The evolution of consumer behavior has brought a new set of challenges for business leaders to stand out from competitors. Everyone is offering and playing the same business tricks and methods of acquiring customers. How does a company stand out?
Kyle notes, "We are now dealing with a generation who values (exceptional) experiences more than brand loyalty. Due to infinite options and rising customer's expectations, customers want a seamless experience before and after purchase."
We will see a transformational shift from service to experience. Hence, companies need to evolve or become extinct! Remember, customers everywhere crave experiences that are simple, intuitive, and amazing.
Background and Career
Kyle has worked across many industries (eCommerce, manufacturing, SaaS, B2C, and B2B). When he moved into B2B Business Development/Account Management, he learned extensive knowledge within the Project/Change Management and developed and executed processes that include implementation, onboarding, and process improvement.
There are two revenue streams in every company: Sales and Support. The former brings in the money, while the latter keeps it. Shifting from a product to experience focused, a new way of delivering service and value has been born. It led to the emerging role of CS.
If organizations haven't had a CS in their three-legged stool, (1) Companies will become extinct (2) stagnate (3) have no long term perspective in delivering the success of their customers (4) everything is all about a cookie-cutter approach (it is more on reactive or firefighters approach than proactive ones).
Hence, a successful CS experience is a transition of a product/service into/out of a consumer's life. The job of CS/CE is to help guide, redirect, or provide value as needed. Think of CS/CE like the tail-fin on a surfboard. It brings stability and helps with overall control. All of this ties back into a need to focus on the experience.
Remember, "emotion creates memories." If an organization wants to understand its customer's feelings and sentiments, CS/CE could identify it in every conversation or interaction.
How? When customers drop their guard, real conversations begin. No posturing, no this for that, just a couple of people getting work done. Even at a later date, a triggered memory will always bring back that emotion. It cements a brand experience in people's minds and reflects the desired perception toward a brand's values.
A shift from Like to Love
The customer experience is where you are going to get that organic growth (word of mouth). Companies need to show that their marketing engine is primed, but they also need to show their customers are either repeating or telling their friends.
Success has no timetable, and there is no set of rules on how to achieve it. It all depends on the product, market, customers, industry, or demographic. To ensure success, organizations must:
1) Set realistic expectations.
2) Understand the cause of misunderstandings and why the issue occurred.
3) Focus on the solution rather than the problem.
4) Avoid too many many cooks in the kitchen if not necessary.
5) Provide the solution's scope, exact timetables, and don't promise anything you can't fulfill.
Remember, trust is doing what you say when you say you will do it or update why you will miss your target. An informed customer may not be happy with the news, but at least it's resetting their expectations. As with any relationship, it takes a lot of trust and communication to get there.
I mentioned earlier about the shift to "the experience," but let's looks specifically at how a customer can/will rate a product or service. Stars are cheap nowadays. No longer a 5-star experience is an exceptional service.
Five stars mean you show up, do your job, and don't break anything else. It's merely getting the customer the correct product in the expected time frame.
We need to start thinking beyond the 5th star to achieve some excellence. What is a 6, 7, 8, 9, 10-star experience, and what are the challenges each level brings? On one of Reid Hoffman's podcast Masters of Scale, Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, discusses the "starred experience" and pushing its' boundaries.
Many of the companies have a shortage of one or the other. It would be best if you had both (excellent product experience and great support) to forge a lasting relationship. You can't improve business relationships without these two elements.
As many organizations are coming up and competing for value and service, products alone will not help. You don't need to be; first, you need to be the best and put customers at everything you do. It is wise to learn from the stumbles of others as you build your own CS growth programs. No need to test what they failed unless the theory was sound, but the execution was off.
Remember, we are all now in the business of delivering experiences, but during these changes, the truth is still the same: consumers get to choose their preferred route to satisfy their needs. Earning satisfaction and loyalty means providing the best customer experience possible.