Create the Next Level of Customer Experience

  • The customer experience is as much a differentiator as your products’ features.

  • Supportive systems can transform the organization in the customers’ eyes.

  • If customers can’t quickly resolve issues, they're more likely to return products.

While marketing efforts once focused on getting customers to make a purchase, the age of social media has turned the sales process into a continuous series of interactions. The customer experience now extends far beyond the initial purchase and relies on building the brand to attract and retain customers.

Your customers may be staying loyal to your brand, but that doesn’t mean they’re having truly great experiences. Consider these four areas to evaluate and upgrade what you deliver—and how you deliver it—to your customers to make them not just loyal, but satisfied.

1. Your brand IS your customer experience

Customer experience has become as much a product differentiator as the features of your products. For products that are relatively static in their evolutionary cycles, changing the way customers interact with what they buy offers a way to present a new face on their purchases and the company. For IT, this can mean deeper integration between products and mobile apps or linking marketing efforts to user interaction.

2. Use better data rather than big data

The accumulation of data has led to discoveries that had not been previously envisioned. But now that companies know how to gather and analyze data, it’s more important to define and collect the data that will eventually deliver the insights you want. IT should be looking at the results of data analytics with their partners in marketing to identify information gaps. Determine what questions are left unanswered and build the appropriate data into the data streams.

3. Embed customer experience at the enterprise level

IT has limited—but powerful—opportunities to influence enterprise behavior. Find those areas that connect the internals of the company to customers and improve the interactions that take place at both ends, as well as at every other point along the path. Systems that support users and enable getting the right information to the right places enhance everyone’s experience and can transform the image of the organization in the eyes of its customers.

4. Fix business issues by fixing customer experience

Product returns can easily be linked to defects, but defects are not always the cause of dissatisfaction. Review every customer touch point and identify each rough spot. These can include areas as diverse as the telephone IVR system, online and email support response, and website layout. If customers are not able to quickly resolve issues, they’re more likely to simply return products. IT should take the lead in identifying problem areas.

By making the most of the technologies in place and enhancing those that don’t match your goals, you can create new levels of customer experience—and customer satisfaction.

Scott Koegler is an independent business writer and the author of this blog. All opinions are his own. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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