How the customer experience went from cost to brand differentiator

We hear more and more about it without necessarily knowing what it is. What does the notion of “customer experience” mean? Also called customer experience or CX, it is the discipline that brings together and manages all direct interactions between a brand and consumers. This therefore includes both the customer journey, which goes from his arrival on a site to the act of purchase, and customer service, also called customer service. Let’s find out together why the customer experience has become the focus of all attention, and how to offer a quality service to your customers.

A recent creation

For a long time, the quality of the customer experience hasn’t been a priority for brands. The marketing mix, as has long been taught in business schools, has not understood this notion. Customer support was often outsourced to a regular call center and considered a cost factor. The differentiating element was therefore more the price, the brand image via advertising or the distribution system.

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But over the past decade, the maturity of brands versus customer experience has made great progress. The Internet and the development of e-commerce have reshuffled the cards of the marketing mix, reducing the importance of the differentiating elements before. The price war has escalated and the physical distribution network is no longer essential. As a result, brands have understood the importance of service quality.

The quality of the product as well as that of the customer experience

The pioneers in this area were Apple and Amazon, always at the top of Forrester’s customer experience index. And they really changed that. Customer service has now become an important differentiator. Why ? Because if you don’t fix the problem your customer is having, make sure he’ll let those around him know, and he’s a powerful prescriber, illustrated by the adage “Your best sellers are your customers.” It is customary to say that a consumer who is faced with a negative experience will share it with ten people, someone who is about to live an extraordinary experience will also tell 10 people about it, but someone who has a “classic” experience, only positive, I will not tell anyone.

The key position of customer support

When a customer contacts customer service, keep in mind that they have already encountered a problem. Delayed delivery, product failure or payment problem, it doesn’t matter, it has a problem that needs to be fixed. I don’t know who said “Customer service is a bit like ice cubes applied to a freshly slapped cheek,” that’s a bit of an atypical comparison, but fair enough. This service, at this moment, actually has a double mission. The first is to find a solution to a problem, but also to report internally the existence of that problem. It is in fact a unique opportunity for the brand to improve its products and services or the experience offered, based on the feedback of its customers. This is an important growth opportunity for brands, and this feedback must be sufficiently taken into account, to the point of modifying the marketing, sales and even development strategies, if necessary.

Effective customer service, i.e. offering the consumer a quick solution adapted to their problem, will only strengthen their brand image and the trust they inspire. When you know that all business is built on trust, you quickly understand the importance of a good customer relationship.

Since the contact with the customer, sooner or later, made by a human being, it is very important to take into account the local peculiarities so that this exchange takes place in an optimal way. Language is a first level, of course, but we must also take into account the legal and cultural aspects depending on the position of the consumers.

Another benefit of efficient customer service

Once the purchase is made, customer service is also in the best position to contact the consumer, and collect valuable information: feedback, comments, and offer them to share their feelings through advice on the site or on social networks. . This is one of the things that customer experience teams have been developing more and more lately. They learn to contact the customer at the right time, so they can recover the maximum usable data.

Customer experience is also critical to business revenue growth. A customer service that benefits from a good image can organically attract new prospects, reassured by the quality of the service offered. It also helps ensure that customers stay loyal to your brand and even grow with it. The customer experience generates revenue through acquisition, retention, purchase diversification, and even upgrades. Today, it is not uncommon for the CX organization to be helped by revenue goals with metrics like “Cost per Contact” or “Qualified Leads for Support”.

What about the future?

While brands are realizing the importance and opportunities offered by the customer experience, they are also aware that it is currently a source of significant costs. In my opinion, over the next 5 years we will see Automatic Intelligence take an increasing place in the customer experience. This will automate and speed up the resolution of problems encountered by customers. It is not absurd to imagine being able to halve the number of human contacts, even if we will always need this inimitable contact.

The time has come for brands to stop seeing customer experience as a source of cost and realize it’s actually a great opportunity to take advantage of to achieve success!

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