Too often, companies view customer relations as something that starts and ends when people walk into the store. But "can I help you?" is only a small part of the customer experience.
Every customer has an experience, regardless of whether you actively manage it, and smart operations are using every avenue to reach out and cater to those who do business with them. From answering phone calls in person to using Twitter.com to taking every opportunity to be responsive and flexible, business owners and operators must walk the walk every day.
If you are neglecting these experience factors you're doing your organization a disservice. Understanding where your customers have interactions with your brand - across channels and experience types - will result in great customer experiences that don't have to be expensive.
And the benefits can be great – 78 per cent of consumers are willing to pay more for products if they experience great customer service. Recently, four experts weighed in on what it takes:
- Mark Healy brings 10 years of consulting and leadership experience as partner at Torque Customer Strategy. His areas of focus are go-to-market strategy and customer experience. Mr. Healy has worked with global companies and privately held small businesses in sectors ranging from telecom and retail to media and health care. His client work takes him all over the world, with recent forays into Mexico and Brazil.
- Michael Mattalo, an expert in branding, is president of Fifth P Solutions, a company that helps organizations deliver their brand promise through people. Mr. Mattalo is regarded as a strategist and a visionary in the area of customer experience for his pioneering discipline integrating “people” into the brand strategy and marketing planning processes. Mr. Mattalo has worked with some of the most recognized brands across North America.
- Sandra Kennedy joined Harry Rosen as director of marketing in 1999. As publisher of Harry magazine, Sandra has sharpened her skill at understanding what makes men tick – and shop – both in-store and online. Prior to joining Harry Rosen, Ms. Kennedy garnered a wealth of advertising experience agency-side, building both retail and insurance brands for a select roster of clients.
- David Champion, director of marketing services and customer insights at Best Buy Canada, brings more than 20 years of experience in the retail field. A self-starter, Mr. Champion began his career at Future Shop in the small appliances and car stereo departments. Since then, he has held various marketing and advertising positions within the company.
The discussion was moderated by Noel Hulsman of The Globe and Mail.