The American business magazine, Forbes, describes customer experience as “cumulative impact of multiple touch points” over the course of a customer's interaction with an organization. Some companies are known to segment the customer experience into interactions through the web and social media, while others define human interaction such as over-the-phone customer service or face-to-face retail service as the customer experience.
The dimensions of customer experience or CX, are driven by senses, emotions, feelings, perceptions, involvements of customer and so on. Whenever a brand or a company interacts with their customers, they try to make a positive experience for them, as a happy customer surely means that he/she will come back and spend more on the brand and may also refer them to other people. However, it is also true that not all experiences can be positive. The quality of experience varies a lot across different industries. In this article we’ll shed light on some of the industries, while highlighting the CX they come across, and how they can improve it.
Before we move on with the industries, we need to first be sure with the fact that, at every point of our life we have all been a customer. Consider situations when you are buying groceries from a vendor, when you’re submitting your tax return or paying dues to the government, when you are facing a medical emergency or when you are conducting business deals. Among all the mentioned scenarios we can clearly pick out that they generate different kinds of customer experiences and our expectations are also different in each case. The degree of satisfaction we get as a customer depends majorly on the relation we have with our provider and the environment in which we encounter with each other. With these compromising factors, there is always a need to balance them out. Hence, the key is always to discover, communicate, understand and support your customer, and also there are technologies to ease our work.
So now, let’s get back to the industries and examine a little of what customer experience means in those environments.
1. FINANCIAL SERVICES
Economic and professional services involving investments, lending and management of money and assets, comprises of the financial services. It includes a broad range of businesses, ranging from credit union, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, accountancy companies, investment funds and the list keeps going on.
In the arena of financial services, the innovation in technology has surely sped up the game. Long gone are the days when traditional customers were in awe of the bank managers. With time, the relation between customer and supplier in banking units has changed. Currently when we think about this relationship, our mind automatically goes back to online banking applications. Some of the services we get through online banking are,
24/7 access to accounts via a web portal and Smartphone apps.
Online and telephone support over an extended working day and on weekends.
Access to a wide range of services: ATMs, credit cards, international transfers, and more.
Safekeeping of our money.
Modern customer wants an easy access to its funds, while at the same time assuring, they get provided with utmost safety. When there are inconveniences in these aspects, customer’s banking experience is surely challenged.
Another aspect of banking customer-supplier interaction that merits close attention is the mortgage customer experience. Compared to traditional practices where human-to-human transactions required interviews, deep personal questions, making it too time-consuming and unpleasant for customers, the new digital possibilities created a lot of choices for customers, meaning that providers will have to take customer experience seriously by making the process easy, pleasant and less- time consuming. Compared to today’s practices, traditional methods did not highly value on customer-supplier relationships.
2. HEALTHCARE SERVICES
Healthcare services includes those services required by an individual for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, or cure of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in people. These are generally delivered by a health professional and allied health fields.
When you fall sick, you enter this customer-supplier bond, one which doesn’t give you much choice. Surely there are countries which allow you a degree of freedom but in most cases a customer-supplier relationship begins with fast and involuntary commitment. Some of the core elements that drive customer experience are beyond control. For example: the hospital you are in, is the bed comfortable or not? Are you getting cell phone coverage? How is the food like? How the staff is? And so on.
But there are some other aspects where you can consider your temptations beforehand, for example, when advertising health insurance. Health insurance or medical insurance is a type of insurance that covers the whole or a part of the risk of a person incurring medical expenses.
But even after this, core customer experience considerations do apply. Suppliers need to understand that the patient is a customer. But also, the relatives, friends that come along with them are the customers too. They might not need the treatment like the patient does, but they need information and support, which is the responsibility of the supplier to provide.
3. CALL CENTERS
A call center is a centralized office used for receiving or transmitting a large volume of enquiries by telephone. These could provide services to a company which administers incoming products, provides service support, informs enquiries of customers, conducts charitable or public donations, and does market research, calls for needs of blood banks.
For most of us, a direct customer-supplier relationship has occurred when we received a call from a call center. While it might sound easy to just dial a number and call someone, these experiences often have a critical touch point, it may turn out to be too good or entirely bad. There are many factors which influence the entire customer-supplier experience.
If the call is regarding some product or service which had gone wrong or was not as expected, then it would surely mean the customer will fuel negative experience.
Direct interaction, either human-to-human or human-to-machine, is a key part of the overall customer experience. Questions which determine the touch point of the experience are often related to whether the interaction was easy? Did the customer have to wait? These can even go beyond things like, what music was playing and so on. Since every customer is different, you can never be too sure about the strategy which can be used to make their experience a good one. If a customer feels there is something missing in the entire call center experience, there is only one way to overcome it. Find it out and do something about it.
Following up with a customer, can be helpful at times, but can also makes things worse. Ranging from a quick email or call to just check things are doing alright can sometimes make a good experience or destroy it. As we said, you can never be too sure with your customer.
4. HOSPITALITY SERVICES
Hospitality services mean any business (partnership, firm, enterprise, proprietorship, association, organization etc) operating within the service industry that includes hotel, lodging, event planning and transportation. Since there are many businesses operating within it, it has certainly become a battleground for suppliers, to provide an excellent service to their customers, thereby creating an effective customer experience.
Try to reach your customer personally. Engage in data collection or data automation and then enable personalized marketing. On a basic level, send personalized emails to relevant customers, addressing them by their name, to improve your customer experience.
Using technology and artificial intelligence, the trend of “smart rooms “has been really high among hotel industries. For example, services like Alexa for hospitality, allows multiple devices in a hotel room to be controlled through commands given by the Alexa speakers.
They can improve the customer experience by offering guests the chance to control aspects of their hotel room through voice control.
Invest in Virtual Reality (VR) technology. Though its use is massive in the gaming industry, the concept of transporting users to a virtual environment is quite appealing. And hence, many within the hospitality have been quick to pounce on the opportunity, offering potential customers the chance to enjoy a virtual reality experience associated with their hotel or holiday destination. They are even allowing guests to experience a virtual recreation of a hotel room, prior to booking.
As we now reach the end, we can surely agree that variance in industries affects the nature of the customer experience. But even then, there is still so much common in them, which is their need to maintain an excellent customer-supplier relationship. Hence, industries can learn from each other’s experiences and skills and then apply it to them.
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