What Quality of Customer Experience Do You Provide?

I came across an interesting set of statistics in an article by Jim Barnes.

Here’s an excerpt from his article:

A study by Bain & Company found that 80 percent of companies surveyed believed that they delivered a “superior experience” to their customers. But, when customers were asked to indicate their perceptions of the experiences they have in dealing with companies, they rated only 8 percent of companies as truly delivering a superior experience (James Allen, Frederick F. Reichheld and Barney Hamilton, The Three “Ds” of Customer Experience, Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, accessed Nov. 7, 2005). Do you sense just a little bit of disconnect?

In other words, “customer experience” is in grave danger of becoming yet another management buzzword that many business people bandy about without fully understanding its meaning or its potential.

As Jim points out, that’s an interesting disconnect.

His article addresses the broad issue of customer experience. This covers the complete experience with your company.

In the case of a restaurant, for example, the experience will include how your reservation is handled, how you are greeted at the door, the quality of the service you receive at your table and the way in which you are thanked when you leave.

Online, however, the world of customer experience is a little different.

The entire experience usually takes place without any contact with people. How customers feel about your company, and the experience they remember, is determined by a series of web pages. It’s a whole different challenge.

That experience is determined by how simply and clearly you help them achieve the tasks they wish to complete. The language you use will also impact how they feel about you.

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However, online customers will often expect a direct experience with a living, breathing human being if and when they have a problem or question.

So here’s the question: how well do you handle your online customers when they want to talk with you to resolve a problem?

My guess is that if a survey were done on the quality of customer experience when it comes to customer service offered by web-based companies, the percentage of happy respondents would be even less than 8%.

All too often, we try to automate customer service. Instead of giving customers an immediate opportunity to speak to a trained customer service representative, we try to save money by presenting them with FAQ pages, knowledge bases and automatically generated emails.

This practice may appear to save money. However, you can be sure that it doesn’t make your customers feel good about you. More often than not, they WANT to be helped by a person. Instead we give them more web pages and awful, automated telephone answering systems.

The irony is, as one of our research briefs has demonstrated, you can make more money by giving online customers immediate access to a customer service agent.

By speaking with your online customers, you will resolve their problems faster, you can take the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell…and, perhaps most important of all, you can dramatically increase the overall quality of their entire customer experience with your company.

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1 Comment

  1. RJ says

    Good customer service is often used as an strategic advantage, and with great results.

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