Customer Experience & Expectations
We live in a world where many things are commoditized. One area that a company can set itself apart is the customer experience in the customer journey. That success or breakdown could happen during marketing, within the buying process, with the service delivery or post-delivery. During every customer experience touchpoint and at every phase, there is an opportunity to win and retain customers and also lose customers. This is true in a consumer market and in the B2B space. Here are four things that companies consistently do (even if they deny it) that will drive away customers:
- Misleading Them – This happens often during the marketing or the sales process. From that pizza advertisement with the unrealistic cheese to deceptive terminology to close a sale. If you find yourself in a position where you doubt you could pass a lie detector test regarding how you just spoke about your product, chances are the customer will find out as well.Close to home, I have seen companies completely misrepresent what theircustomer experience software platform will do for your business (“You can run your entire business from our platform and it will even make your morning coffee”). While this is an extreme example, I have seen a sale start with one definition of a feature, but suddenly the legal term in the agreement doesn’t quite align with the expectations. You may lock them in for a year, but it will ruin the relationship in the long term.
- Ignoring Their value – Nothing bothers customers more than ignoring the value they perceive to bring to you. Certainly, we have moments like this where the customer overstates their value. Like the line from a movie: “We’ve been coming here for 20 years”, “But sir, we’ve only been open for 8”. However untrue, the emotion behind the comment will be real for the customer. Even worse, when a truly loyal customer is not valued or ignored when their value is known to the brand. A customer experience strategy is not just about measurement, but also about taking action to hear the voice of the customer – particularly those most loyal.
- Ignoring Their complaints – Similar, but slightly different is ignoring the customers’ complaints. There is a reason most customer service experience platforms have a customer feedback loop process included (if it isn’t in there, it shouldn’t call itself a customer experience platform and if it is in there but not included, you should ask your provider why something so valuable to CX costs extra). There will be service failures, it will be your approach to fixing those service failures that will create affinity, discontent or apathy to your brand over time. I’ve even seen where service failures, mitigated correctly, can create brand advocates. And as I mentioned above, apathy could end up being the worst enemy, which is what will happen when complaints are ignored.
- Misunderstanding Their Voice – If they take time to give feedback, be certain to understand what each individual customer is saying to you. I am a huge proponent of sentiment analysis, however this tool can also work against you. It is very important to understand the root cause of a service failure, it is the reason we introduced our proprietary NPS+ question type. While sentiment analysis will categorize and group themes together, it is critical to understand the customer emotion behind those themes, not just trend themes over time. Our Research Edition has a question type called LiveCast for just that reason, to see the expressions and hear the tone. If you only look at the themes on an aggregate level, you will miss context and misunderstand what an individual customer is trying to convey to you. You may come across quite a few “I don’t know” responses, but the detailed responses are worth the read.
I’ve often said that customer experience is about the net effect between the customers’ expectations and the perceptions of the service outcomes. This is reflected in what many experts say about our field like the example displayed here:
One place I would take it further is that in both elements, it will be about their perception and emotion of both the promise and the delivery. “Delight” would be the strongest of such an outcome, then perhaps a strong satisfaction. On the other end, you may have disappointment and further to the extreme dissatisfaction or possibly anger. Depending on your perspective, apathy could be the worst of all of them. The standard is high, the competition is tough, but the rewards – for both the customer and your company – are great.
Looking to deliver an exceptional customer experience with QuestionPro CX? Discover more about how to delight your customer at every touchpoint and turn them into brand advocates.