’ and prospects’ expectations. We, as consumers, know what it means to have a customer experience that resonates and reinforces why we decided to give a particular brand our business in the first place. Why would we want anything less for our own customers? Maybe it’s high time we began to monitor our customers’ experience and to share that information with our employees and provide incentives tied to exceptional customer experience metrics.
I wish every one of our clients’ experiences could be like the one I recently witnessed – we all wish that for our businesses. Creating exceptional customer experiences 100% of the time may be a stretch but developing a strategic approach to monitoring, measuring, evaluating and rewarding based on your customers’ experiences is well within our grasp.
1“Forrester Research, Inc., The State of Customer Experience, 2012; April, 2012”.