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Customer Experience from the Experts: Part I
By: Janet Kalandranis
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It’s not new, but it’s still the talk. Customer experience. It’s where brands are focused today more than ever. It’s not a new thought, but one that gained more attention because it seems that somewhere in the early years of this century it was being ignored. Brands were gaining success, the market was good, and everyone was a winner. Well, enter 2013, where there is still a financial crisis, a job crisis, a healthcare crisis, and an education crisis. Brands have to compete for limited dollars and consumers have gotten smarter about where they spend. So yeah, customer experience is a hot topic. Thankfully some experts, Oracle and Southwest, can provide a little insight on how to tackle this big, yet important, brand beast.

Start with Employees. It’s no joke that happy employees lead to happy customers. So the same goes for loyal employees leading to satisfied customers. It’s almost as if this sentence is too easy to understand, so many brands skip over it and never truly focus on their internal team. But brand loyalty starts from the inside out. Customers can sense a loyal employee, they can see it when they interact with employees, and they want to be part of a brand that creates this type of environment. Interestingly enough, Oracle has taken the time to look at where employee and customer feedback are one and the same. The brand has found that many times the feedback is consistent and therefore enforces the importance of creating loyal employees to gain satisfied customers.

Training = Good, Overtraining = No Good. There are some organizations that leave no stone unturned when it comes to training. There are manuals and seminars and detailed explanations for EVERYTHING. These brands should just stop. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about following the rule book to a “T"; it’s about working towards a certain set of standards. It’s not every little detail, but instead the idea that whatever decision is made in whatever the situation may be, it always ladders up to a bigger message. If employees understand the bigger picture and what’s expected of them, there’s a greater chance they’ll make the right decision to support the brand’s goals. Think Southwest. This brand does NOT write out every detail of every scenario, and they like it that way. It wants employees to understand bigger-picture ideas and give them the confidence to do what they must to align with these principles. Each flight is different, each employee is different, and that’s kinda what makes the brand work so well.

Just some initial ideas to start thinking about customer experience. It’s not going away, so the more brands can learn and incorporate, the more likely they are to succeed in this area. After all, aren’t brands built to serve customers? And shouldn’t this experience be top notch?

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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