This is an issue that's been playing on my mind lately. When it comes to customer experience, don't we, brands and customers, all just want the same thing - to deliver and receive an easy customer experience?
So why, when it comes to implementing a customer engagement strategy, do some brand's insist on making it so hard? It seems the second we step into the corporate world we forget what it feels like to be a customer and instead let our decisions be driven by how cost effective a specific communication channel is or where we can save a few (or many) pennies by automating a service.
Of course it makes good business sense to be conscious of how much things cost, but what about the long term goal? What if our short term savings have a nasty sting in the tail - frustrated customers who are disillusioned by the lack of personal interaction, exasperated by the endless string of IVR options when they just need a quick answer and desperate to defect to a competitor who actually cares?
Take it from someone who's just been through the process of buying their first house. To me my expectations were simple - regular updates from the bank I was securing my mortgage from, the estate agents I was buying my property through and the solicitors who were meant to be helping me make the whole thing happen. In reality, my time was spent chasing these people for updates, worrying where I was in the application process and spending (literally) hours on hold before finally getting to speak to an agent and repeating the same query the last person had failed to answer. The result? Yes I finally got my house, but not without an official complaint to the bank in question and a considerable amount of money back in 'compensation' from them to apologise for the inconvenience. My nearest and dearest who have watched the saga unfold now know exactly who NOT to speak to when they're looking for their next mortgage provider.
So why did we get there? No one took the time to think about my expectations as a customer or had the foresight to keep me proactively updated before I felt the need to call. Just an email, a call or even a couple of texts could have changed my experience entirely.
The good news is there are a growing number of brands who are waking up to this concept - they recognise the importance of differentiating their business on the service they deliver, embracing changes in technology to ensure they don't ruin the customer experience before it's even started.
The lesson? Treat your customers the way you want to be treated yourself. Play the long game and ensure you keep them informed every step of the way. That way, you can avoid dissatisfaction, turn your Ranters into Ravers and your happy customers into lifelong advocates!
Find out how you can start keeping your customers informed throughout their Customer Journey by using our Proactive Communication solution: