Along with employees, customers are the most important ingredient in the success of a brand. It is often said that staff are the heartbeat of a business; if this is the case then customers are surely the blood – and getting customer engagement right will drive results and performance levels of the whole organisation. Research shows that 95 per cent of customers share bad experiences with others, so getting customer experience right first time around is absolutely vital to the reputation of a company.
To perfect a personalised customer experience, it is critical that a business understands the behaviour and feelings of its customers beyond a transactional level – towards a deeper comprehension of a customer’s emotion towards a brand. We are living in the age of emotion, where every customer has a voice and underlying feelings about their contact with a company. Gauging the sentiment of this is vital to improving customer experience and earning their loyalty.
Sentiment measurement can be carried out in different ways, and companies must have the necessary tools in place to be able to monitor customer opinions in real-time so that bad experiences can be noted and, if at all possible, rectified. In order to receive accurate feedback, it is imperative that brands reach out to their customers proactively to find out their emotions.
A customer who is unhappy but does not offer feedback will most likely shop elsewhere, whereas one who has a bad experience but feels able to express their feelings can build a rapport with the brand.
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With proactive feedback, customer emotions can then be collated to form a real-time picture of how the company is perceived by customers, and allows managers to take swift action before the brand loses face with consumers. Once a customer’s emotions are identified, the customer can be transferred to the most appropriate customer service agent.
This might be an agent that has dealt with similar issues in the past or one that has built a rapport with this particular customer. This can build positive bridges with all customers, whatever their experience, and helps brands to understand how people really feel about the customer experience that they are offering.
The age of emotion should be seen as an amazing opportunity for businesses to find out more about their customers. Never have we been more willing to share experiences of a service or product through word-of-mouth with friends and family, and on social channels; businesses must embrace this willingness by proactively harnessing the voice of its customers, learning from any discontent, and ensuring responses and actions taking on feedback.
Recognising customer emotions enriches customer information and leads to enhanced marketing, operations, customer service and an overall better experience for all customers.
Last year saw the rapid evolution of the “we want it now” consumer. With consumers now expecting a personalised experience, it has forced bosses to reassess the way they interact with customers. So what specifically should companies be exploring and implementing when it comes to customer service offerings?
Dennis Fois is CEO of customer engagement specialists Rant & Rave.
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