|Exceptional Customer Experiences Drive Trust, Loyalty, Advocacy|
|Tuesday, May 01 2012|
Customer Experience is the sum of customers' interactions with your business. Every time a customer calls, e-mails, or otherwise communicates with someone at your company, consider it an interaction that contributes to that customer's overall experience with your business. In an age where more business is being conducted online and communications are diversifying into social media and mobile communications, the Web is an essential driver of the overall customer experience, which we've covered in the past on Tuesdays with Tukaiz. Ultimately, while people might not remember one particular conversation, e-mail, text message, or tweet related to your company, they'll certainly remember how your company made them personally feel. That's what customer experience is all about.
Delivering exceptional customer experiences across all channels generates three key elements that enhance business relationships and increases the lifetime value of a customer:
By earning trust, loyalty, and advocacy from your customers by giving them a great experience, their value is enhanced and can help generate net new business for your organization. There are a number of companies that are delivering exceptional customer experiences today, resulting in happy customers and more profitable results.
Research firm Forrester tracks 160 brands across 13 industries each year for its Customer Experience Index ratings. It surveys over 7,000 consumers to get a broad sampling of insights on which companies and industries are excelling at deliver exceptional customer experiences and which ones are in need of (sometimes dire) improvement. USAA leads the pack in Forrester's rankings; it scored impressively well for all of its lines of business, including insurance, credit cards, and banking. While it offers great products, its cutting-edge services like a mobile app that enables customers to deposit checks by snapping a picture of them with their smartphone helps USAA stay ahead of the curve while providing a great experience to customer. Other high-ranking companies on this list include Kohl's, Amazon.com, JCPenney, Hampton Inn, and others.
Zipcar is another company leveraging technology to deliver a great customer experience. The company offers a car-sharing service targeted at major cities and universities where people may not own a car. Cars are dispersed across many locations and can be reserved on an hourly basis. While this may seem like a logistical nightmare to manage, Zipcar leverages a cutting-edge technology infrastructure, including its Website, mobile apps, and RFID cards to manage its network of cars. From a user's point of view, they go on the site or the app, find cars by car type, location, and/or availability, reserve a car, and then go to that location when my reservation starts.
What makes the Zipcar experience exceptional is that they've created solutions for virtually every conceivable problem that customers might encounter throughout their entire experience. What if the car is running low on gas? There's a credit card in the car that can be used at gas stations to refill. What if you forget your keycard to open the car? That's okay; it can be opened right from the mobile app. What if you're running late on an errand and need to extend your time? Easy; just go on the mobile app and add another hour to the reservation if it's available. Having these solutions makes the Zipcar vision a reality while delivering an exceptional customer experience to boot.
By mapping the journey a customer takes and using technology to tailor specific solutions to optimize that journey, these companies are delivering exceptional experiences that drive trust, loyalty, advocacy, and greater lifetime value of customers.