When we as individuals engage with our clients (both internal and external), we can provide great customer service just by taking responsibility for our own actions. But how do we ensure that we offer our customers an amazing experience from an organizational level?
Let’s start by getting a handle on these terms.
Customer service, according to the Institute of Customer Service, is “the sum total of what an organization does to meet customer expectations and produce customer satisfaction.”
Customer experience, according to beyondphilosphy.com, is “an interaction between an organization and a customer as perceived through a customer’s conscious and subconscious mind. It is a blend of an organization’s rational performance, the senses stimulated, and the emotions evoked, and intuitively measured against customer expectations across all moments of contact.”
Let’s break this down…
In my career, I’ve walked in all possible shoes — contractor, employee, manager, client, and consultant — so I’ve learned a bit about customer experience from all these perspectives. For me, this is the absolute fundamental starting point: When you take the time to care and really learn about your customers and their needs — not just the immediate need but the need as a whole — you can begin to craft solutions and provide deliverables that meet their needs. You have the big picture, and you took the time to care and to listen; all important facets of an amazing customer experience.
Now, let’s take this a bit deeper. When an organization truly cares about its customers and its employees and its community as a whole, those values of caring and respect naturally come through in day-to-day encounters and actions — be they internal or external. Caring and respect are fundamental to an amazing customer experience.
There’s another level here as well. Many companies provide good customer service, but to see if they really give an amazing customer experience, evaluate how they respond when things go off track. Let’s face it, most projects are highly complex with many moving parts, and bumps in the road do happen. Stepping up as a partner, being honest and accountable, and acting as a both a leader and team player in looking for solutions are several ways that I have seen the SweetRush team respond in difficult situations. When you know you have a partner you can trust to weather any storm with you, that’s an amazing customer experience.
In the end, when we talk about customer experience, it’s not about an isolated incident, but rather a reflection of the whole experience (that is, the long-term relationship). I see this every day here at SweetRush: When we operate from a place of good intentions both as an organization and at an individual level, then amazing customer experience happens… and it is a Good Thing!