Imagine you’re a frequent flyer, and you’ve hit the highest status with your airline’s loyalty program. On paper, you’re a loyal customer, but behind the scenes, you’ve actually enrolled in a number of other airline loyalty programs. What’s worse, you might be thinking about jumping ship (or in this case, plane…) to a competitor at any moment.

What we’ve come to realize in the Age of the Customer, is that extra legroom and frequent flyer miles only go so far. Today, there is little differentiation between points and perks, and neither does much to influence customer loyalty or purchasing behaviors.

The biggest perk a company can provide today? Ensuring a consistent, high-quality customer experience.

Today, consumers rely on each other’s experiences to inform their buying habits. Whereas before it was company perks that drove our decisions, digital channels now enable buyers to make decisions based on experience. Through review sites, social media, blogs, and more, tapping into other customers’ interactions has fundamentally changed how we inform our purchasing patterns. According to Beth Benjamin, Senior Director of Research at Medallia, this is especially true among millennials. In a 2015 Medallia study, half of participants said that online reviews were the single biggest factor they took into account when making purchases.

The study also found that over 50% of millennial participants feel more valued as a customer when companies engage in a dialogue with them online. What does that mean for companies today? They can quickly set themselves apart by being responsive and rapidly meeting customer’s needs.

To ensure that your company goes beyond perks and becomes authentic in their customer efforts, ask yourself the following questions:

Are you focusing on your own teams or your customers? If the answer is the former, your company probably isn’t seeing itself the way your customers do. It’s important to create an ongoing dialogue with your customers and to keep them engaged with your product and services. Use each customer touch point as a chance to collect feedback, improve your efforts, and foster empathy across your organization.

Where are you sharing the feedback you’re collecting? Distributing customer feedback into every level of your organization is vital to ensuring that the customer’s voice is in every business decision. The more embedded this feedback becomes into daily management operations and practices, the greater alignment towards customers you’ll see.

How are you holding your employees accountable for CX? It’s every employee’s job to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Rather than using metrics like customer satisfaction and churn rate to assess performance, hold your employees accountable to specific actions that can raise customer satisfaction and be embedded into your business rhythms.

What are you doing to stay ahead of your customers? Growing companies need to ensure they’re keeping the customer top of mind as they continue to scale. Distributing customer data across the business creates a listening muscle for employees, giving them a chance to fix what isn’t working and scale new ideas faster.

Asking these questions will help your company become customer-centric and establish you as a CX leader. To learn more about ensuring customer loyalty through empowered customer experiences, read Medallia’s new Strategy + Business article, “Customer Loyalty Isn’t What it Used to Be.

 

Photo Credit: Le Tchétché