Customer Experience is the new Customer Service
Forget everything you’ve ever heard about a role in customer service. The world is changing. Startups are popping up every single day and the entire business world is restructuring to accommodate the demands of a new and innovative future. Customer service is the latest role to be redefined into something that people are competing furiously to land a job in.
More and more the role has started to morph into what would be better described as ‘customer experience’ rather than ‘customer service’. Customer service brings up an image of someone sat at a desk in an office without daylight, spending countless hours responding to email complaints from disgruntled customers. Now, customer experience has become more like an account executive role, but on the consumer side, rather than dealing with business clients. So, imagine a brightly lit office where you chat on the phone to various customers using your product or service, explaining the functions, and catching up with them on how their progress with it is going.
Richard Laughton, the CEO of easyCar, has seen firsthand how customer experience is becoming indespensible:
"Marketplaces like easyCar Club need to be able to communicate clearly and consistently with different people in a range of situations. Quite often we’re helping people to get started with something that’s completely new to them. Our member experience team share a number of common traits. They’re all enthusiastic, personable, self-starters who like to help solve problems. To do this effectively everyone on the team is also numerate, and has great written and spoken communication skills."
Customer experience is all about ensuring that those that use your product or service are doing so with personal guidance. If they have any problems or queries about anything, then you are there to help smooth things over. The majority of interactions with customers are likely to be positive and respectful because you are checking in on them, before they have time to get frustrated and annoyed about anything – a far cry from the grumpy customer service emails everyone is used to.
Those that work in customer experience need very few specific qualifications, so if you are a recent graduate and you don’t want to follow the path set out by your degree subject, then CE could be perfect. Most customer experience assistants are lively and outgoing, because their job revolves around having an ability to chat to anyone with genuine enthusiasm. Lots of people prefer working with other humans, rather than connecting the dots on a computer program all day, so if you are more of an extrovert, it will suit you well.
Freddie Crouch, an Environmental Sciences graduate from the University of Southhampton, who works in Customer Success at Ebsta said:
“In the age of the customer there has never been a more exciting time to be part of a customer success team. When I left university to become a customer success representative I immediately knew I had joined a department that was fundamental to the success of the company. It is my job to ensure that our customers achieve the benefits of using our products and services which I have found extremely rewarding.
More than half of the revenue in my industry comes from the existing customer base both by identifying up sell opportunities that further meet customer needs and renewals. I’ve also discovered that no two customers’ needs are the same, so I have been continually challenged, and been able to work with all kinds of professionals. The skills that I’ve been able to learn and practice in this role and the lasting relationships I’ve formed with clients will only help me further my career progression whatever direction I choose to take!”
Using your brain and thinking on your feet are both vital to providing stellar customer experience. Seven in ten graduates feel underutilised in their employment, wondering whether they truly needed a degree to be where they are now. When it comes to customer experience you are encouraged to use your brain to solve the various scenarios that crop up. Most day-to-day operations are likely to be straightforward and easily overcome, but every so often you will get a curve ball thrown at you and if you don’t have the initiative to work through methodically and handle things properly, then you might find things a struggle.
Recruiting for a new customer experience team member can be tricky - Avin Ranheru, CEO of Housekeep, reveals the top traits he looks for:
"Our mission here at Housekeep is to be the best at everything we do. This means we’ve built the best technology to match up customers and cleaners across the UK, backed up by world-class experience for customers and cleaners alike. Our Customer Service team is therefore core to our business and we recruit for three key skills: first, ability, to prioritise, problem-solve and empathise with users; second, motivation, to work hard and learn fast; third, dedication, to building a top tier business for the long-run."
Working your way up in the realms of customer experience is straight forward and simple to do if you work hard. As customer experience becomes an increasingly sought-after position in startups and explosive new companies, you will be highly in demand if you hone your people skills and jump into different positions. It’s a career to pick up now if you are interested in the wider startup industry and want a role that will be flexible enough to grow with you in the future.
Within most customer experience teams there is a real sense of camaraderie. Lots of grads in customer experience have reported that team spirit is one of the main reasons why they love heading in everyday to work. Often, it’s the people that surround you, rather than the role itself, that really makes the job – in customer experience it seems to be a mixture of the two (a big win!).
Finally, remember that your first job after graduation does not have to be the same one you hang onto for the rest of your life. Customer experience is a great role if you are simply looking to gain a few skills and bulk out your CV. The things you are likely to pick up are highly transferable, and will look great on any application for account management or business development roles – really, any career that involves working with people will benefit from a grounding in customer experience!