“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all,” – Michael LeBoeuf

In today’s on-demand economy, consumers have nearly limitless choices of where to purchase products and services. With choice comes power, and few would argue that in the majority of industries, consumers, not businesses, now hold the power.

Taking this one step further, consumers no longer simply compare the buying experience they have at one company to that of its direct competitors. Every business—no matter what it sells—is expected to live up to the standards of service legends such as Nordstrom, Ritz Carlton and Zappos. And now they also need to keep up with industry disruptors such as Uber. All of which raises the bar ever higher for what is considered acceptable—not to mention excellent—service.

After all, if I can hail a taxi with a couple of clicks on my smartphone, why can’t I do the same with other services? If my hairdresser allows me to book, reschedule or cancel appointments online at my convenience, why don’t my bank and healthcare providers offer this capability? We know it’s a big challenge for any business to stand out from the crowd, but with $41 billion lost by U.S. companies each year due to poor customer service, according to InsightSquared, businesses are absolutely leaving money on the table. And those that don’t distinguish themselves from the competition, will be also-rans for consumer dollars.

So now that we’re on the same page about the importance of customer experience, what are we going to do about it? Here are three steps that will make a huge difference in how you engage with customers:

Step 1: Play by their rules. Customers want to engage with your company when they want and where they want. In consumer industries, omnichannel connectivity is no longer optional. And this is moving into B2B engagements as well. A customer wants to book or buy online? Of course. Mobile devices? Absolutely. Phone? Yes. Your app? Let’s cut to the chase… your engagement options need to be as diverse as your customer’s preferences to ensure you can capture customer interest at its peak.

Step 2: Maximize each interaction. Whether it’s face to face, by phone or online, each time a customer interacts with one of your employees they engage in a conversation. We believe that conversations convert browsers into buyers and when you get these opportunities, you have to be prepared to seal the deal. In fact, our research shows that 90 percent of consumers are likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable associate. When scheduling appointments with customers, good enough simply isn’t…good enough, it needs to be perfect. This means matching customers to the right resources across multiple locations and ensuring that the process of connecting each of your customers with the right expert at the right time and place is fast and frictionless.

Step 3: Empower your workforce with tools to help them do their jobs better. We also believe employees are a business’s best asset, and that empowered employees are more than just efficient—they’re effective. This means equipping them with the right tools (such as processes and policies), technology (specifically those that put the customer information they need at their fingertips), and training.

The result? A “We’ve been expecting you” service guarantee will create lifelong, satisfied customers.

At Engageware, we provide an enterprise-class online appointment scheduling solution that enables businesses to deliver highly personalized experiences to their customers. We spend all of our time figuring out how to help our thousands of customers provide their customers with the very best experience—every time they engage with them.

That’s why we’re so excited about today’s launch of our new Customer Engagement Cloud, which fundamentally improves how businesses engage with customers by helping them manage the most critical part of the customer journey: the live conversation. We’ve made the industry’s best online scheduling solution even better.

With the innovations we launched today, the hundreds of top retailers, banks, technology companies and thousands of other businesses that rely on Engageware are better equipped than ever to create the conversations that will drive their business. Learn about our appointment scheduling solution to see how your business can benefit, too.

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