In an ever-changing and fast-paced world where alternatives are rife, customer experience is rapidly becoming one of the most important elements of a business’ success. According to the Institute of Customer Service, the driving factor that will determine decisions going forward will be the level of a customer’s intellectual and emotional engagement with the purchase.
Fatima Sullivan, Vice President of Customer Services for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, says: “If the customer is not the key focus in all activities, whether it is improvements in delivery times or query resolution processes, efforts are wasted. Customers know what they want, and how they want it. You just need to listen to them.”
She points to the recently released Walker report titled Customers 2020, which reveals that by 2020, customer experience will overtake product and price as the key brand differentiator, and therefore more emphasis will need to be placed on the experience a company delivers to create a competitive advantage.
“The voice of the customer is therefore an important element to consider when planning your strategies. Customers want to engage with companies who can not only provide a service, but are able to tailor-make solutions and respond quickly to changing demands. In the logistics industry, where unforeseen delays may arise, it’s important to be able to react quickly and proactively communicate with your customers. Engaged customers understand that things go wrong sometimes, but they need to trust that you are able to recover from it in a fast and professional manner,” adds Sullivan.
It’s not just about problem resolution, but more importantly, about determining the root-cause, and to ensure that the problem does not occur again.
“Customers should also be able to access various escalation channels easily – there’s nothing worse than situations where frustration levels are high and you cannot track down the right person to assist you. In DHL’s case, we introduced a best-in-class feature to our website which we refer to as Straight to the Top (STTT). This allows customers to have access to the DHL Express Senior management team, including the Africa Management Board. It’s all about accessibility and speed of query resolutions.”