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The needs and expectations of consumers have shifted dramatically over the past few decades. Today’s customers still want a great product at a reasonable price, but they also want a personalized, stress-free shopping experience that adds value to their lives. Businesses are building brands, weaving stories, and interacting with their audiences, yet in the first quarter of 2015, only one percent of U.S. companies actually delivered excellent buying experiences, according to Forrester’s Customer Experience Index.

Organizations are training sales teams, using social media, and upgrading to the latest technology—what is it that 99 percent of U.S. businesses are missing? Consider my advice as a customer service keynote speaker: It’s time to rethink customer service!

Make Customers an Executive Priority

Your business exists to serve its customers. It’s time to give them the attention they deserve. I work with a variety of industries in my role as a customer service keynote speaker, and I continuously see companies that treat consumer needs as an afterthought rather than a priority. Real customers, not numbers or statistics, should be part of every aspect of operations, from planning and development to sales, support, and follow-up. A Chief Customer Officer brings valuable insight and direction to your executive team by giving your audience a genuine voice in every business decision.

Rethink Customer Service Training

It’s time for companies to realize—there is no magic script to turn potential buyers into loyal customers, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to consumer conflicts. Instead of focusing on methods and procedures, develop training programs that help employees improve interactions to gain a better understanding of customer needs. Cultivate a caring, attentive team that truly serves the buyer, and teach them to focus on adding value to every encounter.

Eliminate Departmental Boundaries

The customer service team alone cannot create a meaningful, valuable experience for every consumer. That’s why effective customer service keynote speakers often recommend improved cooperation and collaboration between all departments to develop strategies that directly benefit customers. It’s time to rethink customer service’s role in marketing, technology, sales, and other areas of operations. Train employees throughout your organization to focus their efforts on consistently exceeding consumer expectations.

Perfect and Expand Online Service and Support

Encourage positive customer interactions throughout the shopping and buying processes with accessible, convenient, and knowledgeable support options. Rethink customer service strategies to reach consumers on their time and at their preferred locations. Create reliable online help centers with answers to frequently asked questions, common procedures, and product information, and use social media to deliver personalized assistance to concerned shoppers. Based on my experience as a customer service keynote speaker, I strongly recommend a holistic, multi-channel approach that guides the consumer through an enjoyable and meaningful journey.