“Many organizations claim to be customer-centric. So why do some continue lose customers, while others deliver phenomenal experiences?”
That’s the opening line in a recent CMS Wire article by Jason VandeBoom. It’s also the central, multi-million-dollar question at the heart of retail business plans these days. In his piece, VandeBoom highlights three critical steps that CX winners consistently take that allow them to deliver best-in-class experiences. I’d like to paraphrase them here. But I’d also like to add a few thoughts about the ever-increasing importance of the customer care agent.
Three best practices of CX Leaders:
- Act on Information, Instead of Reacting to Raw Data
- Pay Close, Constant Attention to Product Feedback and the Industry Trends Influencing Product Choices
- Use CX Findings to Shape the Product Roadmap
Honestly, these are the elements of conversations we initiate with prospective clients all the time – and early in the relationship. Why? Because it seems, too many brands expect far too little from their customer care provider in terms of partnership and collaboration. Customer care and satisfaction stats are “managed” in the contact center silo, while sales and product decisions remain inside the brand silo. This antiquated approach prevents the kind of joint strategizing that leads to better processes, messaging, products, policies, or practices. Ultimately, brands stuck in this cycle will see a downward slide in customer experience, repeat business, loyalty, and profitability.
I’ll break it down further.
As a customer care and CX leader, the truth is, we have access to just about every imaginable kind of data – at previously unimaginable levels of granularity. But while there is a real richness to that, there is also a real risk. The article cites examples of some brands misinterpreting low adoption rates of new product features, then leaping to wrong assumptions about the viability of those new features. By contrast, however, CX savvy brands use individual statistical trends as the starting point for further investigation into other related information in order to understand and solve for root causes rather than just treating symptoms.
Ultimately, this is about doing more than simply “listening” to customers.
It’s about gathering – and listening to – feedback from multiple sources and at multiple levels. In his article, VandeBoom emphasizes the wealth of intelligence available to those brands who pay attention to social media reviews of their brands and products and consumer buying trends. He also strongly suggests interviewing customers to really get more direct answers to the question: how are we doing in your opinion? But aside from separate, formally defined interviews and surveys, there are myriad opportunities to get invaluable feedback from customers every time they reach out to the customer care department.
In other words, there’s a huge difference between “listening” and actively listening. At Skybridge Americas, our commitment to active listening means paying close attention to each customer’s needs when they reach out to us. It means offering answers and solutions that are accurate and helpful – but also, critically, in a tone that shows empathy and a deep appreciation for that customer.
But that’s only the beginning. For us, active listening also means acting on what we hear. It means sharing feedback, findings, and our front-line perspectives with the brands we represent. When this level of partnership exists, there is a continuous process of improving every aspect of the customer experience with a brand.
For us, CX leadership is about CX partnership. If you would like to know more about how Skybridge Americas can partner with you to improve customer experience, please reach out. We would love to talk!
You can read Jason VandeBoom’s article here.
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