There is a trending conversation discussing the difference between customer service vs. customer experience. Customer experience is a fairly new topic that is starting to gain traction due to a broader range of what it actually covers.
Most agree that customer service stops with the physical interaction of a customer engaging with a company. This is usually direct communication using the phone, email, chat, social media or snail mail (eek!).
Customer experience casts a broader net in that it not only covers the customer's direct interaction with the company, but includes all touch points the customer may engage with the company. Each of these touch points need to create a consistent feel and experience with the customer.
Touch points are an opportunity to communicate who you are and what you are all about to the customer. They allow you to connect and create an emotion.
Listed below are a few of the main touch points everyone should not ignore.
The first interaction a customer usually has with any online business is through the website. This is the modern day storefront.
With a website the first thing you need to do is to be able to quickly communicate-
Who you are
What you do
How you are going to be able to solve the customer's need
This should be done in the first 5-10 secs of the user being on the site.
Beyond that a website should be used as a continuing education resource and as a customer service tool. It should be the hub that allows your customers to find out deeper information on what you offer. The website is a resource to help them answer questions or get validation on what you are providing. Some disagree, but I think customers should also know the pricing and what they can expect to be charged.
Every aspect of your website should communicate a story to either educate or entertain (or both) your potential customers. The website should be created with a purpose and with a call to action.
This is the actual product (or service) your customer will be using. This is the biggest representation of your company.
If the website is the glitz and glamour, the product is your hammer.
Your product is the centerpiece to building a business and a reputation. Without a quality product the rest of the touch points become empty and full of fluff.
NOTE: SherpaDesk is a product company and we always focus a lot on making the product great...which is great. However, it's just ONE element of the customer experience cycle. As important as the product is we always try to remind ourselves we can't get trapped in singling out this touch point. All touch points are necessary to create the ultimate customer experience.
3. Customer Support
One of the more valuable touch points usually occurs during some emotional event of the customer with the company. This is where a company's real opportunity is to shine. Customer support can be rough.
- It can be a thankless, stressful, and extremely difficult job.
- Customers want to blame someone. If you represent the company, they blame you.
- Customers never call when they are happy. They only call when something is broken.
- Most – not all – customers want to vent and to receive compassion before a solution. Sometimes, they only want to vent.
- Customers, contrary to popular belief, are often very wrong and quite misguided.
It's during customer support when a company is able to convert a paying customer into a life long loyal customer. It's all in how you are able to respond.
Always remember that a customer contacting you about a customer service issue is a blessing! They are giving you an opportunity to make it right. A lot of times they will just not even let you know and just go to your competitor.
This is a double whammy. You have lost the business and you don't know why.
4. Social Media
More and more users look to social media to help evaluate companies. Social media is a window into your company and it should give customers the ability to identify with your culture.
This doesn't mean you have to be on ALL social media.
Companies should only participate in social media in which their customers tend to hang out and communicate.
NOTE: This is still an area we are exploring ourselves. We have not yet been able to quantify it's effect, however, it has allowed us to personally engage with customers. It has helped us integrate a more human element into a web delivered business. This has made it worth it.
This is sometimes left off the touch point list, but should be included. Billing is important as it is directly hitting the customer's bottom line. Whether it's monthly, annually or a one time purchase a company never ever wants to introduce surprises to the customer at the time of billing.
It can really create an awkwardness leaving the customer feeling duped.
TIP: Add a little lagniappe (little something extra to drive differentiation) to the billing. This could be with a note, a discount or a coupon.
Use billing as your final touch point to say thank you.
These are some of the main touch points we will continue to focus on as we work to create a consistent experience with our customers. Let us know if you can think of any others.
We would love to add them to the list!