Every year, at around this time, we like to reflect on the year that’s passed and what the key learnings have been for us as a business and for the wider CRM landscape.
This year, unsurprisingly, one of the main themes is the blurred line of customer experience and customer service.
With much of our new work this year coming from the insurance and financial services sector, we’ve been at the coal face of one of the most commoditised markets, and each and every one of those projects has been a salient reminder of the enormity of customer experience.
Regardless of the sector that your business is operating in, customer service and customer experience are two different things.
Customer service is about those individual moments when employees are providing direct interaction to customers, what happens prior and what happens next.
Customer experience is so much wider than that. It encompasses every single aspect of how a customer perceives your organisation. Website, packaging, events, marketing campaigns, sponsorships, blogs, product delivery, going beyond the necessary, knowing customers so well you can predict what they might be interested in next, knowing when to back off, knowing their price.
So, even with the best efforts of every single department to provide excellent customer service every time, if they are not joined up, your customer is left with just a snapshot, and that’s not enough to evoke the positive feeling you need to create customer loyalty. It’s enough to satisfy their need in that particular transaction but nothing more.
That comes down to emotions. Yes, even in B2B.
Emotions shape the attitudes that drive decisions. More than 50% in fact according to the Journal of Consumer Research.
Customers will be loyal because they remember how they feel dealing with you. If you get it right once, well done. If you get it right twice, not bad at all. If you get it right across the whole journey, you’ll win their loyalty. I know if I think about the businesses that we deal with, and those I interact with personally, I know I could go anywhere at any time. I have to like them. I have to think they make my life easier or better in some way. And for our insurance clients where prices can always be matched, it’s been even more critical that they don’t slip up, ever.
In one department such as claims handling, everything could go beautifully. But if I’m the customer and I’m contacted at the same time about a fantastic new product and it doesn’t recognise I’m currently dealing with another claim, I’m going to wonder why departments aren’t talking to each other! Separate decisions in separate departments all impact on customer experience so it MUST be joined up.
Businesses starting their journey with CRM generally always want to know how it will help create customer experience.
It won’t. It will, however, facilitate it.
It will bring together all of those excellent customer service efforts into one place meaning that the overall effort can be overseen and future needs can be predicted before the customer even knows they have the need. You can be attentive and proactive without wasting their time.
With 60% of customers willing to pay more for a better experience (according to American Express) and the increase in customer loyalty that comes with it, look beyond the functionality of the CRM systems you are looking at, and really get to grips with the very first stage of how it will inform your overall experience.
Want to follow up on this?
We’ve broken the CRM journey into key chapters. Find the full series overview here.
In the spirit of customer experience, we also like to talk. Every conversation leads to more knowledge so feel free to get in touch!