The world of customer care is littered with industry terms.
Let’s quickly dive into the three most commonly used phrases and then focus on elements that matter most to customers.
To get started, I’ll describe three concepts related to caring for people (whether we call those people – team members, employees, customers, clients, patients, users, or vendors).
Service – assistance or guidance provided during the brand journey.
Experience – the perception of those you serve based on interactions with your products, people, and technology.
Success – a strategy that ensures you meet the needs of those you serve.
For me, customer care begins with a commitment to customer success.
Before creating customer experiences or offering customer service, we must understand what customers want, need, or desire and how core customer segments define success. It doesn’t matter if you operate in a business-to-business or business-to-consumer context; your sustainability depends upon helping others achieve success. In the words of Zig Ziglar
You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.
As you embark on your “customer success strategy,” it’s important to understand how your core customer segments interact with you in pursuit of their success. What do they see, hear, smell, think, and feel along their journey? What do they hope to gain, and where do they encounter pain or friction? By assessing your customers’ journeys, you can design processes and interactions that optimize their experience with you. This design process is augmented through effective listening and observation, so you continually improve customers’ perceived experiences.
Finally, to help your customers succeed, you must train team members to provide helpful service (assistance and guidance) throughout the customer’s journey (e.g., consideration, sale, post-sale, and solicitation of future business).
Customer Success, Customer Experience, and Customer Service are critical elements of sustained business growth, and the concepts aren’t interchangeable. In short,
- Your business should exist to help your customers succeed.
- You should design all interactions between yourself and your customers to optimize the experience (perceptions) they have in pursuit of their success.
- You must train team members to deliver service (assistance and guidance) throughout the customer’s journey with you.
How are you doing at driving customer success while providing an easy, consistent, sensory-rich, and memorable set of experiences?
How are your team members doing at providing customer service from marketing to post-sale?
Michael LaBaeuf once noted, “A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”
I modify Mr. LaBauef’s observation this way,
A successful customer is the best business strategy of all. Especially, if that success occurs in the context of an optimal experience rich with customer service (assistance and guidance).
To learn more about ways to ensure customer success, outstanding customer experiences, and consistent customer service, please get in touch with me at josephmichelli.com/contact.
Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.
Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli
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