Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru
Someone once said “Customers may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” In today’s customer centric era, customer experience is so crucial to every firm that it has to be part of the the top priorities of every company. Despite this evolution from product centricity to customer centricity, a multitude of firms and mangers still have several misconceptions because of which they move customers further down their list of priorities.
There are various customer experience myths floating around, some that I have personally heard from people. I decided to compile a list of the most common ones and discredit them here.
1. Customer Experience is the responsibility of a certain department
You may assume your company to be customer centric and assign the marketing and customer service departments to handle customer experience. However, if this is the case, your company is not customer centric. To truly be customer centric, place your customer at the centre of the organisation and allow them to influence decisions across all departments.
It would be best to hire a Director of Customer Experience or a Chief Customer Officer, in order to represent your customers’ best interests. Just having a customer service team in place doesn’t help communicate the customers’ inputs throughout the firm. With the backing of the CEO and various other high-level executives, the Chief Customer Officer should be given the privilege to introduce changes that might have otherwise been ignored. In the end, you could hold the CCO accountable for Customer Experience, but it should be everybody’s responsibility!
2. Marketing budget must be greater than the Customer Service Budget
Although you may think that pumping money into marketing will bring you a lot of business, that isn’t necessarily true. How many potential customers would have the time to read one of your billboards when they are zooming past at a hundred kilometres an hour? Not many I’m assuming.
What you should rather do is split your marketing budget and spend a sizable chunk on retaining promoters. If you do it right, your promoters will augment your marketing department efforts. They are the ones who will rave about your brand and get you more customers at a lower cost of acquisition than any channel you could imagine. Spend your money on keeping promoters happy and you will receive less complaints and more compliments. That brings me to my next point:
3. Customer acquisition is all that matters for growth
Don’t be shocked if I told you that it’s not true. According to the White House Office for Consumer Affairs it is 6-7 times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. As per another research by Marketing Metrics the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5%-20%, while the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60%-70%.
Now think again. Customer loyalty, while difficult to acquire and sustain, costs you lesser than customer acquisition. Keep your promoters close and they will get you new customers.
4. Customer Experience begins after the sale
Whenever you start a company or begin a new product development, consider potential customers as the heart of your company and customer experience as the blood that runs through it. Customer experience must begin much before your product or service is released. You should be able to find out what your potential customers would want and make amends as per their needs and desires.
When you start focusing on the experience of your potential customers before the sale, you’d have established a relationship by the time they become your customers. Keep them engage and excited about your product or service and you’ve already acquired a group of promoters for your product or service.
Related Article: Why Not To Think Of Customer Experience Only After The Sale
5. Forget customer experience, low prices retain customers and keep them happy
Everybody loves a low price, but that doesn’t mean that your customers are happy. Take Apple for example. Their prices aren’t the lowest but the quality and experience that they provide are unparalleled. Despite Apple’s high prices they have around 20% of the worldwide smartphone market share. Moreover, iPhone users rave about the phone so much that every person who doesn’t have an iPhone wants one.
As per a study by McKinsey 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Additionally According to a CEI Survey, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, but only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations. The evidence is right there, so don’t focus on luring customers with low prices, rather entice them with unmatched customer experience.
6. Customers cling to one channel of communication
A lot of companies around the world have this common misconception that certain customers will stick to certain channels to communicate with the company. For example, the younger generation prefers to use electronic modes of communication and the older generation prefers print. Confining customers in this way only leads to a bad experience for them.
According to Gina Ferrara, a senior analyst at Madison Advisors, “Customers may start with one channel and finish a transaction on another channel, and what companies often don’t consider is that the channel mix is not a linear path.” She adds, “That’s why it’s important to give customers multiple options [for engaging with your company] and have a system for managing those touchpoints.” Today customers of all demography like the ease of interacting and engaging with companies from their mobile phone. Yes, some may still prefer a face to face interaction, and others might want to talk to a person on customer service line instead of an IVR. The point here is that companies shouldn’t restrict themselves to one channel assuming their customer demography’s preference, companies should rather focus on engaging with their customers across every possible channels. It will only make your customers’ life easier, which in turn will enhance their experience.
7. One resolution works for all
Personalise, personalise, personalise! I can’t emphasise that enough. Sending one monotonous, apology letter to all customers will make them think that you don’t care about them. It’s almost like trying to make a cube of ice after placing it in a cylindrical mould. Not all customers fit into the same mould.
While one customer may be happy with the solution to his problem, the other won’t budge without a refund. Hence it is vital to contextualise the way customer issues are addressed and therefore personalise the customer experience.
8. Under-promising and over-delivering is the way to go
I was recently taking a flight from Bangalore to New Delhi, and the airline claimed a flight time of 2 hours and 50 minutes. Dreading the long flight I prepared myself by uploading documentary on my iPad that was 2 hours and 40 minutes long. The perfect way to spend that time! However, after 2 hours of flight time, the captain announced a landing in fifteen minutes and that truly frustrated me – I was really looking forward to finishing that documentary! Although I was happy to be landing sooner, I was also left with the realisation that the airline was overstating the time so they could get the ‘early-arrival’ reward. It just ingrained in me a sense of distrust for that airline.
Despite under-promising and over-deliviring seeming like a great strategy to please your boss, it certainly falls flat when it comes to customer expectations. For some reason, customers know when they come across such situations. It truly frustrates some and mars customer experience for many. No doubt it is a great feeling to get more than expected, but under promising to exceed expectations is perhaps not the brightest idea because you could be cut down by someone else who is making a bigger promise and meeting it every time!
9. Less complaints mean happy customers
According to the White House Office of Consumers Affairs, for every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent. Don’t take for granted that no complaints mean that customers are having an excellent experience. Maybe you haven’t facilitated convenient means for customers to provide feedback.
In fact, you should encourage customer complaints and feedback. It is the primary method for you to truly gain a perspective on what you’re doing wrong. Jay Baer, a customer experience consultant and author says
If you accept the premise that complaints are free market research, the more complaints you receive the better.
On an average, it is said that 70-90% of the customers don’t even complain. Therefore, make it as easy as possible for customers to give you feedback and tell you about problems. At the end of the day an unhappy customer will just retell their experience to their friends and relatives, which in turn spreads to others. Your competitor is always there to welcome them with open arms.
Related Article: 4 Simple Steps To Make The Most Of The Voice Of the Customer
There are many more myths, about customer experience. However these are the most important ones that needed to be debunked. Look at each one and asses if such myths float around in your company. Always remember to cultivate and prioritise customer experience and success will follow from there.