In any successful business, the customer always comes first. While there are many different ways for companies to prioritize their customers, from building them a phenomenal product to keeping prices low, the modern business landscape is shifting towards customer experience management.
Defined as the interaction between customer and business over the course of their relationship, customer experience is more than just a corporate buzzword. By 2020, CX is expected to overtake product and price as the top brand differentiator in business, in large part because of its impact on customer loyalty. Many companies see optimizing customer experience as 2019’s most exciting business opportunity, ahead of personalized marketing and digital content creation.
It is generally agreed that optimal customer experience is achieved by listening to customers and giving them what they want. Since this is a basic tenet of customer-focused business, why is customer experience management being talked about like a new, exciting opportunity for brand building? A big reason is technology.
More Chances for Engagement
As businesses from pizza places to shoe stores have expanded their presence online and brought more technology into their brick and mortar stores, they have widened the window for customers to interact with their brand. This has given businesses more opportunities to give people a good experience, and more chances to keep the brand fresh in their minds.
However, businesses need to be diligent when integrating technology into their CX strategy. No matter how a business uses technology for customer experience, from AI chatbots to IoT, they need to ask themselves if these new features are actually helping customers, or if they only make the business look good on the surface. Purpose-driven CX innovation is particularly important in a business landscape where most people are used to interacting with technology throughout their experience with the company.
To capitalize on the multiple engagement opportunities companies now have in front of them, businesses need to understand the different steps in the customer journey, and ensure their tech seamlessly fuses with each step.
Keeping up With Expectations
Among the top concerns for businesses of all kinds is whether they can get ahead of their customers’ constantly evolving expectations. With no shortage of competition in every customer-centric industry, there is a lingering fear among managers that if they are unable to meet expectations, customers will not hesitate to move on to a competitor that will.
For many customers, consistency and convenience are the keys to meeting expectations. These critical elements can be brought into a brand’s CX by ensuring their multiple touchpoints work together. Even though a company might have several ways to engage their customers, from social media to after-the-fact surveys and outreach, what matters most to customers is if they are able to contact a representative when they need to.
Few customers will be impressed by multiple CX channels if they have a hard time reaching the person they are looking for. When a business puts what they know about a customer’s journey together with streamlined engagement strategy, they will be well-equipped to exceed customer expectations.
While technology can make it much easier to give customers positive experiences, it is critical to remember that human interaction is essential to CX. Innovative technology is only so impressive if it is unaccompanied by helpful, attentive customer service. This is why it is essential for companies to implement solutions that empower personalized service instead of replacing it.
Gaining Actionable Insight
It is no secret that the best way to understand the customer journey is by actually getting feedback from customers. For many years, retailers, restaurants and hotels relied on comment cards and other after-the-fact feedback collection techniques to get their customers’ opinions. This is an effective way to understand what the customer thought of their experience after it has been completed, as businesses can use these insights to improve their customer journey.
Social networks and customer review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp have become the default media for this kind of feedback, but having feedback posted on a public forum comes with a significant downside. Negative feedback posted online can do significant damage to a business’ reputation, as responding to a poor review after it has already made an impression on some potential customers is far from ideal.
However, modern businesses now have more options for collecting feedback, and can even get their customer’s opinion while their experience is still recoverable.
A Golden Opportunity for Hotels
Getting feedback from customers while staff can still turn their experience around is a particularly valuable feature for hotels. Hotels that understand how their guests feel about their stay before they check out and leave a negative review have the ability to turn dissatisfied guests into happy ones that will remember the hotel’s dedication to service.
Real-time feedback can revolutionize a hotel’s ability to improve service delivery and guest experience as a whole. The right guest experience software can empower hotels to recover negative guest experiences and give hotels actionable feedback that they would otherwise not collect.
Helix by MicroMetrics helps hotels enact service recovery strategies in real time, preventing negative reviews and developing guest loyalty.