Looking to improve your customer relationships online? In a digitally-driven world, organisations are racing to keep up with ever-changing customer behaviours and motivations. KPMG’s six pillars of customer experience excellence were originally designed for the retail industry, but can provide you with the tools and mechanisms needed to score with your customers online and across industries to move with new trends. As we’ve discussed in a recent post, with the widespread impact of COVID-19, customer expectations have drastically changed across all industries and demographics. Health and safety now being a priority for most consumers, decision making and buying behaviours have shifted. For us as marketers, that means reorganising the ways in which we connect and communicate with our audience because without doing so, we risk looking tone-deaf. We need to continuously invest in customer relationships if we don’t want to lose customer trust as a result of our inability to adapt. Digital marketing perfectly equipped us with the tools to do so: social media, content marketing, email marketing - they’re all great channels for building customer awareness, trust, and loyalty.The 6 Pillars of Customer Experience Excellence can show us, marketers, specifically what we need to do in order to stay in touch with our customers and the new reality they’re facing.KPMG is a global professional services firm that provides a range of services to organisations across industries. In Australia alone, KPMG employs more than 6,700 people and supports over 400 partners, from non-profit organisations to mid-sized, family-owned businesses.
What are the 6 Pillars of Customer Experience Excellence?
The 6 Pillars of Customer Experience Excellence are a summary of the qualities experienced in an outstanding customer relationship. When applied in combination, they allow organisations to connect with their customers in meaningful ways and as a result, outperform their competitors. This makes the six pillars a powerful weapon in every online marketer’s arsenal.
- Industry-leading brands outperform the average score for each pillar by up to 12 per cent
After over a decade of research, KPMG’s Customer Experience Excellence Centre (CEEC) concluded that these 6 pillars determine a customer's experience.
- Time and Effort
The six pillars help businesses understand the successes and failures of their customer experience. With the number of digital platforms and avenues for customer experiences to occur increasing exponentially, companies need to stay agile to maintain impeccable communication across all areas.
KPMG’s 6 Pillars of Customer Experience Excellence Explained
Integrity is the practice of being honest and adhering to strong moral principles. Businesses that act with integrity engender trust. Integrity plays a huge part in retaining customer loyalty. And customer loyalty is the number one driver of lasting business success.
Strategies for Implementing Integrity
- Identify what success means to you: Look at the bigger picture, instead of putting monetary rewards first.
- Define your core values: You need to be sure about your core values and principles before you can hold yourself and the rest of your team accountable.
- Take corporate social responsibility seriously: Create a work environment in which all team members are encouraged to act ethically.
- Entering into a new partnership: Do your due diligence and don’t just assume that a potential partner or supplier shares your core values and principles.
- Put the customer first: Focus on customer satisfaction over short term profits. Consider what they really want from your business and don’t push your product and service onto them at all cost.
- Be transparent and honest: When dealing with problems, take on responsibility. It’ll help you gain trust points with your customers.
- Don’t use buzz words: Instead of using jargon in your marketing efforts, speak the truth and create an emotional connection to your product or service.
- Always deliver on your promises: Don’t make promises you can’t keep and avoid deceptions. People are smart and with the internet at their fingertips, aren’t afraid to call you out on it.
Empathy is the ability to understand and also feel what another person is experiencing. In the business world, it’s the empathy for your customers’ circumstances that drives deep rapport. Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, many businesses found creative ways to show their customers how deeply they cared about the challenges they were facing. Their customer-centric actions were rewarded with greater customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
- 73 percent of consumers feel more positive about a brand when their emotions are understood and acknowledged during a customer service interaction.
Strategies for Implementing Empathy
- Understanding a situation from the customer’s perspective: Invest the time and effort necessary to better understand your customers and their needs. Gaining a clear understanding of who your customers are and what they really need at this point in time, will enable you to meet them with more compassion.
- Show honest concern: Demonstrate that you care not only about your customers’ satisfaction with your products and services but their overall well-being and safety.
- Communicate effectively: Make sure to give your customers your undivided attention. Listen actively and communicate clearly and in an easy to understand manner.
- Adjust your response: Act according to your customers’ emotional state, personality type and mannerisms.
- Extending empathy beyond customers: Empathy shouldn’t just be reserved for customers. Your team members are human beings, too. Improving their wellbeing will ultimately enable them to provide better customer service experiences.
In order to build and maintain trust, you need to continuously meet and exceed your customers’ expectations. Delivering on what you’ve promised reaffirms that customers can trust your word. But managing expectations can be challenging, especially since they change with time. As we’ve recently witnessed, a global pandemic can change the rules overnight.
