Three customer experience differentiators to bet on in 2011


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The end of each year greets us with reviews of trends in customer experience, either from the past year or ones to look for in the year ahead.

Forget the hype!

Instead look for these three factors to be the real differentiators of customer experience in 2011…

1. Use of data driven approaches. Most media attention goes to the newest thing in creative marketing, or the latest buzz around social media to stimulate customer experience. What you need to look for are companies that use data-driven approaches to tell them what really works. Best customer analysis, voice of customer reviews, and asking new questions about customer behavior, this is where companies learn what creates lift in their market space.

Companies that have been through acquisitions, mergers or broad staff reductions may now lack staffing for analytics. These are the ones who may forgo data driven approaches, hoping that the old rules of success will still work, if you just work harder at them. If we have learned anything the past few years as the economy hit business like a winter blizzard, as we notice the rise of more global businesses and technology evolution, it is that we need to rediscover what drives customer behavior.

Not investing in your capacity to analyze customer behavior is like trying to drive forward, but only having access to your rear view mirror!

2. Employee engagement. Customers can tell the difference between engaged and disengaged employees, especially in the way they support or ignore the customer. The link between employee engagement and customer experience is becoming ever more clear, but many companies only give it lip service. Some companies have broken the psychological bond with their employees in the way they handled the economic recession; they will have to rebuild that to get employees to see their jobs as more than transactional employment.

Advisory councils that get to have real impact, engagement surveys where the data is publically shared and discussed, and making time for employees to talk about how they want to improve customer experience, these are all hallmarks of companies that will excel in 2011.

3. Leadership. All leaders establish and manage to goals. Look for those who spend their time removing barriers; who demonstrate customer commitment and invest in activities that help employees meet needs of customers; who publically and privately recognize employees who make a difference. This is where the rubber meets the road!

I see more companies firing on all three of these cylinders. And I see many others with their collective heads in the ground. What do you see?

What do you see as the key differentiators of customer service in 2011?

Which are most prominent in your firm and which are most in need of a step-change?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Marc Sokol
A psychologist with an eye for the ways organizational dynamics make it possible or impossible to delight customers, I see the world from the eyes of customers, employees and leaders who strive to transform customer experience.


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