The Holy Grail – Beyond Service to Customer Experience

How can a brand go beyond good customer service to create a full-fledged, brand-loyalty-inducing customer experience?

This week, my colleague, Ilan Dar, Senior Director, Products & Security at LiveOps, and I participated in panel sessions at ITEXPO West in Las Vegas. While we both discussed a variety of topics affecting brands today, the concept of evolving customer service into a full-fledged customer experience was a common thread.  It takes more than just the right, agent-enabling technology to create a unique overall brand experience. Creating the brand experience requires the amalgamation of goals and performance metrics across the marketing, sales, operations and service departments. A cross-department approach helps to ensure that team members are working toward a common goal and are being held accountable for customer interactions across all touch points in the customer engagement lifecycle. With 85 percent of consumers agreeing that their experience with a brand’s customer service agents has a major impact on their impression with the brand overall, all departments need to view agents as brand ambassadors and make the right technology and operations decisions that enable them to succeed. This includes empowering agents with proper training, a clear growth path and the tools required to do their jobs well in a cross-channel environment.

During one of his sessions, Ilan shared the importance of a clear social media strategy when it comes to engaging with customers, another key ingredient for a successful customer experience recipe. With 61 percent of social media users feeling that brands do not effectively communicate with them via social channels, developing and implementing a social media plan for customer engagement can give a brand a leg up on the competition and be a huge factor in overall brand perception. With a new, social media literate generation of customers ready to spend, social customer interactions will only continue to rise, and it’s imperative that brands prepare accordingly.

Looking back to the question we posed above, it’s clear that there are numerous elements that contribute to a customer’s experience with a brand. Through innovative technology, a clear strategy and a team effort, brands can set themselves up to deliver a memorable experience and gain a lifelong customer in the process.

–          Ann Ruckstuhl, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer