Do You have an Always-On Customer Experience Strategy?

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By: Babette Ten Haken|

Photo credit: Fotolia, Marek

An always-on customer experience strategy keeps your organization on its toes. Your focus? Opportunities to impact customer success through innovation.

Think about it.

Customer service is not the sole component of an always-on customer experience strategy. Far too many companies focus on creating positive experiences for resolving negative issues involving product performance failures.

That’s your perspective. You are counting on your products to fail your customers at some point.

On the other hand, the customer has a different idea. When purchasing your product, service or equipment, clients anticipate never having a negative issue.

When something goes wrong, their customer experience “honeymoon” is over.

An always-on customer experience strategy focuses on continuous delivery of better and better customer experiences any time, not just when there is a service issue.

Customers are always-on and always ready to buy in the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.

Depending on whom you talk to, by 2020 there may be more than 38.5 billion connected devices (Juniper Research), fueled by a jump in industrial applications. The number of connected devices currently is forecasted anywhere from 6.4 billion connected devices in 2016 (Gartner) to 13.4 billion  (Juniper) in 2015.

Based on increasing connectivity, customers continuously experience doing business with your company. Regardless of the length of product lifecycle or service contract, customers remain in an always-on state of purchase decision making. Each experience they have with your products, equipment, platforms and service represents an opportunity to impact their next purchase.

An always-on customer experience strategy focuses on the success of your customer and their willingness to become a retained customer. Organizations who figure a 5 – 20 year equipment lifecycle buys them a free pass exempting them from participating in this paradigm shift will be left behind the next equipment lifecycle.

Think about whether or not your organization is always-on when it comes to customer experience strategy.

Excellence in service quality delivery is digital table stakes in the Internet of Things ecosystem.

Customers expect excellent delivery of service quality from your organization – and anyone else’s – at the very least. In the digital era, this attribute does not necessarily differentiate or innovate.

Always-on customer experience is not only having 24/365/7 tech service accessibility. Again, the original nature of the customer’s interaction with your company is negative and invasive. Your customer had better things to do before their system crashed or they pressed the wrong button on the machine.

Creating and maintaining an always-on customer experience strategy involves customizing interactions with specific customer segments when there is nothing wrong at all. This even includes when you sell equipment which has an anticipated lifespan of decades, not months.

That strategy differentiates and innovates. That strategy retains your customers. Something to chew on?

Is your always-on customer experience strategy relevant and valuable or only Break-Fix?

An always-on customer experience strategy focuses on continuously discovering relevant and valuable attributes for your customers’ success. This strategy is best executed by tech and field ops service teams. After all, they are well-positioned to become far more engaged in capturing the voice of your customers, day in and day out.

When service teams only enter the picture to fix what is broken, they limit themselves to the context of the tactical problem. They only address negative aspects of customer experience.

How might they be redeployed so they function as an advance team which captures the voice of end users and utilizes these insights for R&D and product and service innovation? Train them to look for strategic opportunities, even those which created the break-fix scenario in the first place.

Allow tech and field ops service teams to become your boots-on-the-ground for not only customer experience, but for customer success.

An always-on customer experience strategy focuses on continuous product and service optimization over time.

Customers anticipate better and better customer experiences when doing business with your company over time. Why? Because your products, services and equipment serve a dynamic, not static, function for your customers’ success.

How do you deliver daily? Are you continuously engaging customers in a customized, always-on customer experience?

If your organization only focuses on keeping products, services and equipment as operational as the day it was purchased, you are disconnected from the always-on, always connected future of manufacturing and service.

Your organization can create and deliver always-on customer experience if strategy focuses on continuously connecting customers with industry trends and technical possibilities. More importantly, always-on customer experience features continuous communication between your organization and your client organizations, thanks to making voice of the customer part of your strategy.

To retain customers, first determine those attributes critical to their continuous success. Deliver on an always-on communication strategy. Then serve them through innovation.

Enable clients to get to where they need to be to remain continuously competitive in the Internet of Things global business ecosystem.

Think about it.

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About The Author

Babette Ten Haken

Founder & President, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC

Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst, corporate strategist and facilitator. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.

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