From Customer Service to Customer Experience
–Beth Haiken, EVP, Method Communications
Years ago, customer service meant the person who helped you face to face or who answered the phone when you called. Today, customers’ sense of a company isn’t defined by a “service moment” but rather by their entire trajectory of interaction with your company.
Smart companies are now recognizing this and putting themselves in their customers’ shoes so that they can see and solve their customers’ problems. As Eyal Lifschitz, CEO of BlueVine, the leading provider of online working capital financing to small and medium-sized businesses, put it, “Customer service is a key component of our mission and our strategy at BlueVine. Small business owners can’t afford to spend valuable time jumping through hoops to access the capital they need. That’s why one of our main objectives is to deliver a great customer experience so entrepreneurs can focus their time and energy on what really matters: running and growing their business.”
Eyal Lifschitz, CEO, BlueVine
This approach recalls an iconic Harvard Business Review article with the memorable title, “Stop trying to delight your customers” (July 2010), in which the authors argued that the key to improving customer satisfaction was not to dream up extras that brought “delight” but rather to focus on the basics: reducing the time and effort that customers had to spend solving their own problems.
Companies are also increasingly realizing that the customer experience has to mirror what people do in their own lives: consumers used to being able to manage their entire lives on their smart phones won’t rate highly an experience that requires them to switch to a desktop interface, or make time during business hours to visit a brick and mortar shop. As Alex Berman, product lead for the mobile experience at Blend, the Silicon Valley technology company propelling consumer lending into the digital age, explained, “Mobile has the power to transform entire industries and bring people closer together. At Blend we’re passionate about removing barriers to create a frictionless lending environment that empowers consumers, which is why we decided to leverage mobile to drive a better borrower experience in the mortgage industry. Today more than ever customer service means meeting customers where they are, when they need you.”
Alex Berman, Product Lead, Mobile, Blend
As a company, your brand lives in the minds of your customers – not just what your company does for them, but how that interaction makes them feel. Jon Lee, CEO of ProsperWorks, the CRM endorsed and used by Google, sums it up this way: “Customer service is no longer just about resolving problems and answering questions. It’s about understanding your customers’ needs, where they are going and guiding them there successfully. Innovative companies like ProsperWorks have shifted to Customer Success models, understanding that CLTV (customer life time value) is inherently tied to their customers’ success and growth.”
Jon Lee, CEO, ProsperWorks
Great face to face, phone, or chat service still matters – anyone who’s ever gotten lost and frustrated in a store or a phone tree can attest to that. But the most