For most business service providers, establishing a strong relationship with customers is their main priority.

But with thousands of companies all striving for the same goal, competing in an 'omni-channel world' is perhaps the largest obstacle to overcome. However, once this is accomplished, it stands as an important measure in enhancing brand loyalty and the retention of customers, the International Quality and Productivity Center reports.

It's true that an overall successful customer experience involves the service provider ensuring the demands of the end user are reached and that they are left feeling satisfied, but there are other contributing factors to consider.

Businesses need to think of ways in which they can exceed customer expectations, all the while making sure they have trained members of staff across every channel who will be able to do so.

Nicholas Turner, research director for the Customer Management Exchange Network, said: "Customer expectations have increased dramatically in a drastically short space of time, leaving many companies struggling to cope with growing consumer demands.

"Rapid advancements in technology and the growing use of social media have also come hurtling into our lives and have changed the way in which consumers access information, making them more powerful than ever before."

Companies with Facebook and Twitter accounts can communicate with customers and attend to their needs and queries much quicker than when composing an email. This could be particularly beneficial when reaching customers who are on the go and perhaps don't have access to their email accounts.

In a whitepaper titled Competing on the Customer Experience in an Omni-Channel World, Brian Cantor, vice chancellor at the University of Bradford, discusses five ways in which a business can achieve successful social media customer service. He advises companies to:

  • Create an online presence across all channels relevant to your target customer.
  • Make customer responses more personalised.
  • Reward loyal customers and brand advocates.
  • Urgently respond to all social inquiries – even if the customer appears unhappy or disgruntled.
  • Direct interactions to private or different channels when necessary.

Businesses need to start pushing customer contact boundaries and make positive improvements in order to achieve an outstanding level of customer service.

Customer engagement white paper