Should You Put Product Above The Customer Experience?November 8, 2018
There comes a time in the lifespan of every business where executive, directional decisions must be made. As 2019 approaches, now is the ideal time for businesses of any type and caliber to analyze and survey both customer and employee morale. When your employees are engaged and sold on the culture you’ve provided and the product you’re providing, it shows in their interactions with customers.
These adjustments in the world of business aren’t going to pass you by, but rather serve as a guide through this transformation in the workplace. In 2019 and the years that follow, it’s not going to be the best or most expensive product that wins out at the end of each quarter; it’ll be those who adapt to the current customer climate and adjust their strategies in order to ensure their employees are engaged and creating memorable experiences for their customers.
This customer-centric sentiment does not solely apply to B2C businesses, either. With B2B companies, where the target market is other businesses, this notion should be applied to the people you communicate with, regardless what part of the buyers journey they’re currently at.
Even though you’re in business with other companies and brands, those organizations are populated by people. The human element is often discounted or not considered in terms of business, hurting growth. The truth of it is that we live in a consumer-driven society, and your target market, even in the world of B2B, is still made up of consumers.
When there is payment for any type of service, an expectation is set within, and sometimes prior to, the point of sale. In the B2B world, an expectation of immensely attentive customer service and the same (if not greater) level of care and attention they’d receive as an in-store or eCommerce customer. Yet, numerous businesses are operating in a product-centric way. The wants and needs of the customer being met isn’t the primary concern; innovation and beautification are.
Yes — having a visually-pleasing store, restaurant, office or website is an element of the customer’s overall experience. But replacing personalized and humanized engagement with fun graphics, gripping artwork or an eclectic accent wall isn’t going to have the impact you desire if you aren’t adding them to a customer-centered foundation. Just last year, a Gartner survey found that 81% of companies expect to compete with their rivals on the sole basis of customer experience in the years to come.
With the future of businesses being deeply rooted within the realm of customer experience, you and your team will need to utilize several techniques that will allow you zoom into the customer’s everyday experience with your business — regardless if you’re offering tangible items or SaaS.
In survey conducted in October, ReviewPush found that 67.9% of consumers are more influenced by an online review than a traditional ad when it comes to buying a product. This tells us two things. First, it signifies that more than half of consumers refer to online reviews when considering any type of transaction. Second, because of the constant accessibility to online reviews, the experience your business fosters is being digitally documented and built up; potentially into the opposite experience you’re aiming to give.
Without checking into the vast world of online reviews, you may not know that customers are having problems while interacting with your business in any way. You can have five reviews raving about your in-house selection or how helpful your software is, and 300 ripping your company to pieces due to poor customer service, a disorganized and frazzled environment or another aspect that defines one’s experience with a brand.
By tuning in, you can correct the negative aspects of your personalized customer experience with raw feedback from those who matter most: the customer. This could lead to redemption in the eyes of the consumer, and you may have a new customer on your hand.
Pro tip: regardless of the context within customer feedback, it’s always best to respond by owning up to your mistakes, offering an additional resource to learn more about the issue and ultimately, offering up potential steps to resolving the issue.
With feedback monitoring in place, you can start connecting with and aligning your internal teams of employees. In today’s consumer culture, customers want to do business with companies that stand for something; those that add human elements into their company values to positively impact the relationships they have with their current or potential customers.
Without company values, customers don’t know what it is you stand for, and your employees won’t have a foundation to stand on and dig their heels into. Utilize all hands on deck to brainstorm and create these values, and craft them into a simple list of roughly five or so. Then, incorporate those values and the characteristics they possess into how your team communicates with one another and more importantly: the customer.
Ensuring you streamline the customer experience from their first impression on out will create cohesiveness within your organization, and that’s something customers want to see and feel. If you have values that strike a chord in customers, but when they reach out for additional information and you and your employees aren’t living up to the values and promises you’ve mapped out; you’re actually doing more harm to their experience than good.
Empowering your team through a collaborative effort to define what they think the company values should be enables your truth to really shine. You won’t be left with a list of values that seem impeccable, yet are seen as widely falsified by your employees. When your employees are engaged, your customers will see and feel their engagement and passion for the service or product they’re selling; likely leading them to also buy in.
Overall, there’ is no denying that you must have a product of quality to support the goals for your business. But for growth and longevity in the coming years, we must turn our sails in the direction of customer experience.