The Customer Experience Excellence Center is KPMG’s think tank. For eight years it has been supporting companies to transform the best global customer experience practices into concrete results for business. The methodology developed by KPMG has identified the characteristics of an exceptional customer experience in six pillars.
- Personalization, or rather, focusing on the individual to create an emotional connection with the customer.
- Integrity, or rather, the ability to create a trusting relationship through credibility.
- Expectations, or rather, being aware of customer expectations and knowing how to exceed them.
- Resolution, or rather, assuming responsibility for a problem and knowing how to manage it effectively.
- Time and effort, or rather, the ability to simplify the customer experience as much as possible, minimizing the effort required by the customer.
- Empathy, or rather, creating a significant relationship with customers based on the analysis of circumstances.
Customers want more: expectations as an engine for innovation
An approach oriented toward the customer experience is essential in having successful relationships with your customers. It is no longer enough to stop at offering excellent products or services: the real focus must be based on the overall experience that the customer will have in relation to the brand.
For this reason, being aware of expectations becomes fundamental: the “winning” brand is the one that not only satisfies our expectations but exceeds them.
Over the last few years, companies have emerged on a global scale that, by breaking the traditional models, have been able to “think up” an experience, one that is more effective and closer to the customer.
The think tank indicates six golden roles to go above and beyond customer expectations.
- Accurately set my expectations
To the question “Does your company respond perfectly to your customers’ expectations?” there can be two answers: either you exceed them, or you disappoint them. To really break through, it takes that something extra, which Stan Phelps defines as “glue” (Giving Little Unexpected Extras), to make the customer experience memorable.
- Agree times with me
Successful brands are absolutely clear on the times and requirements of their products. Knowing how to set a suitable lead time is the first step.
- Reply faster than I expect you to
Today’s customers are looking for quick solutions because they do not have much free time and do not want to waste it on defective or hard-to-understand products. The company that replies faster than the others will obtain the customer’s trust.
- Speak clearly
It is better not to boast of the customer satisfaction, but rather, to demonstrate it through facts. Brands should be humble: making promises and not keeping them could turn out to be damaging.
- Fulfill or exceed your promises
It is important to bear in mind that developing excellence in this field does not mean entertaining but engaging and understanding; it means active participation and emotional, mental and physical engagement on behalf of the customer. To surprise them, we must get to know them.
- Guide me through the process
By carefully guiding the customer along their customer journey, their expectations can be set accurately and profiled in real time on the basis of the interests shown by consumers.
The top 10 champions of the United Kingdom customer experience
In the Customer Experience Excellence Center’s 2017 classification, ranking first in the United Kingdom is QVC UK (Quality, Value and Convenience), an organization with 9 billion home purchases. QVC complies perfectly with the six pillars:
-Personalization: it offers a para-social relationship with an emotional connection
-Resolution: it offers a full money back guarantee if the goods are returned within 30 days
-Integrity: the presenters are expert figures
-Time and effort: simple and quick payment and delivery with an omnichannel customer experience
-Empathy: proximity to customers; there is even talk of “intimacy at a distance”
-Expectations: excellent management of expectations with the highest customer loyalty rate in the world (93%).
John Lewis Finance follows in second place, First Direct in third place, John Lewis in fourth, Lush in fifth, Emirates in sixth, Skipton Building Society in seventh, Ocado in eighth, M&S in ninth, and Amazon in tenth.
Among the trends that are common to these brands, we can find:
- the ability to innovate (for example, John Lewis Finance gives its customers the opportunity to apply for and receive their permanent chip and pin card in-store);
- the desire to be open to new markets (First Direct is targeting millennials);
- the ability to integrate front and back offices in an increasingly customer centric perspective (John Lewis was among the first retailers to connect the product platforms and channels, offering more localization options for convenience with deliveries);
- the talent for knowing how to create anticipation and expectation (Lush renews a third of its product range every year);
- the desire to offer increasingly improved customer services (Emirates tries to offer connectivity in the air);
- the capability of analyzing every phase of the customer journey to better set customer expectations.