Return on Relationships: Eight Insights Gained from the Total Customer Experience Summit

Global Response attended the 2014 Total Customer Experience Summit, this year in Miami, where business leaders came together to discuss how understanding and improving the customer experience can impact their brand.

All customer touchpoints – whether on-line, in-person, or on-the-phone – impact the customer experience.
All customer touchpoints – whether on-line, in-person, or on-the-phone – impact the customer experience.

As an increasing amount of transactions now occur via ecommerce, social media, email and phone calls, brands are taking steps to deliver personalized customer experiences. Building trust and long-term relationships requires a new approach in the digital age. Therefore, brands are committed to rethink their approach to customer relationships, and create an emotional connection with their customers.

A team from Global Response attended the Total Customer Experience Leaders Summit (TCEL), held in Miami in early April. Chaired by — Scott Swift, Vice President of Customer Information for Hunter Douglas — the summit offered sessions related to its theme of “Return on Relationships: Factoring Empathy into the Stakeholder Equation.” In his presentation Scott stated a key point from the conference:

Scott Swift, Vice President of Customer Information for Hunter Douglas
Scott Swift, VP of Customer Information at Hunter Douglas

“In today’s complex business world, delivering on the promise of a great customer experience is more difficult than ever. We rely more and more on business partners to manage key touch points and represent our brand promise. Finding the right partner and closely working with them is really the only way to achieve a world-class customer experience.” – Scott Swift

Eight Insights on Improving the
Customer Experience

Here are eight actionable insights, taken from the show, on how to improve the customer experience. Some apply directly to customer care, others deal with forward-facing marketing efforts, but all are relevant to today’s brands.

  • Build relationships by understanding your customers emotional needs
    Customers want to make an emotional connection before conducting business—a lesson that call center representatives can put into practice on phone calls, email and chat interactions.
  • Give authority to customer service representatives to resolve customer inquiries
    Customer service is not a case of one size fits all, so representatives who acknowledge customers as individuals and are empowered to make things right can deliver the kind of personalized experience that turns an unhappy customer into a loyal one. When a customer reaches out stating that they had a less than desired customer experience with your brand, giving customer service the authority to make things right at the point of call can be the best opportunity to gain a loyal customer. For this to happen, however, executives must buy in to this philosophy and expand the authority of the representatives.
  • Your brand is how customers feel about your company, product or service
    Surveying your customer experience can help you as a brand understand how customers perceive the relationship they receive from your brand (and what they would hope for in the future). The emotional connection customers feel can tell you a lot about key areas for improvement and which areas you can highlight. Exploring how touchpoints make your customer feel (about the experience, not the product or service) can go a long way in enhancing your customer experience and promoting your brand.
  • Saving the customer time is a key area for improving the overall experience
    When looking at business practices through a customer-centric lens, focus on saving time for your clientele. For example, sending callers to an IVR may confuse end-users and take additional time to get a resolution. It may be better to give your customers access to a human voice for immediate assistance rather than risk frustrating them.
  • Use customer feedback to resolve immediate needs and learn what to improve for the future
    Surveys are the most common source of customer feedback, but consider the role of social media today and how important the unstructured data you receive from posts, tweets, focus groups, and surveys, are. When looked at holistically they can unearth trends your business should address. Even one-off responses from individuals can contain insights you can apply.
  • Map the customer experience journey to find highlights and trouble spots
    Your brand can understand the bigger picture by mapping the customer journey to find where your clientele experiences challenges, then use this earned insight to improve the process for future interactions.
  • Engaged employees are ambassadors for your brand
    Involve your employees in company-wide policy decision processes early on, because an engaged and invested employee helps create engaged and invested customers. In the contact center, involving all representatives in improving processes and solving problems increases their identification with not only the brand, but their job satisfaction, which comes across in their interactions with customers. An engaged employee engages customers.
  • Iterate, iterate, iterate
    Recognize that getting to the best possible customer experience is an iterative process. Involve your customer care staff, marketing, executives, and even customers, and continue gradually making improvements to get closer to your goal.

In the end, the Total Customer Experience Summit can be framed by the poet Maya Angelou’s quote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Global Response is The Brand Care Call Center. We provide a full complement of contact center solutions including phone, chat, email and social media. For four decades, we have supported such esteemed brands as National Geographic, Tory Burch, Zara, Crate&Barrel, Ally Bank, and Lane Bryant.

Our partners are highly focused on enhancing their brands, and value Global Response for our commitment to the customer experience. At Global Response, your Brand is our Passion.

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