When I interacted with many support agents, I noticed that they casually throw around the terms customer experience and customer service interchangeably. Even a few business leaders have misunderstandings on the term customer experience. Both focus to delight the customer but they are not the same Know the difference to treat your customers well.
Customer experience refers to the complete journey of a customer from knowing your brand to post-purchase. Whereas, customer service is a key component of your overall experience. It refers to a single event where customers reach you for help.
What is customer service?
It is the support or advice that you offer to your customers when they approach you for any concerns or questions related to the product and services offered.
In simple, it is the customer support function of a business. It is an isolated event in the journey where the customer reaches the support desk when there is a concern.
With the rise of chatbots and exposure to self-service, businesses are able to deflect basic queries raised by customers and offer an immediate resolution. However, customers still prefer human interactions.
The business trains its support agents to go above and beyond to solve customer problems and provide the best solutions. This customer support could either make or break a relationship with the customer. So, consider this an integral part of customer experience.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience encompasses every single interaction of a user he/she has with a particular brand and how they perceive those interactions. There are many touchpoints between the customer and the brand before and after the consumer’s use of the product. A great CX(customer experience) provides a seamless and enjoyable journey from the start to throughout the engagement.
The key to CX is the way the journey is linked up without dropping the ball through the cracks.
Customer service and customer experience are both about delivering the best outcomes for the customer. And, that’s what matters.
74% of consumers are at least somewhat likely to buy based on experiences alone. Emplifio
I couldn’t resist talking about Apple. Have you wondered why Apple has such a huge customer base? Why are their customers are loyal than others? How this has helped in establishing their brand? The answer to this is “The Experience.”
Apple Experience doesn’t restrict itself to its products. Apple stores were designed to be the best possible Customer Experience anywhere across the world. The store associates master in human interaction with the approach below.
- A personalized approach for their customers
- Listen to understand the customer’s needs
- Present a solution that matches their need.
- Celebrate when you unwrap the gift(not product). That is the feel you get.
- Make them leave with a smile in their face.
The focus on product packages is another example of how much they value customers. The excitement when we unpack the product is priceless.
The feel when you leave the store makes you want to come back. Of course, the product is expensive. Who would mind the prices when the experience is premium. That is another reason, I have seen many save their bucks to lay their hand on the product.
Suppose you walk to the genius bar with a concern about the product, Apple genius is available at your service to help you sort the issue. They take an empathetic approach to ensure that concern is addressed even if it involves replacing the product. They are trained to ensure that the customers walk out satisfied.
When you have a careful look at it, Apple ensures that at every touchpoint customer gets the best experience and makes their overall journey a memory to live with.
From the Apple Store experience, I am sure you would have deduced the difference.
Customer experience focuses on the entire customer journey from brand awareness to getting in touch with business to purchase to post support. The number of touchpoints is high and multiple teams would be involved. Ensure the touchpoints are well linked. It is all about the relationship with the customer and can never be pinned down to particular interaction.
Customer services relate to a specific event where they reach only when there is a question or concern. However, this interaction should be a part of the overall experience. Adopt an
Customer experience is the way customers feel about your brand across the entire customer journey. Customer service is only one aspect of the entire customer experience. It might be tempting to think that your customer service team will take responsibility for creating great experiences, but it should be everybody’s job from product to support to sales and from marketing to senior leadership. .
During my initial days as Presales, I was afraid to handle objections. Over a period, I saw this as an opportunity so started to embrace it. But, that’s not enough. You need to master this art of objection handling. Only then there is success.
The core approach was
- Acknowledge what the client has to say
- Decode the reason behind his objections
- Empathizing always works.
- You are not alone.
- Help overcome hurdle with customer success story
Acknowledge the client
When objections are raised the first thing we do is to Defend. By doing so, we would keep intercepting the client’s thoughts. And, this would end up looked upon as being rude. It will raise doubts in the mind of the prospect about you and the service/product you offer.
Listen to all his objections and make a note of the points. Let them know you will get back once they finish.
Decode the reasons.
Objections are raised for various reasons. By listening to his objections actively, you would have the time to think, analyze and find out the reason behind it. A few reason for objections
- Price – They would not want to spend on the product as a few take pride in saving money for the organization.
- Value for Money – Here, the price is not a concern. But, they wanted to ensure that they have got the best of value for the expenses.
- Competitors – They wanted to validate whether you are better from the competitors.
- Fear to adopt or upgrade – They are comfortable with whatever process or tools they have and fear that your service or product may disrupt it.
- Risk to my job – Yes you heard it right. Some fear that they may lose their job if whatever they chose might not work.
And, many more. Readers can share other objection reasons with me.
Empathize alway work
Empathize is a critical skill in customer service. Use it at this critical junction. You are already empathizing with the client by listening to his reasons. Now, repeat what you have understood and make sure you are all on the same page. Put yourself in their place and see how they may feel. Be sincere in your efforts.
You are not alone
Now, comes the action item. Tell your client they are not alone .When you say they are not alone, you let them know that this is something common. By doing so you bring them into a comfortable zone where they open a lot. Indirectly, you have established a social proof that this is common. Also, they know you and your company have already faced such problems and they can expect an answer. The trust is built.
When it comes to product objections, tell them how your clients have found solutions to overcome these exact challenges. Propose the interesting features in your product that matches their needs or check whether a custom solution would work out for them. Try to justify, indirectly, how their features justify the cost. Share customer success stories where their ROI has been justified or how the product complemented the process.
Get prepared for more objections after our response. Try to anticipate those and cover it when you respond. Be genuine and sincere in your efforts. Don’t throw imaginary stats or stories to convince them. Share actual and relevant stories.
To summarize, dont be dismayed by objections.It is an opportunity to show the value of your product or service, and an opportunity to build relationship. Every objection is a positive sign as it your best chance to move and successfully closing the deal.
If you have missed my previous article on objection handling, here is the link
When I started this article on objection handling never did I think it will become a two part series. To make it easier for reading I had to break it down into two. Thanks for understanding.
Objections are inevitable during demos or POC. And, objections are perceived as something difficult to handle. I have seen many Pre Sales or Sales Engineers getting nervous when they face one. But, most objections can be effectively handled by following a simple strategy. A shift in your mindset to acknowledge objections as a positive signal for a sale rather than a threat.
Why are objections raised?
Customer objections arise when they have concerns about the quality of the product, service offered by the business or knowledge of the sales engineer whom they interact with, they love your competitor and price.But, two other major factors stand tall among the rest – The risk involved in the switch and why disturb the existing setup.
What is objection handling?
It is a way to respond and change the mindset of the buyer by addressing their concerns. In the process of changing client mindset, don’t end up arguing that your product or service is the game changer or best among the competitors. That is not objection handling. This will end up proving the client that their stand has been right all along. That results in losing the rapport and sales.
Why is objection handling important?
If not negated in the early stage, the client would be holding onto his strong point. And, as a result you may lose the deal though they would be the right fit. And, in some cases, I have seen sales give a heavy discount to save the deal.
When you are unable to persuade them to choose your service or product,then go ahead and close the file. It looks like they might not be the right fit for you.
Embrace objection handling
Whenever I come across an objection it excites me. It is a positive signal for selling as they have been actively processing the information put across their table. They are much better than prospects who lean on their table, relax and never engage at all.
The tough ones are your opportunity to shine and gain your client’s trust and attention. They are the now who have been weighing the pros and cons. As a result they come up with these objections. The ones that are easy going are never the one we can win.
So, embrace those who object because they are the ones willing to adopt for change if they convinced right.
How to win client? Continue reading here