Businesses of all kinds acknowledges that their customers are important; that customers are the company’s most valuable asset; that the company only survives when it has customers and, grows only when it can retain them and recruit new ones; and that the company, therefore, should be structured and managed around the customer (Schmitt 1).
Customers are the key drivers of growth of any firm. They are the people who purchase the goods the firms offer or the services the firms provide. Therefore, for a business to retain its customers, it is important that focus should be laid on the services offered. Customer experience generally refers to all the experiences that customers encounter during the time which a service is offered to them. A business needs loyal customers who will only be retained depending on the quality of services the firm offers (Shaun 254). The interaction between the customer and the organization creates a perception in the customers’ subconscious and conscious mind. This interaction creates a blend that portrays the organization’s rational performance, and, how the organization is capable of stimulating senses against the customer’s expectations. The ability of an organization to focus on customer experience will help to reduce cost, build a competitive advantage and drive value.
Many firms have for a long time focused on important touch points – the many vital moments when an interaction takes place between the customer and the services that the firm offers. Success will come to those companies that are able to embrace and, deliver compelling and emotionally engaging customer experience – every day, for all customers, every time ().
When deciding on the product or service to spend money on, customers usually rely on certain clues. These clues are important since they enable customers make right decisions when choosing a service or a product, that is, they influence the decisions of the customer. The three major types of clues that customers rely on include functional clues, mechanic clues and humanic clues. Organizations should systematically use these three clues in order to manage customer experience (Haeckel, Carbone, and Berry, 2003). Functional, humanic and mechanic clues play particular functions in determining the customer's service experience. They are all used to influence, both emotionally and rationally, the perception of service quality. Businesses have the best opportunity to start off on the right path if they make good use of these clues while developing their business plans. This will ensure that they survive and become prosperous.
Functional clues are normally concerned with the technical quality of the service or product being offered. This focus is on product or service quality which reveals the competence and reliability of the service or good being offered. Functional clues are the core of any service since they help address the customer’s needs. In order to meet customer expectations, more emphasis should be laid on reliability, that is, the ability to perform the required service accurately and dependably.
Mechanic clues majorly focus on sights and sounds. They are majorly concerned with the sensory presentation of the good or service. It also includes senses of smell, taste and touch. A possibly important role of mechanical clues is to provide a wonderful first impression, which in turn will have a major influence on the customer’s decision making. A good first impression is vital since it is what the customer experiences first, therefore, to some extent, mechanical clues comes before other clues. The design of your facility, the lightings, the equipment, the furnishings and the sign colors used may help create a visual image of the service offered. These can communicate to the customers without the service providers uttering a single word (Leornard, Eileen and Lewis, 2006). An organization should lay more emphasis when designing their mechanic clues since they help in supporting the company’s strategy.
Humanic clues are majorly related to the appearance and behavior of the providers of the service such as the grooming of the service providers, the way the service providers communicate with the customers, the voice tone used; the body language and how enthusiastic the service provider is about the service being provided. Through this human interaction, it becomes easier to get an opportunity to extend respect and appeal to the customer, thereby, exceeding customer expectations and, creating an emotional connection to the service by the customer. This emotional connectivity is vital in ensuring that customer expectations are exceeded, their trust strengthened and their loyalty maintained.
The expectations of the service by customers have positive relations with perceptions of mechanic clues. Therefore, humanic clues majorly control the effect of mechanic clues. It is important that directors of a business focus on both humanic and mechanic clues to constantly convey a reliable service message (Eileen and Leonard, 2007). The moods of a customer may have a particular impact on their thinking and actions. This in turn will influence their behaviors. From various researches conducted, it is documented that when people are positive mood, they are always capable of recalling positive materials from their brains. Additionally, the mood of an individual helps in identifying an information processing strategy that an individual is expected to embrace. Hence, it is necessary for firms to manage these clues in a way that can have a positive influence on the customers thinking and actions (Berry, Wall, Carbone and Lewis, 2006).
According to Carbone (2004), good, bad, or indifferent, every customer has an experience with a company and the products or services they provide. But few businesses really manage that customer experience, so they lose the chance to transform customers into lifetime customers. Customers whose needs are met or exceeded by a business in terms of quality service delivery form favorable attitudes about it. Since people’s attitude drive their future behaviors, highly satisfied customers usually display behaviors such as staying with the company longer, buying more and recommending it - all of which are highly profitable to the company concerned (Eileen and Leornard, 2007).
The process of understanding the relationship between a customer and the organization is a complex one. Organizations need to be more aware of the clue conscious and understand how the conscious and unconscious thoughts of a customer work (Shaw and Ivens, 2004). Hill and Roche (2007) further state that many successful organizations rely on building strong emotional attachments with their clients. In order to achieve this, it is necessary for an organization to create a solid, realistic and sensory-stimulating customer experience. When all these are addressed effectively, they will ease the process of customer acquisition, drive customer loyalty and they will help improve customer retention.
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