How Overall Customer Experience Shapes Customer Support Satisfaction

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Almost everything in your business plays some role in shaping customer experience. The aesthetic choices of your installations, your welcoming communications, and the quality of your products all influence how your customers think about your brand.

But how does that customer experience shape customer support satisfaction? And how can you use this information to your advantage?

The True Extent of Customer Experience

Let’s start by clarifying our terminology, as many people treat customer support and customer experience as directly interchangeable terms. In reality, customer support is a narrow application of customer experience. 

Reaching out to customer support and engaging with a customer service representative is part of the overall customer experience and customer journey associated with your brand.

However, this is only one narrow slice of the customer experience. Customer experience entails the sum total of all the interactions a person has with your brand, both direct and indirect. It includes the first advertisements they see. It includes the welcome emails they got when they signed up for your mailing list. It includes the cashiers they chatted with in the checkout line, the quality of the products they received shipped to their door, and the social media posts made by your brand page.

Even the aesthetics of your physical business can play a role in shaping the overall customer experience. A natural stone kitchen gives an earthy, grounded quality to your establishment, while polished, modern metal sculptures could give it a more avant-garde, sleek feel.

All of these little interactions play a role in shaping how a person perceives and interacts with your brand in the future. But the relationship between customer support and customer experience goes even deeper than that.

The Relationship Between Customer Experience and Customer Support Satisfaction

Obviously, customer support is a form of customer experience and contributes to it directly. That’s one reason why it’s so important to practice customer service as quickly, painlessly, and supportively as possible.

But the relationship also works in the opposite direction; customer experience can directly influence the effectiveness of your customer support strategy.

  • Expectations. For starters, the customer experience a person has had will shape their expectations of customer service. If your brand is typically thoughtful, outgoing, friendly, and helpful, people will be optimistic about your customer support options and more likely to seek them out. They’ll also have a better attitude and mindset when entering this discourse.
  • Interpretations. We all know that tone and phrasing are important, but tone and phrasing can often be interpreted in different ways, due to the subjective nature of these nonverbal forms of communication. If customer experience has led to dissonance or dissatisfaction, your customers may be more likely to interpret ambiguous statements in a negative way.
  • Reactions. Customer experience also influences customer reactions. For example, let’s say you have to deliver the bad news that a customer’s shipment has been delayed. If this customer has always had a positive, enjoyable experience with your brand, they might think it’s no big deal. If the customer is disappointed with the overall customer experience, this might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
  • Reflections. Customer experience after the customer support interaction can also make them reflect on their customer support action in a different way. If they continue to receive positive support, they may come to see their customer support interactions more favorably.

How to Cultivate a Superior Customer Experience

So what steps can you take to cultivate a better customer experience that leads to better customer support interactions?

  • Ensure a consistent brand voice. Your brand voice needs to be consistent across all channels, according to your guidelines. That means coordinating departments and better training individuals in all areas.
  • Create more touch points (especially early on). More touch points give you more opportunities to reinforce the customer experience you want. This is especially important early in the relationship, when first impressions haven’t solidified yet.
  • Develop an omnichannel mindset.Omnichannel customer experience development is practically the only way to practice it in the modern age. Today’s customers want to engage with brands via multiple channels and mediums.
  • Personalize everything you can. Mass-marketed messages don’t have as much impact as they used to, especially in crowded industries. To stand out, you need to personalize everything you can.
  • Get feedback (and act on it!). Gather as much customer feedback as you can, across all experiences, and act on that feedback to improve your offerings.

Customer support and customer experience are both big, broad, complicated topics that can’t be fully captured in a single article. If there’s one major takeaway from our write-up here, it’s that you need both customer support and customer experience strategies to make the best possible impact on your audience.

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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