Where does the customer experience begin and end?

Once upon a time, customer service was a post-sales function. The sales team sold a product and customer service would follow up, answering queries or handling complaints. This was a simple world, but consider how different life is today.

Let’s take a simple example like booking a hotel room. You can search online for the information and chat live to an agent about the hotel you are interested in booking. Once booked you might share the booking with your friends. After you have stayed in the hotel you might review it. At all these steps along the customer experience, the brand might step in and offer assistance or information.

But if you are trying to plan your own customer experience or even just to determine where the scope of your customer service team begins and ends then where do you start

This LinkedIn blog by Colin Shaw highlights some interesting ways to define the boundaries. The very beginning of the experience is where the customer starts thinking they might need your product… I think I might need a hotel in London for that trip next month.

The natural close is getting a positive review for your hotel, shop, or service, so there are opportunities right from where a customer might be thinking about buying your services through to helping them to publish a great review where you need to be thinking about how to interact for the best possible outcome.

None of this is just academic any longer. I no longer book a hotel room without first checking the Tripadviser reviews. Hotels and other service providers cannot avoid the importance of this because they might have some initial customer experiences that positively persuade a potential customer to not book with them!

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London

 Photo by Karen Blakeman licensed under Creative Commons

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