Your company lives or dies by its ability to service existing customers and attract new business. The distraction of new and fast-changing economic pressures is no excuse for ignoring the basic tenets of customer service.
The organisations that strive to make sure clients are well-serviced will emerge strongest in the upturn. In fact, improving customer experience is the best way to attract new clients and retain old business.
Take a recent survey from Watermark Consulting, which says that from 2007 to 2009 - through the best and worst of times - customer experience leaders in the insurance business generated total returns that were 145% better than customer experience laggards.
As ever, attention to detail matters. Your boss is likely to be concerned by value. Approach him with a project that aims to deliver “a good customer experience” and he is likely to mutter disparagingly about return on investment.
As Watermark suggest, some business leaders are reticent to invest in improving and differentiating their customer touch points because it can be difficult to quantify the resulting bottom line benefits.
The economic crisis means capital for new projects is likely to be limited, even non-existent. A project that proposes an intangible increase in customer experience will fall on deaf ears. Instead, act to make sure customer experience is viewed as a business necessity.
You simply must demonstrate how businesses that deliver a positive customer experiences are rewarded in the form of better financial performance.
Turn to the web and think of the user interface. How do your customers interact with your business and how collaborative is your presentation layer?
You do not have to spend big to improve customer service at the front-end. Making use of existing resources and legacy applications is the easiest way to produce a cost-effective improvement in user service.
Aim for simplicity and find ways to display complex, but useful, information in a customer-friendly form. Act in an open manner and look for a platform that will help your business to deploy information from customised apps and white label products across multiple channels.
Your loyal customers - both external and internal - will notice the front-end improvements. And your boss will notice the cost effective way you have created customer experiences that impact the bottom line positively.