3 Questions That Help Define a Seamless Customer Experience

By: Sofie De Beule

May 20, 2014

The boom in tablet and smartphone usage has fueled the explosion of social customer service. Most conversations are coming from Facebook and Twitter by people ‘on the go’. As a consequence, customers expect to receive the same kind of service from whatever channel the contact began. This is why seamless customer experience is becoming more expected, meaning that customers seek an expert reply, in real-time, and through the channel of their choice. Unfortunately, for many companies, this is still unexplored territory.

Businesses already clearly realize it’s not about selling their products to you but about providing your audience with the right and relevant information at the point of need. However, many companies are still at a loss and have a lot of questions on how to properly handle this. Therefore, you need to win over your customers’ hearts by creating inspiring, valuable experiences that help build trust and strengthen customer relationships.

How do you offer the same customer experience both on- and offline?

As social customer service is all about experience, that experience needs to be the same both online and offline. Treat your customers like real human beings in a very personalized manner. However, sometimes there just isn’t always time and space for real, face-to-face contact with customers. The best example of this is the case of running an online business. Therefore, it’s important to outline the characteristics of the experience you want to provide, both offline and online, to deliver on these aspects equally.

Bear in mind that no matter what kind of industry your business is operating, customer service expectations are the same. An excellent example of this is being able to provide an experience similar to in-store contact. As previously stated, humanizing conversations is key to making that all-important emotional connection. And in order to do this most effectively, you will need a lot of information about your customer to customize every interaction in a unique way.

How can you deliver consistency across all channels?

Being consistent on all of your channels implies that every customer interaction must be the same. So, no matter what channel a customer chooses to contact you through, whether it be on social media, phone, website, etc., recognize your customer and make sure you make the end-to-end experience the same.

In order to do so, businesses need to create specific standards or guidelines that will help define the elements of every customer interaction. Standards will not only provide you with the opportunity to be consistent, but they also serve as the perfect starting point for further training. Moreover, it’s really important to outline the foundations of your employees’ behavior, so you should continuously observe it to make sure they don’t lose sight.

How can you maintain your competitive advantage in delivering a seamless customer experience?

Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of a seamless customer experience is to make it easy for customers to do business with your company. But what does that actually entail?Evaluate how your company is currently providing social customer service and decide where you want to be positioned in comparison to your competition. Are you able to identify your shortfalls? Do you lack the right team? Do you have the right technology at your disposal? Create a business plan that will cover all grounds.

Once you have all of that written down, take on a particular focus that will really set you apart. A great example of a company who is thinking outside of the box is Charmin. With the Sit or Squat mobile app, users are able to recommend which public restrooms in their neighborhood are suitable or not. This example clearly shows how companies need to embrace technology and think beyond simply replying to questions through traditional customer service channels. Seamless customer experience is all about finding new ways to engage with your audience in a very helpful way.

A Positive Customer Experience is Essential for Long-Term Customer Retention

Over the years, people’s expectations have changed drastically which makes them very critical consumers. No matter how and when they shop for something, customers expect to get a similar, Apple Store-like treatment. Most companies clearly acknowledge a positive customer experience is essential for long-term customer retention. Because customer standards are extremely high, shoppers are merciless to businesses who fail to adjust their service needs.

What brands have you noticed doing a great job differentiating themselves?

This article originally appeared on Maximize Social Business.