Three Touchpoints that Reveal How Customer-Centric You Really Are

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There are three key touchpoints that, regardless of industry, reveal if a company is just talking the “customer-centric” talk or if they are walking the walk. These touchpoints are routinely overlooked, frequently burdened by outdated processes, and seemingly designed to frustrate both customers and employees.

Revealing Touchpoint #1: The point where you part with your money

You’ve just decided to make the purchase, be it a sweater or enterprise technology, only to find yourself beset by a myriad of obstacles. The well-designed website leads you to an archaic payment processing platform and the engaging, informed sales person is replaced by a tedious contract and formidable company policies.

We found in our customer engagement research that the billing touchpoint is the one that creates the most problems and angst for B2B buyers. Companies who make it a point to be customer-centric at this difficult touchpoint clearly differentiate their customer experience.

How to Show Customer-Centricity:

  • Remove all barriers to the transaction
  • Use clear, easy-to-understand language in your invoices
  • Understand how this touchpoint makes your customer feel

Revealing Touchpoint #2: The point where you are unhappy with what you paid for

Many times it is nobody’s fault. You misunderstood the advertised offer, the size was wrong, or both parties were making an unexpressed assumption. You feel disappointed. Not furious enough to launch an epic Twitter war against the company, but you’re not happy with what you paid for.

eCommerce consultant, Pamela Hazelton offered the following example of how NOT to approach this touchpoint:

I recently analyzed a store for a company eager to increase conversions. The owners touted their products as superior, priced best and of higher quality. The return policy, however, was riddled with threats, using terms like “We will refuse any package without an RMA.” and “If it’s your fault, we will deduct a 50% restock fee.” In short, they wanted to make people feel all warm and fuzzy via navigational graphics, but wanted to stick it to the consumer should there be any problem with an order.

Assuming the customer is not simply unhappy for the sake of being unhappy or the sheer joy of harassing your employees, then this is a great time to step up and fix it. Perhaps the mistake was the customer’s, but in this case, proving you are “right” will only make your customer feel stupid and less likely to come back.

How to Show Customer-Centricity:

  • Never waste time proving that the misunderstanding or unhappiness is the fault of your customer
  • Use simple, concise language in the company return policy
  • Always go above and beyond in making it right for your most loyal customers

Revealing Touchpoint #3: The point when you leave

Recently I encountered a fairly common cancellation experience when I decided to end a relationship with a credit card company I had been with for years. Their rewards were weak and online experience mediocre.  I wasn’t terribly unhappy they just didn’t delight me quite like Discover. The process involved a phone call, IVR system, two “Please hold while I get my manager to help you this,” and finally a rote explanation of their new “benefits.” There was no “Thank you for doing business with us.” There were no questions about why I was leaving.

The convoluted process, awkward and suspicious phone conversations, and hostile customer service representatives all seemed to be put in place so I felt more like an enemy spy than a less-than-delighted customer. In fact, the only thing this experience succeeded in doing was ensuring that I will never use them again for any of their financial services.

How to Show Customer-Centricity:

  • Find out if there is anything your business can do to win them back
  • Offer a sincere thanks for their business
  • If you continue to send them marketing materials, adjust the messaging to acknowledge your past relationship with them

As you design your customer experience strategy don’t miss these often overlooked touchpoints. Getting them right shows customers that you truly “walk the customer-centric walk” and guarantees that your customer experience will stand apart from that of your competitors.

 

Additional Resources:

Making the Billing Experience Pay for B2B Customers

People or Processes? What Comes First in Delivering a Great Customer Experience?

Seven Practices of a Customer-Centric Organization: Introduction

 

Photo courtesy of jannoon028

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