Cultivating the ultimate customer experience

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The Dallas Examiner

Satisfaction seems to be the common element in commercial phrases, such as, “The customer is always right,” “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good,” and “We’re here to serve you.”

These phrases indicate that those businesses place a high value on customer satisfaction as the overall goal throughout the customer experience.

The Customer Experience Professionals Association is a global, non-profit organization that recognizes the importance of great customer service as “the key ingredient in building and maintaining customer loyalty” and grow the business.

In an effort to help businesses create and cultivate superior customer experience, CXPA showcased its first Customer Spark. Workshops showcased case studies from top brands such as Thompson Reuters, Interstate Batteries, Dell, Capital One, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Cisco, FIS and AT&T.

The workshops focused on the customer experience discipline: actively listening to customers, conveying their feedback across the organization for improved business and products, and then following up with customers on action taken. These efforts include engaging employees and demonstrating business value to executive leadership, according to CXPA representatives.

“If our brand says that we’re going to make people feel comfortable and confident, then I want to understand whether my online interactions are doing that. I will also say different interactions have different requirements. Sometimes an interaction just needs to be done quickly and easily and there are other ones that will be done where someone has to feel like the organization cares about them and there is a connect,” said keynote speaker Bruce Temkin, CXPA co-founder and managing partner of Temkin Group.

“A strong emotional connection actually has a very significant impact on customers,” he added, explaining that when the customer feels that the company cares about them – especially those that go over and beyond the call of duty – the customer is inclined to be loyal to the company.

Each presenting brand shared a core focus on the customer experience and implements routines to actively listen to customers and follow up with them, which helps improve their business and products.

During the first session, Tyler Reeves, president and general manager of National Accounts at Interstate Batteries, explained his career journey from Frito-Lay – where he went from being responsible for launching multi-packed chip bags to transporting batteries.

“You’re thinking corn chips to batteries right? Huge connection,” Reeves insisted. “There is actually a lot of connection there because it all starts with people. It all starts with understanding people. We have route service. We service and actually move the product the same way; instead of shipping bags of air, we are now shipping hazardous lead products.

“It’s all about understanding consumers. As we rewired our team we moved less from sales and operations into a lot of marketing, insight and those type of things to help us better understand and support our customers.”

At a later session, Capital One Director Mike Kendall spoke about creating promoters, which is a loyal customer who will spend more money with a company and tell all of their friends and family about their experience. Like Reeves, he stated that the process all starts with knowing the customer.

“We want to help customers succeed, that’s our noble mission. If you’ll notice our credit card ads don’t have little gotcha clauses at the bottom of them. We are trying to do the right thing for the customer,” Kendall said. “As our CEO would say, we lose a lot of potential revenue on the table because of those little decisions but the thought is, that’s the right thing to do and down the road those customers are going to reward us for that.”

Dell’s Director of Customer Experience Tiffany Stryk explained that, from executives overseeing a seasoned customer experience management program to those starting out in customer service, it is vital for every organization to have a fresh pair of eyes revisiting the program in order to evolve.

Business consultant and author Peter Shankman founded Help a Reporter Out, SharkMinds: Business Masterminds, and co-founded the AOL Newsroom. During the workshops, he shared a story about his career journey, beginning with AOL. As a public relations and networking expert, he also talked about making the customer happy, branding everything, and being consistent and transparent.

“No one will believe how great you are, if you’re the one that has to tell them. The concept of a company doing something good and then shouting out ‘Look at all the good we did’ on Twitter is very, very bad,” Shankman said.

“I believe we are moving into a world of the customer and we are moving into a world where the concept of reviewers or review sites are all going to go away and it’s definitely going to be replaced by what we do and how we live our lives.”

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