Modern-day customers demand more than just satisfactory prices and standard services. These buyers are empowered like never before, and exceptional service is the only way to stand out and drive customer loyalty.
Customer experience, thus, is no longer merely a part of your strategy—it is a way of doing business and maintaining relations.
In fact, CX can be considered the new battlefield for all types of businesses. Every company now strives to make their customers a priority and outshine each other in extending exceptional services.
According to a Superoffice study, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. Thus, it is clear that a positive consumer experience is a driving force behind boosting sales and multiplying revenues.
In continuation of our ‘Expert Opinion’ series, we have Katie Stabler, Founder and Director of CULTIVATE Customer Experience by Design. She will share with us her CX journey and valuable opinions on the customer service domain.
Katie has co-authored the Amazon No#1 bestseller ‘Customer Experience 2’ and has been named one of 150 top Global CX Thought Leaders in 2020. Also a keynote speaker, trainer, and a global team leader, Katie brings the best of industry research and customer service knowledge to the table.
Here are some insights from an exclusive interview with Katie. Read on to know more.
1. Your CX journey has been really fascinating. Would you like to tell us about it?
I started, like most, with humble career beginnings. I worked in a fish stall as a checkout girl on my local seafront, and then as a customer service representative in contact centres. And I’ve always been in customer-facing roles.
In fact, I spent a decade in the not-for-profit sector, where my interest in the area really started to grow. After all, you can’t get a more organically customer-centric organisation than a charity––a place that literally exists to serve its ‘customers’.
I then took my first major corporate role, managing the customer experience programme for one of Europe’s largest credit management companies, a.k.a. a debt collection company. It was a huge cultural change and an ambitious challenge. But I worked with an amazing team and we saw fantastic results in the two years I spent there.
I now run my own customer experience consultancy. We advise organisations on their strategic and operational practice, working with them to work more effectively, efficiently, and profitably.
2. Being a customer experience expert, how do you feel while interacting with and serving your customers?
I believe conversing with customers is highly enlightening––what you learn from every interaction is invaluable. Client communication is essential in my role, and I encourage everybody to take that opportunity in their organisation. Team leaders, managers, directors, MDs, wherever appropriate, should keep their feet on the ground and speak with customers.
3. What are some obstacles that you faced on your journey to becoming a customer experience leader?
Organisational performance measures are often the most common obstacles I have faced. It isn’t unusual to see organisational goals benchmarked against performance measures with little or nothing to do with customers. This can pose to be a challenge when trying to introduce new tactical customer-focused initiatives.
4. Can you advise readers on delivering a good experience, regardless of business size and industry?
Very much in relation to the previous question, the more you focus on what is important to your customers, the more likely you will be to perform on outcomes important to the business.
5. When responding to a customer, how do you decide what information to include or not?
This absolutely depends on your conversation, but the bottom line is that your customers want quick, friendly, and straightforward responses. So, always make sure to acknowledge what they have said and provide the information they seek in a concise yet familiar manner.
6. Can you tell us about a time when you were particularly impressed with an experience with a client?
Many years ago, when I worked for a debt charity, my role was to give legal advice on debt management. There was truly no better feeling than when I spoke to a despondent person who genuinely believed they had no solution and was able to tell them there was a way out for them.
If you empower your employees and enable them to do a great job, they will always provide a great customer experience. And they will enjoy their employee experience to boot!
My chapter focuses on customer experience recovery. It’s about the reality of business—that sometimes things simply go wrong despite our best efforts. Customer experience recovery is about planning to fail; it’s about being prepared to turn a bad customer experience into a great one! (Minimise complaints, stop bad reviews and retain customers.)
8. Do you have a new book that we can look for in the stands soon?
Watch out for my new book sometime soon! Why not head over to my website for my existing books information and other services available – www.cultivatecustomerexperience.com
9. Lastly, how did you feel when you were named one of the top 150 Global CX Thought Leaders in 2020?
What a fantastic accomplishment! It’s a privilege to be recognised among some genuinely amazing CX contributors and I’m thankful to have a spot on the list. It’s a badge I wear with pride and one I hope to maintain over the coming years.
To wrap up
Customers can take your brand from rags to riches (quite literally). However, to make sure that your clients keep coming back and purchasing from you, it is essential to provide world-class services.
Customer satisfaction is now a dated concept. To gain customer loyalty, businesses must take a step forward and exceed buyer expectations.
We hope that this interview provides you with exceptional CX enlightenment and actionable steps that help you craft your next strategy.
To know more about Katie’s opinions and views, you can follow her on LinkedIn.
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Kritagya Pandey is a creative and technical content writer, editor, and strategist. She has been writing on customer experience, customer service, artificial intelligence, cloud communication, and more.
She invests her time researching the current business, market trends, and studying about social media strategies.