Do You Have Enough Customer Experience Officers Handling Your Online Business?
Customer interactions can be very difficult in the online and mobile era with more of a premium now being placed on the customer experience. With an increasing number of touch points between you and your customers do you have enough customer experience officers handling your online business? As an experienced website development company with over a decade in the business, we wanted to share our perspective on the best way to create a memorable engagement with your customers.
The Rebirth of the Customer Experience
Years ago the customer experience was paramount to a business’s success. Stores maintained a staff that was often very knowledgeable in their niche and they were taught to provide high level customer service for each and every person they dealt with, often going to extraordinary lengths you simply don’t see today. Stores regularly went above and beyond to retain customers with things like free gift wrapping, offering coffee or other refreshments, carrying packages to cars and more.
There was a time when that type of service was the norm because a premium was placed on the customer experience to retain business.
In a way, the rise of chains and big box stores helped eradicate higher level customer service as smaller businesses and the mom-and-pop stores not only faced extinction but also had to cut back on excess expenses to fight a dwindling bottom line.
With the rise of the online world, there has been a bit of a rebirth for customer service. Faceless companies have the challenge of dealing with the natural disconnect that takes place between a business and its customers when there is a lack of human connection and care and one of the best ways to do that is by providing an excellent customer experience.
The Rise of the CXO
The idea of a Chief Experience Officer (CXO) has gained popularity of late. It is a position that looks to oversee every aspect of the user experience, from web and app design to customer service interactions and even marketing. While some CXO’s focus solely on web and app interactions, others cover the entire life cycle of a business from first to final customer contact.
Now this position is an interesting one because it has no real background. There isn’t a college major for user experience. Most people that hold a title like CXO are the first to do so at their particular company and often it is the first time that they have held that position.
Because of the newness of that position, many companies question whether they actually need someone specifically in that role.
An Alternate Idea
A newer idea, that is gaining steam in some business circles, is instead of using a CXO a business should empower employees that interact with customers to become customer experience officers. By elevating your front line employees, the ones regularly interacting with your customers during your business lifecycle, you can ensure that each interaction has the most positive impact possible.
You probably have seen this idea in action more frequently. For example, many online chat customer service representatives will ask if you have any additional issues, if there is anything else than can do for you, etc and then you are typically promoted to complete a survey. Both pieces, the customer interaction and the survey, are important to make sure that contact was handled well and if not how it can be improved.
A key aspect of this type of engagement starts at the top with strong leadership and clearly defined goals. You want employees to understand that each and every customer is important, that empathizing with their issues is vital, and give them the power to step outside the box when needed to increase customer satisfaction.
Zappos, the online shoes and clothing store, is a great example of how to make employees into CXO’s because at Zappos they wanted to make online shopping as personal as possible. They also want to ensure that they have done everything they can on their end to ensure the interaction was a positive one.
By having a great customer experience as a central goal of the business, it is more ingrained in every aspect of the business from customer service calls to the product along with the website, social media and mobile connections.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that business is shifting away from automation and back towards the user experience to help fuel customer retention and loyalty. One of the best ways to do this is by having enough customer experience officers handling your online or brick-and-mortar business which can be accomplished by enacting a strong policy and then empowering the people you already have in contact points.
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