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Business Development Cultivating Positive Relationships Customer Service Opinion

Take exceptional care of your customers to avoid eventual extinction

Regardless of how you define “customer experience,” “customer experiences,” and “customer service,” you need it all. An article in astutesolutions.com goes back and forth between talking about customer experience (CX) and customer service. It’s all interrelated.

The article notes: “We live in the age of the customer. They now have the means and technology at their fingertips that quickly present them access to more options than ever before. Your customers want to do things their way. They expect brands to give them what they want, how they want it, and when they want it. More customers are prioritizing experiences above all else when picking between brands. As a result, the ability to deliver top-notch experiences customers expect can significantly impact your bottom line…$1.6T is lost every year in the U.S. because of poor customer service.”

It’s not only customers who see the critical importance of stellar customer service and experiences. Marketers, stakeholders, and company executives all are on the same bandwagon. According to astutesolutions.com, “81% of marketers expect to compete mostly (or entirely) based on CX (Gartner). This is up from only 36% in 2010 (Gartner). 

3x greater return…CX leaders outperform CX laggards in terms of stock performance. (Watermark Consulting)

83% of executives feel that unimproved CX presents them with considerable revenue and market share risks. (Forbes / Arm Treasure Data).”

An acquire.io blogpost reinforces the notion that, while differences exist between customer service and experience, they both need to be incorporated. Notes the article: “Do all businesses want to keep their customers happy? We’d hope so. Mastering a customer-centric approach involves customer experience and customer service—but do they mean the same thing? Is there a difference between these two terms? In a nutshell, here’s how industry veterans would define each…Customer service focuses on communication and problem-solving so customers get the best out of your service…Customer experience looks at the overall impression that you leave customers in every stage of the customer journey…hopefully you understand why they’re both priorities for your business.”

Dedication to customer care is one area of business performance where those involved with the company can find common ground. Of course, as with anything, opinions about how to do it vary based on economic priorities, experience-based perspectives, and time/resources available to address the issues.

Evolution from good customer care “wanna-be’s” to comprehensive, consistent practices is where the biggest disconnect resides today. It’s a classic case of “talking it” versus “walking it.”

Paying lip service without complete follow-through is worse than doing nothing because it creates unmet expectations. My most memorable example is United Airlines promoting “Fly the friendly skies” in advertising and marketing at a time when its customer service was the subject of myriad poor reports and reviews.

It would have been better, albeit boring and unimpactful, if the airline had used something that aligned promises with performance. Perhaps “We’ll get you there” would have filled the bill.

It’s time for companies that want to thrive—or even survive—to match up their walk with their talk. Both need to focus on top-notch customer service and experience.

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Is taking care of customers a strategy or a tactic? Is it transactional or a relationship? Does it encompass problem-solving or the totality of the experience with the customer? The answer to all of this is…all of this. In some circles, the process of problem-solving with customers is a series of tactical transactions. In other circles, customer care involves an overarching strategy that addresses making the total customer relationship as positive as possible. In some cases, transactional, tactical care is called customer service, while strategic relationship-building and tending is called customer experience. No matter what you call it, it’s all important. Maximum benefits are achieved when a global customer relationship strategy is developed, then implemented in a hands-on way with every customer conversation.

Mark Lusky

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Mark Lusky
mark@marklusky.com

Mark Lusky (aka The Happy Curmudgeon)
is the owner of a Denver-based marketing communications firm. He’s a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience, and author of A Wandering Wondering Jew… and co-author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Leverage.

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