‘Delighting’ your customers doesn’t always build loyalty, it’s reducing customer effort that makes the difference

While it’s easy to establish a clear link between providing excellent customer service and profitability, it’s always been much harder to make a solid case for doing the same with customer experience and profitability.

‘Delighting’ your customers doesn’t always build loyalty, it’s reducing customer effort that makes the difference

Indeed, there’s been a growing view – since Harvard Business Review first published it’s ‘Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers’ article back in 2010 – that investing in ‘delighting’ your customers doesn’t always build loyalty, it’s reducing customer effort that makes the difference.

But it is possible. We worked with one leading telecom operator, for example, that established that those that customers that engaged with its contact centre not only provided a higher Net Promoter score (NPS), but also demonstrated greater loyalty – leading to a higher customer lifetime value.

However, building customer journeys to handle evolving engagement approaches is becoming much more complex. For example, it makes sense to have cost-effective, low-effort ‘Digital Front Door’ channels – such as webchat, messaging chatbots and virtual assistants – to handle initial customer engagement. However, make the wrong digital choices or leave disconnects in your customer journey – and it’s all too easy to swamp your contact centres and wipe out any productivity savings you have made.

Similarly, given that most of your customers have already been online before reaching out to your contact centre, it makes sense to understand where exactly customers are on their journey so that you can make the most of their contact centre interactions. Smart customer journey mapping and touchpoint integration are then clearly critical to achieving the kind of seamless experience that will help deliver a positive customer experience.

To establish a closer link between customer experience and profitability, organisations need to be much clearer about what they’re talking about. For example, just because 90% of your customers are satisfied there’s no guarantee that this ‘satisfaction’ will translate into repeat business. To make that link you’ve really got to be designing and delivering customer experiences that contribute directly to increased loyalty if you’re serious about making the profitability connection.

It’s only by systematically surfacing and resolving the many multichannel issues and disconnects that are making life harder than it should be for their customers, that organisations can start to deliver the kind of excellent experiences they need to keep people coming back for more. However, it’s also important that engagement teams don’t overlook the importance of context when they shape their customer journeys.

If I’m just looking for a response to a query or need an update on my order, I really don’t need organisations to be delighting me – I just want a quick answer. But when I’ve got a more serious issue and I’m looking for direct contact with a skilled agent, I’m obviously expecting a lot more.

I suspect that it’s only those organisations that are smart enough to build real elasticity into their customer journeys – and who can respond effectively to both kinds of engagement – who will ultimately succeed in striking the right balance between customer experience and profitability. Does your organisation successfully strike the balance? I’d be interested to hear your views [email protected]

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