A lot is has been written and said about delivering exceptional customer experiences, but more often than not it is organizations showcasing the efforts they take to delight customers. And ideally, it should be quite the opposite. What organizations ought to aspire for are customer experiences which work so well that customers themselves can’t help but talk about and praise them! Quite a few market-leading companies like Allcargo Logistics, ECU Worldwide, Gati and others take consistent efforts to achieve this.
The ‘Reviews’ section for any products or services, on online or offline platforms is usually likely to be populated by more negative than positive reviews. This is because customers who have a negative experience are two or three times more likely to share a negative review as compared to happy customers leaving a positive review. Human nature, after all that criticism comes easy but praise isn’t all that forthcoming!
So for organizations that seek to deliver customer experiences that customers actually talk about, even exceeding expectations is not enough. The performance needs to be at a level that breaks down this barrier and compels customers to share their positive experiences.
What it takes is well-defined processes, teams enabled to adhere to them, challenges anticipated in advance and solutions offered proactively without customers needing to ask.
Put team members in charge
If the aim is to deliver a great customer experience, it goes without say that those on the frontline have got to be trained and empowered. Each individual needs to know his or her role, not just in terms of technicalities and operations but also a perspective on how their actions have an impact on the big picture and drive the overall customer experience. This will help team members take the right decisions at the right time.
Another critical requirement is to empower customer-facing team members with the authority to take decisions that will help enhance the customer experience, even during circumstances where it might not directly be under their purview.
Customers too are far more likely to feel positively about the experience if the team member they’re interacting with in the first place can help out without the need to approach the manager or any other higher authority.
Leading logistics services provider Gati was able to exponentially increase its e-commerce load volumes in certain regions only because of constant feedback from the customer support team which helped other teams align their activities accordingly, and as a result achieve much higher levels of customer confidence and trust.
An approach of helping out
In a customer front-ending business or service, every team member right from the security guard who opens up the premises to the senior-most decision-making authority should inculcate an attitude to assist customers with whatever they need.
Basic details like the process to be followed, the approximate time taken for each step of the customer journey, and answers to likely questions that first-time customers might have, must be known to every team member.
It only adds to the positive customer experience if there are clear, unmistakable instructions and signages to guide customers and help them avail services in a smooth, seamless and efficient manner.
For global logistics services provider ECU Worldwide, responding to customers’ queries for cargo movements across the world often requires coordination with offices across geographies and time zones. But instead of having customers wait or come back later, the organization leverages digital technology to its advantage. With a state-of-the-art platform, ECU360, not only has it enabled its global sales and customer service team members to access necessary information 24×7, but also gone a step ahead and empowered even customers to independently complete transactions online, at their own convenience.
Everything’s better with a smile
Warmth and politeness go long way in making a good customer experience great, and more importantly, a not-so-great customer experience reasonably better.
A polite greeting, or saying thank you, or enquiring after the well-being of a known customer and his or her family are simple ways to take the customer experience a notch higher. While there is no doubt on the importance of being efficient and capable of getting the job done within the set timelines, these small gestures help forge that valuable human connect which makes the experience pleasant and memorable for customers.
An organization-wide training has been conducted at Allcargo’s world-class CFS facilities throughout the country, so that customers can experience this difference. The aim is to make sure that despite the numerous steps to be completed, requisite documentation and customs formalities, customers feel pleasant and at ease right from the point they step into the premises till their task is done.
In today’s day and age where digital transformation is pushing boundaries and we are looking at Natural Language Processing (NLP) and other learning techniques to make chatbots and robots learn to have human-like conversations, it’s only fair that actual humans have them too!
Who’s getting it right?
For many years in the past government processes in India were called out for their trademark bureaucracy and complete indifference to the needs of customers. In recent times however, they have seen some tremendous improvements. Getting a passport might have been a nightmarish experience, but that story is long over. What citizens experience today, is a streamlined process with officials who know exactly what they are doing, are ready to help proactively, show respect and deliver with great efficiency.
Disney’s theme parks have been known for their customer service and the organization has even encapsulated their learning in training programmes offered through the ‘Disney Institute’ so other companies can benefit from them.
For customers, great customer experiences at the theme parks now extend into the digital space too. Using the ‘My Disney Experience’ platform, visitors can book tickets, check times for shows, plan meals, buy food and merchandise and even check hotel availability and transportation options, all within a single tool!
Delivering great customer experiences is a process of constant action, feedback, analysis, improvement, unlearning and relearning – and the only ones who get it right are those who are in it for the long haul, with constant perseverance and a can-do, will-do attitude.