Delivering great customer experience strikes most of us as ‘common sense’. Businesses are constantly told to up their game by increasing their customer-centricity. They’re told that improving the customer service experience is the way to accomplish this, but they’re rarely told how. Vusi Thembekwayo is a renown public speaker and entrepreneur, and his great customer experience formula is something that offers both the “why” and the “how”.
The Great Customer Experience Formula
It starts with three Rs and a C.
“Offer the customer what he needs when he needs it.”
For any business in any industry, it’s vital to evolve with the times. As demographics change, cultures change, people change. Companies who understand this are able to adapt and become fluid in their strategies. A business plan set in stone five years ago may no longer provide the best approach today. Thembekwaya refers to this as the ‘Titanic Approach’. As people change, their needs change and a company who just keeps ploughing on with their unchanging strategy is unable to provide great customer service.
Two main aspects of reliability are timeliness and, more importantly, consistency.
“Consistency is where culture and systems connect.”
An efficient company architecture, complete with back-end IT systems that work like a charm, does not equal a great customer experience. Especially if customers don’t experience any elements of that culture. As part of this great customer experience formula it is important to bridge the gap between the customer experience and the internal systems. Essentially, systems should enable people to better deliver a great experience to its customers. It’s not enough for the systems to be brilliant in isolation.
“Be where the customer needs you, when the customer needs you.”
Customers crave convenience, whether it’s through online shopping or being able to find a storefront quickly and easily.
“[Responsiveness] means listening…Listening with the intent to respond, listening with the intent to understand. Understanding with the view to act.”
This is one of the most difficult and subtle differences but it also lies at the heart of developing your companies great customer experience formula. The purpose of listening is not to manage a current situation, but to understand what lead to that situation in the first place. It’s not about customer service 101 – being helpful when a customer complains about an issue – it’s about gaining insights into the complaints or questions being asked.
Understanding Your Company’s Formula
Many businesses don’t realise that they’re hurting until it’s too late. It’s necessary to bring in outside help and analyse what’s working and what’s not. Internal training and incentive programs may not have the desired impact if no analysis has been provided.
Every growing company strives to stay ahead of its customer’s needs; this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. At the end of the day, however, the customer is the lifeblood of every company. It’s vital for their needs to be met. In order to do this, businesses need to understand their innermost workings, and only then can they apply a great customer experience formula.