I read some research a few days ago from www.researchandmarkets.com which I reposted on Twitter yesterday. It talked about critical lessons in delivering a great customer experience, with one of them being that our brands are only as strong as their weakest link. Customer loyalty can disappear quickly with a single negative experience. The research showed that consumers/customers may not frequently visit your brand's web site, but once they do, a frustrating interaction can lead to a lost customer. Perhaps even more frightening is the opportunity to lose a customer at the call center, where too many companies in the study saw their experience ratings drop compared to other touch points. Yet the opportunity to strengthen the customer relationship exists along every step of the brand value chain, particularly when one step leads to another.
The study by researchandmarkets.com showed that a positive call center interaction that includes an introduction to valuable online services can leave the consumer satisfied after that one call, but more engaged with the brand over time. A web site that helps customers navigate the instore shopping experience can pay brand dividends far beyond a satisfying online interaction.
The biggest challenge facing service organisations today is delivering a consistent customer experience. The amount of ways a customer can interface with the organisation has rapidly increased. There’s no system to ensure front line employees deliver the right experience every time. There is no skillset and toolset designed to efficiently deliver new and better services.
You may have the greatest product or service in the world, but if your customers are let down at any point in the chain, it's all academic. Most companies I work with are extremely confused. They've tried everything they know, but it's not working. Using a Service Design firm helps them figure out what it takes to succeed in profitably delivering a great customer experience.
This research by researchandmarkets.com piqued my interest and reinforced for me the value of Service Design and it's contribution to ensuring that companies deliver a seamless and consistent customer experience for the purpose of creating, building and monetising Customer Loyalty. There are other types of companies that look to create a "great customer experience", but more often than not, it is one or two isolated "customer experiences". The more I examine successful Service Design case studies (both our own and others) I realise that it is the ability to deliver consistency across every touchpoint that is the true and unique value that Service Design provides service based companies.