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Business

Giving customers the best experience

HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes - The Philippine Star

Customers will always be the king or queen of any business. And this age-old mantra, which focuses on the importance of customers or consumers in every business, is taking on a larger meaning in the context of evolving technology, increasing customer needs and expectations, tough competition.

In an article by management consulting firm Gartner, it was shown how the field of customer experience, or CX management, is on the rise, and there is no sign of it stopping.

It revealed that more than 5,000 organizations worldwide in 2019 now have a dedicated CX leader, nearly half of whom report to the CEO.

Gartner distinguished VP analyst Ed Thompson emphasized that this increasing level of CEO oversight shows the importance of CX to the bottom line, hence the need for measurement.

The article revealed that most large organizations with revenue of more than $1 billion have more than 50 CX metrics, with some as many as 200, all owned and managed by different people in different parts of the organization.

CX metrics have several uses. The same article explained that they can be used to communicate the rationale for previous investments, validate whether improvements have taken place, set goals and targets for future improvements, or intervene when remedial action is needed.

According to Thomson, the five main types or categories of CX practices are customer satisfaction, customer loyalty/retention/churn, advocacy/reputation/brand, quality/operations, and employee engagement.

Meanwhile, Forrester Research noted that CX improvements can translate into revenue growth for companies, with auto manufacturers, hotels, wireless service provides, and big box retailers netting the biggest sales gains.

But what is the ROI of customer experience?

In an article published in forbes.com, one of the biggest obstacles change-makers face in pushing their organizations towards customer centricity is convincing executives that the investment will yield a return because compared to things like sales and marketing, CX is often seen as a softer part of business.

But the article emphasized that the return of investment of CX is actually quite staggering.

It revealed that customer-centric companies are 60 percent more profitable than companies that do not focus on customers, while brands with superior CX bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that lag in CX. Meanwhile, 84 percent of companies that work to improve their CX report an increase in their revenue.

The article, written by Blake Morgan, stressed that investing in CX builds a powerful lifeline between customers and the company. Companies that are not customer-centric tend to send messages they think customers want without actually getting their input or feedback. This approach, it said, can lead to huge amounts of wasted resources on marketing and products that simply do not resonate with customers.

It added that CX helps companies proactively deliver great products and prevent future issues. As customers call the contact centers with issues about a product, representatives send that information o the product designers so they can adjust the product. If numerous customers are reporting a glitch or a confusing part of a product, the team can make adjustments to make the product more effective and in line with what customers actually want. The article emphasized that most customer-centric companies utilize feedback loops between customer support and product design teams.

Unhappy customers, it said, cost more to serve and instead of spending money to recover from a bad experience, proactively spending money to create positive experiences pays off incredibly.

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One chief executive who does not need convincing as to the importance of CX is Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Smart Communications president and CEO Alfredo Panlilio.

During PLDT’s recent 2022 annual shareholders’ meeting, Panlilio said that building on the legacy of PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan which has enabled the company to achieve historic growth, he is determined to further establish the group as a leading-edge company that focuses on what significantly contributes to excellent customer experiences.

Panlilio revealed that with their recently launched strategic transformation and evolving fintech ecosystem in place, the PLDT Group is well positioned to be the best in CX and maintain its growth momentum. He added that PLDT is committed to continuously improve on service metrics and operations using automation, with technologies to empower its people and processes.

PLDT unveiled its 2025 vision earlier this year, with the goal of being the best in connectivity markets, ICT markets, and capital markets. Hinged on a more holistic view of the business, officials said that the transformation will further elevate customer experience, improve PLDT and Smart’s standing as a premier workplace in the country, establish industry-leading operational excellence, growth profits through new businesses and capabilities, and turn the group into the region’s leading ESG telco.

Coming off the group’s record-breaking revenues last year, Panlilio remains optimistic on the company’s growth momentum amid the shifting industry landscape, adding that last year’s exceptional performance sets the foundation for 2022 “as we continue to leverage on our strengths as the Philippines’ largest and most diversified fully integrated telecommunications company.”

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Phoenix Petroleum president Bong Fadullon recently shared in a LinkedIn post how he personally had a better experience with the after-sales service offered by a company that sells a $300 watch compared to another company that sells a $17,000 watch brand.

“Both are good watches, but how can one that is downright simple and straightforward get it so right, while the other – flashy, full of drama, heritage, among others – can get it so wrong. The personal experience is a great lesson on brand and how people can make a whole of of difference. Never fail to show your customers how grateful you are for their business,” he said.

Fadullon brought the expensive watch which he bought from abroad for adjustment to the brand’s flagship store here. He said that except for the technician who was pleasant and helpful, the sales lady was purely transactional and had no warmth. “The sales lady brought out a magnifying lens to intensely scrutinize the warranty card and the watch as if insinuating that something was amiss,” he said, adding that he thanked the lady afterwards but never got a response.

On the other hand, he brought the $300 Japanese watch of his son to the store to have it fixed. Though nearing closing time, the sales lady accommodated the servicing needs which took only five minutes. Fadullon described the experience as quick, easy, warm and grateful.

For some companies in fact, they look at after-sales service as something that is income generating, something that will help squeeze more money out of the customer. For some, it is an inconvenience, especially if still covered by the warranty period.

 

 

For comments, e-mail at [email protected].

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