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Optimizing customer experience - adapt to changing expectations

Why improve customer experience?

Customer experience is about creating an experience for each customer that is based upon knowledge of that individual, delivering it across products and channels and analyzing outcomes to guide ongoing refinements.

Customers no longer want to search store shelves, be told what to buy and stand in queues. They comprehend a company's brand promise by using their eyes, not their ears to hear what is being said. 'Customer satisfaction' is directly related to 'loyalty', something that cannot be achieved by being shortsighted.

A reopened complaint or multiple unanswered requests for a service are now shared with a large number of acquaintances and friends instantly through always-connected devices. For organizations that treat this new norm lightly, the result will be unexpectedly large customer churn.

In a nut shell, the quality of customer experience impacts important customer behaviors - loyalty, advocacy, spending, repurchase intent and desire to switch. The building blocks of successful new relationships with customers is matching theirexpectations and thereby improving their overall experience - a critical competitive advantage.

In a nut shell, the quality of customer experience impacts important customer behaviors - loyalty, advocacy, spending, repurchase intent and desire to switch. The building blocks of successful new relationships with customers is matching theirexpectations and thereby improving their overall experience - a critical competitive advantage.

Creating products and services with clever competitive pricing is outdated and usually considered as being 'product-centric'. To gain competitive advantage today, the key is to  consistently deliver a superior interaction with customers across channels, touch points, communications platforms, social networks and transactional environments.

Multi-channel customer communication

As businesses attempt to reach-out and increase their customer base, they use multi-channel communication to include a larger number of people - some use conventional channels, while others use multiple portable and always-connected devices. Tracking communication between front-line or back-end employees and customers is crucial for ensuring they are delivering an experience that is consistent and on-going .

The most recent addition to the multi-channel communication trend is social networking - a powerful and popular tool for amplifying consent, descent, comments and suggestions. Monitoring the accuracy, relevance and soft-skills used for customer interactions through multifold channels can be painstakingly difficult if not handled effectively. Additionally, losing track of records when faced with attrition can rapidly escalate churn - a centralized database and solutions repository is essential for keeping up with growth.

Building CRM strategies for customer experience

Implementing the correct CRM solution will facilitate a business with the tools to integrate multiple systems and create a holistic view of customers. The information collated from these systems can be quickly analyzed to create marketing strategies that inculcate the expectations of customers on a daily basis. This information is especially useful when using the cloud to distribute content and messages which is contextual and location-based through mobile devices, kiosks and digital signage.

Innovation attracts customers and they perceive the organization is dynamic. Customers have much more influence because they can openly share their insights, preferences and experiences through online channels and social media outlets. Not tracking these social exchanges can unexpectedly affect the popularity of products and brands. Also, creating a social presence and ignoring your customers' posts or queries can backfire, leading to churn and lower lead conversion rates.

It's vital to analyze the most popular customer trends in social networking, communication and region-wise shopping or service requests to design an effective customer strategy. More and more contact centres are now entrenching themselves in social media to facilitate true 'customer self service portals' that are easily accessible and secure. Offering products that are eco-friendly, easy-to-use and cost-efficient are necessities to gain a competitive advantage.

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