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What organizations overlook about the customer experience

by ​Gloria Farrell
Growing customer engagement.

Reducing customer churn.

Building a customer relationship strategy.

These should be important goals in any organization. But while many businesses aim to provide a better customer experience, they often find themselves at a loss at how to go about it. For other organizations, expectations may not be matching reality. A Bain & Company survey found that while 80 percent of organizations think they provide a superior experience to their customers, customers say that only 8 percent of companies actually deliver.1

​Customer experience is nothing if not complex, and it can be challenging to find the common thread between the internal and external factors that leads to a quality customer experience.

Customer experience is nothing if not complex, and it can be challenging to find the common thread between the internal and external factors that leads to a quality customer experience. And with the ever-increasing number of customer touchpoints — each of which can be the formulative experience that determines whether a customer chooses to continue to engage with your organization or leave for a competitor — it’s more important than ever to maximize the value of these touchpoints.

Wasted potential

If there is one thing that touches every aspect of your organization, from sales and marketing to distribution, HR and accounting, it is information — the data you collect, analyze and transform to make better business decisions. This can be anything: your financial reports, sales trends, competitor analysis, and of course, your customer information. Unfortunately, customer information isn’t top-of-mind for most organizations, and even when it is, it’s generally viewed only through a risk and compliance lens — e.g., meeting privacy regulations and protecting against data breaches.

But this information matters. And it has the potential to be so much more. Consider these examples:

  • Your sales team on the phone with a potential lead, using the data you’ve collected on them to provide a solution specifically tailored to their business challenges.
  • A customer service representative in a webchat with a disgruntled customer, using the data aggregated from previous touchpoints to personalize a response that reassures the customer that your organization has been listening to their complaints.
  • Video kiosks across your retail outlets, using a centralized team to provide quality customer service to shoppers, no matter where they're located.

Your information is a key component of any successful customer experience strategy. But how can you best make use of it?


Break the walls down

For starters, it pays to take down the barriers that are preventing information from getting to where it needs to go in your organization. Often, information is dispensed on a need-to-know basis, especially when it comes to customer data. This is understandable, considering the privacy and compliance concerns involved, but this should not stop your organization from taking steps to ensure that at any potential touchpoint, employees have all relevant customer information with which to provide the highest quality customer experience.

These barriers can affect the customer experience, even when they’re not in customer-facing areas of the organization. Inefficient workflows cost you time and productivity, but often also have a ripple effect that eventually reaches the customer. The more time that workers spend attempting to finish an inefficient process, the less time they have to spend on their day-to-day work, follow up on customer complaints, or proactively engage with customers. After all, it’s difficult for your high performers to go the extra mile for customers when they’re busy dealing with inefficient processes and workflows.
While you may think that your organization is already providing a quality customer experience, it might pay to take a second look. Be sure that your organization is delivering the high quality experience customers demand by downloading our free Customer Experience Playbook today. It has what you need to maximize the value of your information and provide an experience that will keep your customers coming back time and time again.

The customer experience playbook

Learn how to better manage your information and streamline the way your work.
Gloria Farrell
Gloria Farrell, Senior Manager of Integrated Marketing Communications for Ricoh USA, Inc., has held a variety of roles in product, program and partner management during her 12 years with Ricoh. Her most recent role was with Ricoh Innovations Corp., providing market research and data on pre-development concepts. She graduated from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with a degree in Business Administration, majoring in Computer Information Systems.
1 James Allen, Frederick F. Reichheld, Barney Hamilton and Rob Markey, "How to achieve true customer-led growth: Closing the delivery gap." Bain & Company, October 5, 2005. http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/closing-the-delivery-gap-newsletter.aspx