The act of providing servicing a customer has always historically been initiated by the customer, inherently creating a relationship of constant reactivity. Support staff were put in place at key interaction points (typically, when it was time to buy and to be there if something ever went wrong).
As time went on, businesses added other critical interaction points that impacted revenue over time – these included the research phase as well as the onboarding period which assisted in leveraging the softer elements of service such as brand and relationship. In the end however, Customer Service was largely reactive in nature, focusing on the discreet interaction between someone or something representing your company and your customer.
Customer Experience on the other hand focuses on the aggregate of both the discreet interactions addressed in Customer Service as well as all of the other pieces that make up your customer’s perception of your company.
Infinite Opportunities To Shine.. Or Fail.
“..all of the other pieces that make up your customer’s perception..” sounds like a lot, but consider this:
Customers have a near infinite number of ways to find out about you. They can ask a friend or colleague. They can search online about your financials or stock information. They can ask competitors. They can ask other customers of yours. They go to your website. They check out comparison shopping sites. Amongst all of these options, do you know what everyone is saying about you?
Managing this massive opportunity requires a heavy dose of proactive management. It also requires you to know your customers. You need to know where they are going for research, who they are talking to for advice, and who the leaders in those fields are. This is just one example of when being proactive is critical to success – once you dive in, you’ll see that there are several other efforts where being proactive is the difference between acceptable and exceptional.
Where Customer Service is often highly reactive, Customer Experience requires you to proactively understand your customer’s habits and where they are obtaining information thatfeeds into their perception of your company.
Do You Hear The Words That Are Coming Out Of My Mouth?
A critical piece of effective Customer Experience is knowing where to set up your listening posts, understanding how to interpret that information, and then turning that information into actionable work that can be used to further enhance the customer’s overall perception of your company. If you’re not listening in the right places, then you’re listening to the wrong people – the background noise – that can potentially drive you to focus on the wrong projects.
Where Customer Service works to resolve all possible issues, Customer Experience often focuses on feedback from the most valuable segments of the prospect and customer base to understand how to increase overall loyalty and satisfaction.
Customer Service is a huge component of both an effective Customer Experience implementation and a solid business model. However, it is important to focus on both the reactive and proactive to ensure you are continually working to align your business with the right customers for you.
Next, we’ll talk about Customer Experience Truth #4 – Customer Experience is about the successful marriage of Perception, Emotion, and Logic.