Today’s companies don’t just compete on price, product, or promotion: these days it’s the customer experience that counts! In fact, according to analyst firm Gartner, 89% of companies now expect to compete mostly on the basis of experience (versus 36% four years ago). This may sound difficult if you’re a small business — but don’t be daunted. Here are four easy ways you can tap into your existing customer support operations to deliver an amazing experience:
1. Get 360-degree customer data.
Gone are the days of separate sales, marketing, and support; customers are forming opinions each individual time they come into contact with your company. To deliver an awesome experience, you need to bring all of your systems together so there’s a smooth transition for customers; then all of your teams can work together and off the same playbook. Sales needs to know if a customer has had an issue, while service needs to know which are the highest value customers and if there are open opportunities. With today’s cloud computing advances, even small companies can easily integrate their systems.
2. Adapt your support processes.
Today’s support is not one-size-fits-all. One customer might want a formal email, while another might want a quick Tweet. You need to adapt the way you manage support to address individual needs. It’s no longer the reactive process it used to be, where consumers only encountered customer service if they had a problem and reached out via email or phone. Many companies — large and small — are beginning to offer proactive support, reaching out to customers with solutions, sometimes before customers even realize they have a problem. How’s that for an amazing customer experience?
3. Empower your support team.
The role of your support agents is changing in this new world. Not only are service-oriented companies empowering their support teams to go the extra mile to soothe angry customers with things like free shipping or promotions, they’re also enabling them to manage opportunities and make sales to interested customers. The days of “that’s not my job” are over. Customers want what they want, when they want it — they don’t care whose responsibility it is to solve their problems or take their orders.
4. Tap into support knowledge to build your product roadmap.
Your support cases contain a wealth of information that can help drive your product roadmap and better understand customer needs. If you categorize your cases correctly, you can see what modifications and features customers would like to see in your product and what the biggest pain points are. Let support help inform your product roadmap so you can continue to offer an amazing product experience as your business grows.
Most people define customer experience as the sum of every touchpoint a customer has with your company. Your existing customer support can help you deliver an amazing experience. It’s time to start thinking about how you can use customer support to engage more closely with your customers.
This post was originally published on the Salesforce Blog.