Customer centricity is often strongly associated with Customer Experience (CX) these days and defining CX can be a challenge. The term can be overused, broad and generalized, and often reserved only for contact centers.
I like to think of CX as encompassing those moments of truth in which our company can have either a positive or negative impact on a customer’s perception of our brand over time, and therefore, an integral part of running and growing the business. It’s not just the customer-facing departments; it’s really about every internal and external interaction that ultimately impacts how well a customer or prospect’s needs are being met.
And, because the customer journey is all encompassing, a programmatic CX approach can be valuable. Approaching CX at a grassroots level with company stakeholders and making customer feedback a key performance measure throughout the company—not just for those people on the front line—provides a foundation for success.
CX is about building customer engagement, and that’s something you need to strive for throughout your organization – from executives to engineers to project managers to customer care agents.
Why invest in CX?
Companies are investing in CX more than ever before, with some going so far as to assign a Customer Experience Officer (CXO). Who’s doing CX right today? Some consumer favorites include Amazon, Chewy, and Trader Joes. But even B2Bs can transform the way they do business to put the customer journey at the core of their brand.
A survey by Forrester and Adobe found that Experience-Driven businesses experience 1.5x higher YoY growth than other companies in customer retention, repeat purchase rates, and customer lifetime value. Even better, employees at these companies rate their personal satisfaction 1.5x compared to companies with no focus on CX.
With this in mind, Fusion Connect deliberately manages each interaction with a Customer First mentality. The customer is our constant focus, and employees across the organization help form this centerpiece to delivering exceptional service.
Two vital elements of a solid CX are customer self-service portals and the incorporation of a feedback loop, often delivered through surveys.
One way we’re bolstering the CX at Fusion Connect is by offering our customers a way to find answers for themselves, on their own timeline. Providing customers with an intuitive, robust self-service portal is critical in our line of business. It’s a great way to help our users get the most from a product or offering, and it’s available whenever they want it. We offer online support tools, such as a knowledge base, self-serve training, demos, downloadable user guides, and so on. Self-service portals give the power to the customer to manage their account any time – not just during business hours.
Feedback loops are a step toward operationalizing CX, which ensures that all employees who directly connect with customers receive feedback. And those loops help us drive improvements based specifically on advice from customers.
Best practices for customer-centric businesses
In addition to reporting feedback to customer-facing employees, make sure you’re bringing that valuable information to the forefront as a success measure throughout the organization. This means sharing feedback with everyone—even employees who never meet the customer, but who impact the customer journey. Here at Fusion Connect, this includes project managers, install coordinators, developers, and provisioners. Supporting the customer journey is a team effort!
Five key practices are at the core of successful customer-centric business:
Overcommunicate. We try to never leave the customer guessing as to what’s next in a given process.
Look for the positives (not just the negatives). How did we meet or exceed the customer’s expectations? What makes our customers happy?
Understand the “why” when things go wrong. Why are customers unhappy? Unless we reach out to the customer directly, we’ll never know.
Close the loop. It’s especially important to follow up with the customer when adversity arises. It can mean the difference between recovering or losing that customer.
Share the data. Make sure that employees are aware of feedback, positive and negative, no matter their role in the organization. Everyone contributes to the CX.
Enabling CX through CCaaS
While CX does encompass all interactions a customer has with an organization, it’s easy to see that customer care centers are key to delivering on those five best practices. Agents are on the front line, assessing customer sentiment, gathering information, and closing the loop. Bringing the contact or call center fully into the organization and adding operationalized elements like the self-serve portals and feedback loops are important steps in creating a successful customer journey.
Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions can offer businesses a means to connect and communicate with customers more effectively, particularly when combined with a company’s Unified Communications infrastructure.