Strategies for Implementation
- Goal setting: Ensure you are setting goals and reasonable expectations at an attainable level. It’s always preferable to under-promise and then over-deliver.
- Be transparent: Inform your customers about ongoing improvements to your business, any changes that might affect them, as well as expected delays. Keeping your customers in the loop avoids bad surprises and increases comfort levels.
- Ask for feedback: Make it easy for customers to provide feedback. Explain the steps you would like them to take when making complaints. Make sure your complaints handling policy tells your customers how much you value their feedback. Your policy should also state your commitment to resolving complaints quickly, fairly, efficiently and courteously.
- Train your employees: Train employees to be helpful, especially when new procedures are put in place. They should also be able to answer questions correctly and take notes for management.
Personalised customer experiences are focused on creating emotional and personal connections between the customer and your business. Digital platforms offer huge opportunities when it comes to collecting customer data which in return, can be used to tailor communications to individuals and offer personalised products, services and discounts.
- 80 percent of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalised experiences.
Strategies for Implementing Personalisation
- Know your customers: Analytics and target audience research are the holy grails of personalised ad campaigns. Without understanding who your customers are and what they do, creating a strong marketing campaign is near impossible.
- Treat your customers as individuals, not as a group: Understand that each customer has different personalities, needs and wants, and goals.
- Collect data: Utilise customer data to identify regular customers and remarket to them via social media and PPC with offers tailored to their interests.
- Create personalised content: Consumers hate being bombarded with advertising that isn’t relevant to them. But personalised content that contains valuable suggestions based on their past shopping and browsing behaviour is likely to be seen as favourable.
- Generate customer personas: Create customer personas to allow staff to more easily categorise each customer and give appropriate responses and suggestions accordingly. This is extremely important both for face-to-face interactions and exchange that takes place online. It will, for example, help your staff deal with negative customer feedback.
5. Time and Effort
You know perfectly well that time equals money. In this day and age, we all struggle to work our way through endless to-do lists. Customers are no different. Wasting their time can get you into serious trouble. Most people are increasingly time-poor and are looking for instant gratification. The good news: Showing respect for the valuable commodity that is their time, you can also earn customer trust and loyalty.
- 73 per cent of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good service
Strategies for Implementation
- Be honest and upfront: Can’t meet a deadline? Struggling to ship a product on time? Be honest and don’t make excuses. Keep your customers updated on your progress, even if there is no news to report. They need to know that you’re doing your best to resolve an issue.
- Manage queues or hold time: Give customers an accurate estimate of the time they will need to wait for a product or service to be complete.
- Provide information: Customers are looking for convenient, quick solutions to their wants and needs. Providing them with useful information and answering frequently asked questions will remove obstacles and help your customers make better-informed decisions.
- Speed of reply: Minimise wait times for inquiries, deliveries and resolutions. But keep in mind that one thing matters just as much - if not more: The quality of service provided. Never make a customer feel rushed and focus on getting the service right.
- Offer alternatives: If customers don’t mind paying a little extra to have a product delivered to their doorsteps by the next day, make sure they have the option to do so.
- Give clear instructions: For each touchpoint of the buyer journey, decrease the necessary effort for customers. Apply vigorous testing to ensure processes run smoothly.
Let's be clear: Mistakes will be made. But every poor customer experience also teaches you a lesson and can be turned into a better one, if you keep an open mind and act quickly. During COVID-19 businesses had to learn to adapt and resolve issues fast and with urgency. Turns out that focussing on solutions and going the extra mile, when required, can have a positive impact on customer retention and loyalty.
Strategies for Implementation
- Actively listen: Listen intently to your customer’s side of the story before offering a resolution and compensation. Making them feel heard and understood. Paraphrasing what they have expressed to you can be a good way to show them you were listening.
- Take responsibility: If there has been an issue, own the resolution. A warm, sincere and personal apology is crucial. Fix the problem with urgency and take every issue seriously.
- Practice problem solving: Sometimes a customer will already have made up their mind about your company when they contact you. In that case, don’t react, just listen and be neutral. Try to find something to agree about and focus on finding a constructive solution.
- Implement policies and procedures: Written policies help navigate difficult customer situations.
The Pillars of Customer Experience Marketing
Understanding the ins and outs of what makes a great customer experience gives you and your marketing team a chance to create engaging and meaningful relationships with new and existing customers. Use these opportunities wisely and you’ll be rewarded with loyal brand advocates that spread the word about a company that truly cares about its customers. If you’re looking for customer experience experts to help you leverage the power of digital marketing, we’re here for you! United by a shared vision for our industry, Anchor Digital is a diverse team of marketing professionals, brand specialists and creatives. We’d love to help you make your mark! To discuss the future of your business with us, don’t hesitate to get in touch.