In order to establish, strengthen and sustain lasting customer relationships, customer experience management is a necessity for businesses of all kinds. Here’s how you can make it a true success.
Customer experience represents the process of managing a customer’s entire experience with a service provider. In this sense, customer experience management represents the collection of processes a company uses to track and organise every customer interaction during a customer life-time journey.
The insights into all touch points of the overall customer experience then allow the service provider to continuously improve performance and raise satisfaction levels. Over time, this may open new opportunities for business development and joint innovation projects.
To create sustaining and strong relationships, the ability to systematize, refine and document the physical part of service delivery is critical. At the same time, one should not underestimate the importance of managing the emotional aspects of a customer relation. Undoubtedly, these also also play a vital role in any great customer experience.
To successfully manage a customer experience, a service provider needs to include these three areas:
Working with customer data and feedback is of crucial importance when managing customer experiences. Customer intelligence assists management to evaluate the value of the current customer base and make decisions regarding future priorities. Designed properly, such input will also provide a basis for development within the following areas:
- Service concept development: provides valuable input for defining new successful concepts and improving weak links.
- Service value: as input is important to benchmarking data across businesses’ units and locations
- Management development: provides input for successful account managers and improving the value proposition.
It is primarily the responsibility of every service provider to perform systematic follow-ups on customers. In that connection, creating yearly non-anonymous customer surveys that focus on both service performance and relationship management are recommended.
Performing customer surveys allows valuable insights into where and how the service provider must improve efforts in order to ensure customer retention and profitability while stimulating development and dialogue.
To gain a thorough understanding of customers it is wise to survey both decision makers, main influencers but also end-users, for example customer employees or guests using the facilities. Having a 360 degree perspective with the customer as the turning point allows the service provider to draw a direct link from “outside in” diagnostics to “inside out” action planning. Furthermore, it gives the service provider the chance to pick up early warning signals from employees and users before they reach the decision-makers in the customer’s organisation.
Mapping the touch points between service provider and the customer and designing every single one of them is the key to elevating customer experience. This includes bridging any cultural gaps that may exist between the service provider and the customer’s organization and aligning the account team to the customer’s business culture.
The account management principles support this process. As illustrated in the ISS diamond-shaped KAM model below, the service provider should strive to establish customer relationships on all interface levels. This will allow picking up even vague signals of dissatisfaction.
Raising performance is just one of the many reasons to continuously focus on improvement. Even if the customer is satisfied, the service provider can still gain benefits in the form of cost saving, effectiveness and efficiency by constantly focusing on improving the service delivery process. In fact, optimal solutions will improve the quality delivered while at the same time reducing the cost of operations. A true win-win scenario.
Working structurally with continuous improvements will take you through the entire process from evaluation of the current services delivered over analysing performance and implementing improvement initiatives to reviewing the impact of the changes made.
Learn more about how you can improve customer experiences and the overall service deliveries. Read our blog post about the Four Key Elements of a Service Delivery System or download our White Paper - Service Management 3.0: The next generation of service.
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How does your company manage customer experiences? Share your inputs below.