Consumers want companies to provide authentic customer experiences. In this blog, we unpack corporate authenticity and share tips on improving customer experiences.
Building a strong relationship with consumers is vital to at least two-thirds of companies who compete primarily on customer experience — according to Gartner research. When creating winning customer experiences, most consumers value authenticity the most between the brands they choose.
But what does it mean to offer authentic customer experiences? According to corporate authenticity expert Micah Solomon, providing authentic experiences requires addressing customers as social equals and from an “eye-level view.” From a language and style perspective, this means doing away with detached and artificial formality and, instead, embracing personalised and genuine interactions.
More significantly, offering authentic customer experiences means respecting your customers’ time and being invested in solving their problems. But there’s a difference between knowing the benefits of being authentic and actually creating a culture of authenticity.
Talk is cheap: why authenticity is about action
Imagine you’re experiencing a slow internet connection and go online to troubleshoot the problem. After some searching, you figure out that the issue lies with your service provider. Unfortunately, the only way to contact your provider is through a phone call. You call them and are immediately placed on hold. To soothe your frustration, they play a jingle that repeats dozens of times. Eventually, the jingle cuts out and a human voice is heard, “all our lines are busy but your business is important to us. Please continue holding and you’ll soon be put in touch with a representative.” Hope turns to ash. The wait continues.
In this situation, are you inclined to believe your service provider when they tell you that, ‘your business is important to them?’ This exact scenario has caused me to switch to another internet service provider. For me, it wasn’t enough to be told that my business was valued. I needed to be shown that this was the case. Anything less feels inauthentic.
The lesson is clear: organisations looking to create authentic customer experiences need to focus on action, not words. But what actions can brands take to improve their authenticity?
Steps to creating authentic customer experiences
As every customer is unique, the one-size-fits-all approach to customer service won’t work. Crafting authentic experiences involves enabling customers to get help when, where, and how they want it most. To ensure authentic customer conversations and relationships, focus on:
Facilitating easy and immediate communication — did you know that 90% of customers rate an "immediate" response as very important when they need support? To show that you value their time, customer service needs to offer fast answers while also being convenient to access.
Of course, it’s not always possible, efficient or affordable to keep a customer service phone line open 24/7. That’s why elegantly written FAQ pages, chatbots, knowledge bases, online forums, and live chat options are invaluable to facilitating customer communication. As customers have different communication preferences, they will appreciate being given a choice in how they are communicated with when it comes to solving their service issues.
Building a single customer view — no one likes repeating themselves. This is why over 70% of consumers expect customer service teams to share key information about every customer engagement. You can achieve this by building a shared information hub that tracks all customer interactions over multiple touchpoints.
We’ve written extensively about why a single customer view is essential in 2022. When you have all your customer data available in one place, you can provide personalised customer service based on their unique needs. The result? Happy and loyal customers.
Refining your tone and messaging — when was the last time a customer service representative referred to you as “sir” or “ma’am?” Where old-school formality used to be the norm, customers now appreciate personalised and relaxed interactions.
To improve the genuineness of your interactions, consider ditching the scripts and engaging your prospects on their terms. When honing your messaging, always remember that your customers aren’t product experts. Communicate your solutions with transparency, so customers know what to expect.
Digital tools empower authentic customer experiences
From building a single customer view to chatting with customers quickly and easily across different channels — achieving consistently authentic customer experiences is only possible with the right technology.
Fortunately, many customer service and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems enable authentic customer conversations and relationships. At Huble Digital, we’ve helped many organisations transform their customer experiences through our Service Hub onboarding offering. With our experience and expertise, we recommend that most organisations use HubSpot Service Hub.
HubSpot recently published the 2022 State of Service Report. For this report, they surveyed over 1,400 respondents, representing companies ranging in size from 1 to 10 employees up to 10,000 employees. You can click below to download it.