In this “age of the consumer,” where customers are more empowered than ever before because of the ability to access information about products and services in real time, it’s increasingly more difficult for service businesses to keep up with customer expectations and increase profits year after year.
However, service companies can learn how to thrive in this age – not simply survive – by providing elevated customer experience (CX) through real-time insights. Ensuring your service business has the right CX strategy to positively impact your bottom line year over year (YOY) is the first step.
Survey Says…CX Matters
In an Aberdeen CX survey, the number one priority to deliver shareholder value is measured by the customer experience. The primary tactic of focus for service executives is improving customer satisfaction; meeting and exceeding rapidly changing buyer expectations to retain existing buyers and acquire new ones.
The top challenges impacting service companies’ ability to achieve their goals include:
- customer’s access to information, including competitive products and services
- demographic changes of customers
- customer’s expectations of consistent experiences across multiple touchpoints
- increased competition
Although many of these factors are external, there are ways businesses can improve CX plus influence buying decisions based on internal changes.
How to Play Offense in the Consumer Era
One way to combat the effects of the age of the consumer is to empower service employees with the right tools to provide an elevated CX at every customer touchpoint. Additionally, some CX executives are also focusing on employee engagement and incentivizing its employees as a way to improve customer satisfaction and in turn, meeting its financial goals.
Another factor to focus on is truly having a “finger on the pulse” of customer needs. Staying in tune with evolving customer expectations is difficult, but not impossible. Surveying customers (both happy and unsatisfied) is one way to gain insight into customer preferences. Another is to monitor comments on social media and aggregate feedback customers offer to employees – what do they love about your organization and what can be improved. Be sure your customer observations include multiple channels (e.g. web, social media, email, phone) to obtain the most insight into customer desires. Since needs evolve at a much more rapid pace than ever before, be sure to observe customer behavior on a regular basis.
Best-In-Class Service Equals Greater Financial Success
There is a direct correlation between regularly elevating customer satisfaction rates and YOY financial success. According to Aberdeen’s survey of customer experience executives’ agendas for 2018, results showed that Best-In-Class service companies had an 84% customer retention rate versus 58% for other businesses.
These same Best-In-Class service businesses, who focus on improved CX, saw a positive YOY growth in annual company revenue (40.4 %), versus a decrease (-6.6 percent) and improved profit margin (39.8 %) versus a decrease (-7.5%) versus all other companies.
Data is The Missing Link
To truly achieve Best-In-Class CX, service companies must empower their employees (a point discussed earlier) with access to the data needed to make informed decisions and provide excellent customer experiences. It’s recommended that businesses have a single, holistic view of customer data such as cases, contracts, quotes, invoices, service history, etc. By capturing and making the right data available in an easy-to-use format, service organizations can align themselves appropriately to provide enhanced CX (and improve profit margins), year over year.
Consumers’ access to information in real-time is here to stay. In today’s reality, service executives must focus on continuously elevating CX to delight customers and retain them. Having the right CX strategy in place for your organization – one that includes empowering employees and making it easy to access customer data – will drive improved CX and YOY profits. Remember, the customer journey and CX expectations are constantly evolving and so must your strategy to keep up with this “new age.” To achieve Best-In-Class service status, your organization must keep in tune with, and deliver on customer expectations.
Jolt Consulting Group helps service organizations increase revenues, improve operations and better connect with their customers. For more information on we have helped others in your industry, visit our case studies and client results or contact us today
[1, 2, 3, 4]“Customer Experience Executive’s Agenda 2018: How to Satisfy the Empowered Customer.” Aberdeen, February 2018.