We at ProProfs bring to our readers a thought-provoking conversation we had with Shep Hyken, the Customer Service and Experience Expert.
He is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. A bestselling author featured on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, he has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession.
Shep Hyken offers valuable insights into the customer support domain and how to create a customer-centric culture in your organization. Here are the excerpts from his interview:
Question: How to create a customer-centric business? Can journey mapping be used as a tool?
Creating a customer-centric business is possible when you involve customers in every business decision you make.
It does not imply that one needs to make every decision that brings delight to customers but involves them in decision-making.
For instance, if a company plans to increase the price of its products or services, it won’t delight the end user, but they have to make the customer understand that cost is involved in delivering in a certain level of service. If the quality of the service goes for a toss, the customer may lose interest in your business.
In today’s technology-driven era, a business needs to employ different technologies to deliver a seamless customer service experience.
You may employ a chatbot so that your employees don’t have to be available all the time and answer a lot of questions.
Doing so may be a prudent business decision, depending on the kind of questions asked by your customers and the business you are in. You may need to consider these factors.
I am a huge believer of journey mapping. I feel that journey mapping is not only important from the perspective of your customers but, the same needs to take place within the company. Only then can you drive customer experience.
If a company looks at a typical journey map, it needs to consider all the touch points and actions that the customers have with the company. These touch points may be the product, service, processes, and people.
In addition, you need to check what’s happening internally within the organization, when you develop a customer-centric strategy.
Delighting your customers doesn’t mean that you make your employees work harder for long hours. After all, as an organization, you don’t want them to leave or become less engaged.
Businesses these days employ customer support software to make their customers happy but, doing so may increase the workload on your employees. They may have to enter more information or view multiple screens. You can’t overload your employees to end up with delightful customers. As a business, you need to figure out on your own if journey mapping is a good tool.
Question: What is your take on customer support vs. customer success?
As the term implies, customer support is when the customer has a request or query and they contact the company via different channels, such as phone, email, chat or chatbot. This way they get the response to their query or the resolution of their issue.
Customer success is a more proactive approach, as we are here looking to solve customers’ problem.
Let us take an example to better understand this concept. If your customers buy a software program from you and they get a service executive dedicated to help them get started and resolve any issues, then they won’t need any customer support. This way you end up delivering a great customer service experience.
Out of customer support and customer success, a business cannot decide which is the more important one, as they are mutually connected. They go hand-in-hand and are crucial for optimal customer experience; making agents life easy.
Question: How do you stop your customers from moving on to your competitors?
A customer expects two primary things out of your business – your product to perform the best way possible and to get a positive service experience at the end of the day.
When you combine these two, you can create value for your customer.
If your customers are content with your product and service experience, there are fewer chances of them switching the brand.
Why will they move on to your competitors, when the product performs well, people are helpful, knowledgeable, and there is an availability of support anytime, anywhere?
A business can be competitive even when the prices are high if you fulfill customers’ expectations about your product and deliver an exceptional service experience.
Question: Can you discuss the strategies that growing companies need to adapt to turn customers into brand advocates?
As a business, you need to understand the difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer. If someone is satisfied, it’s a rating, but if the customer is loyal, it’s an emotion. There is a difference between the two. You need to deliver a level of service that is predictable and consistent.
If you are in a frontline business, which means that you need to directly face the customer, ensure that they come back to you. The current level of service experience you deliver to them helps you ascertain if customers turn into brand advocates.
You need to assure your customers that you resolve their problems and fulfill their demands now and in the future as well.
Question: What is the best way for a company to improve its customer experience? Choose one from the options below and tell why you have made that choice?
1. Focus on employee experience
2. Walk in the customer's shoes
3. Define & review customer-centric values within the company
4. Provide a great experience across channels
5. Get customer feedback
I opine that all the choices listed above are important to improve customer experience. However, the focus should be on employee experience.
I prioritize “Define & review customer-centric values within the company”. Create a service vision for your organization, train your employees, and treat them the way you wish to treat your customers.
Next in line is the focus on employee experience. Once you have created a service vision for your organization you can drive your employees towards that. It is dispensable for an organization today to create a customer-centric culture and treat the employees the way they want customers to be treated.
Walking in the customer’s shoes carries much importance for ensuring unparalleled service experience.
Providing a great experience across channels is another marketing tactic that you need to practice to ultimately capture customer feedback.
You can manage your customer support only when customer feedback can be measured. This emphasizes the significance of customer feedback. You need to act on the feedback and improve your processes.