Tim Pritchard, Managing Director of Customer Experience at Kantar TNS, believes that the golden rules of great customer experience remain unchanged in an ever evolving consumer landscape.

More than ever, there’s a bigger focus on customer experience, customer centricity and the voice of the customer.

Why the heightened focus?

In part, it’s because brands understand that it makes commercial sense to retain existing customers instead of, or in addition to, chasing new ones. But it’s also because the customer is changing.

They’re increasingly savvy and far less willing to stick around in the face of shoddy treatment. And given the rise of social media, they’re also more likely to amplify their feelings – commenting on interactions (good and bad) and voicing their opinions.

 Today, the customer is arguably more powerful than the companies and brands they buy from.

In this context, identifying the customer experience moments that matter most is a complex – but critical – business challenge. In order to prioritise the moments that exist in a customer journey, we need to recognise that there’s a different level of time sensitivity (and resolution expectation) around every customer experience interaction. And we also need to be mindful about who, within the organisation, is handling each customer interaction.

Furthermore, companies need to think clearly about why they’re activating a given response, by asking, “What are we trying to achieve through our customer interactions and service moments?” It could be about damage limitation; about delivering on a brand promise or product claim you’ve made; or about pushing the boundaries of innovation to enhance the customer experience.

Once the moments that truly matter most have been identified, it’s time to optimise them. Here, the golden rules for customer experience that I’ve learnt over the years remain as powerful as ever.

    1. Recruit the right people. Ultimately it’s people who deliver brilliant customer experience moments, not companies.
    2. The behaviour of those employees must sync with the brand promise
    3. You need to create a mechanism to capture customer feedback and get it into the hands of the right people as close to real-time as possible.
    4. Those employees, sufficiently empowered to respond, must be 100% committed to closing the loop before the brands they represent have a chance to learn what to tweak in order to deliver enhanced interactions with customers.

It’s far from straightforward, but it can be done. Moreover, it has to be done! The customer really is in charge these days, and the brands that succeed will be the ones that acknowledge and embrace this dynamic.