It doesn’t matter how amazing your product is. If you fail to deliver a good customer experience (CX), your company is bound to lose customers and sales in the long run. A survey conducted by Oracle revealed that 86% of the customers stop doing business with companies that fail to offer a good customer experience.
Thus, investing in customer service is one of the most crucial decisions you can take for the success of your business.
Delivering great customer service means valuing your customer’s time. This can be achieved by providing them with real-time solutions and meeting their expectations. You can also invest resources to build effective strategies that help you elevate the customer experience your business offers.
In this edition of our ‘Expert Opinion’ series, we spoke to Adrian Swinscoe, customer experience advisor, author, and speaker. A best-selling author, Forbes contributor, blogger, and podcaster, he will share his experiences and give you tips that will help you gain an edge in the CX domain.
Here are some excerpts from our exclusive interview with Adrian.
1.What has your journey as a customer service expert been like?
First of all, I don’t consider myself an expert. I believe that I am a student of what it takes to deliver great service and experience. This approach has allowed me to learn a bunch of things over the years. This, in turn, helps me act as a navigator or guide for organisations that wish to deliver great service and a standout experience to their customers.
However, my journey has taken different forms at different times. Initially, I spent a lot of time building a number of business propositions to provide an excellent experience to customers. But, over the last 12 years, I’ve spent a lot of my time researching, writing, and talking about customer service and experience as well as advising a number of brands and vendors.
To be honest, I’ve always been more interested in the customer’s experience rather than the topic of customer experience (CX).
2.What are some of the biggest obstacles that most businesses face while delivering customer service?
Some of the biggest obstacles that most businesses face while ensuring good customer service are:
- Insufficient investment in self-service tools and resources for their customers
- Seeing customer service as a cost despite it being an asset
- Limited understanding of their customer base
- Lack of trust in their agents or employees’ capabilities
3.Is there a common tip that can help different businesses streamline their customers’ journeys?
I suggest that you figure out how you can spend more time with your customers, paying close attention to details. If you do that enough and on a regular basis, these tactics will tell you where the problems lie. Then you can go about streamlining their journeys. Don’t guess. Go and find out.
4.Tell us about some changes and trends you’ve noticed in these past years?
The possibilities of technology have exploded in the last few years. While many of them are very exciting, many are also concerning. In my opinion, the danger and challenges of technology lie in our obsession with it––it has become the answer for everything. Amid this, we lose out on the importance of the human touch and miss out on what is important for the customer.
Here’s a quote from the chapter ‘Customer behaviour is changing: check your assumptions’ from my book ‘How To Wow’ that I think might be helpful:
“When we set out to design, build and deliver a great customer experience––or anything else for that matter––we tend to make assumptions about who it is for, what they like, what they prefer, and what they enjoy.”
However, in the face of ever-changing consumer behaviour, can we be sure that our assumptions are correct?
Alan Alda, the famous actor, offers some sage advice: Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.
Here is how to use this idea—old assumptions about what different demographic groups do or prefer are no longer as valid as they were. Therefore, companies need to be careful not to make outdated assumptions about their customers.
This has implications for the design and delivery of customer experience. To understand this better, here are a few things that you should do:
- Be clear about the assumptions about your product/service and your target market
- Make your assumptions explicit and list them out
- Then, go and check them against what your customers actually do, think, and value
After applying these, you will surely be surprised by what you find out.
There are too many things to pick. What I would say, though, is that there is no one answer or one solution to providing a great experience. The answer will always depend on the customer and the business.
7.What is the most remarkable leadership lesson you discovered while writing your book ‘Punk CX’?
The most remarkable leadership lesson that I discovered while writing my book ‘Punk CX’ was that if you want to be a well-connected and insightful leader, then you need to commit time for it.
Martijn Gribnau, Chief Transformation Officer at Genworth Financial, spends a third of his time with his own employees to better understand their work and how he can help them. Then, he spends an additional third of his time just walking around, getting a better understanding of the business. Only the remaining time of his day is used to get work done.
8.Are you working on any new book? If yes, we’d love to know more about it.
I have a few ideas floating around in my mind but nothing concrete that I can share right now.
Adrian Swinscoe has been working as a CX advisor for several businesses for the last 16 years. He’s also the author of Amazon’s bestseller book ‘Punk CX’.
Needless to say, the insights brought out in this interview can help you build customer loyalty and enhance the customer experience. The strategies shared with us by Adrian will help you deliver a ‘wow’ customer service and take your business to the next level.
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