Some are calling customer service and the customer experience (CX) the new business battleground.

Market research firm Forrester says nearly three-quarters of businesses are making it their top priority. In just a few years’ time, it could overtake both price and product as the most important differentiating factor between brands.

Consumers are now very much in the ascendancy. Their expectations are high as they are the ones dictating terms in the marketplace.

Their willingness to switch allegiance – 25% of customers defect to a competitor after just one bad experience – means businesses must work harder to capture and retain hearts and minds. This applies as much in the workplace to which employees come with those same attitudes and expectations they hold outside it.

If customer experience is all-important, then this means finding ways to prevent the poor experiences that leave staff much less likely to engage with the whole information security process next time out.

Customer satisfaction is everything

Given that the collective perception of information security is probably not as good as it could be, those involved in it’s delivery need to consider how their actions and decisions can more positively affect their ‘customers’ behaviour and recast their relationship with them accordingly.

How best to do that?

One. Focus on improving customer satisfaction at every ‘touch point’. A report by global management consultants McKinsey found companies could increase overall customer satisfaction by 20% by delivering high service levels not just at particular moments, but throughout the ‘customer journey’. That means seeing information security delivery as being on a continuum where a consistent and positive experience is created at every single point.

Two. Personalise the customer experience. One size fits all approaches simply do not work in a world of increasing personalisation. So, you need to think about how you can tailor your information security message to different tribes or groups of individuals within your organisation.

Three. Communicate that message in an appropriate fashion. Social media is one way to do this, but so is good ‘old-fashioned’ email. If nearly 60% of B2B marketers believe that email is their most effective channel, why not learn from them and use it for follow-up messaging, linking to resources, webinars and support sites, flagging up ‘special offers’ personalised to individuals or specific groups of customers, and getting feedback?

This will require you to see email not just as a mere information workhorse, but as a precision ‘marketing’ tool that lets you provide targeted knowledge to the right people in the right way and at the right time.

Four. Eliminate potential frustrations that lead to dissatisfaction in the first place. In the real world, nearly nine out of ten customers become frustrated when they need to repeat themselves to different staff members. So, don’t make people jump through hoops when it comes to information security. Instead, show them that you are aware of, understand and care about their needs. Do this and you will not only start to capture their hearts and minds, but also turn them into advocates.

Customer experience is a team game

Five. Lead the customer experience as much as you can. Outside of work, consumers can simply walk away from a product they don’t particularly like. Obviously, that can’t be allowed to happen when it comes to information security. That means, you have to re-engineer employees’ interaction with information security to make it more engaging. In practice this could mean offering a ‘self-service option’, for instance, that allows them to find information or resolve a problem on their own, just as they prefer to do when not at work.  

Six. Make information security a ‘team game’ in which everyone involved is continually seeking to improve the customer experience. It only takes one weak link to destroy the whole customer experience.

Seven. Build and maintain trust. Being transparent is what people expect outside work. That’s why over half of consumers think having additional product information inspires greater trust in a brand, while nearly three-quarters say they’re willing to pay more for a product that promises total transparency. So, how can you introduce this desire for transparency into your processes and communications in an acceptable way?

Reinvent your customer experience

Customer experience is the hot button in business right now. So, information security professionals need to look at how they can make it part of what they do.

This requires changing perceptions and leveraging available tools so as to reshape the customer experience, something Marmalade Box helps our clients do.

So, if you are looking for ways to ‘reinvent’ information security and the “customer service experience” within your company or organisation, you should talk to us.