Your business success is intrinsically linked to your customer's experience with your product or service. Creating a memorable and lasting customer experience should always be your team's one priority.
There's no room in a customer-centric business for anything less.
It can be easy to get caught up in day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the big picture, but if you keep the customer at the centre of everything you do, you'll be on the right track.
Update #1 2022Jun28: Read on, Listen on
We dive deeper in our follow up on our Customer Experience focus in a fabulous chat with Communication Coach expert, Ric Phillips
digBiz Podcast ep 16 | Customer Experience | with guest Ric Phillips
Update #2 2022Jul29: Read on, Watch
We get into the impact that Decision Intelligence Planning has on everybody's experience, and how empowering this is for your understanding of data flow for everybody's ease of use of your systems
Never Overlook the Value of Decision Intelligence Planning to Your Business
Remember, a "customer" means a lot of things to a lot of businesses. Make it a priority to learn your customer motivations, ongoing needs, and moments of purchase decisions. For many businesses that can be one, two, or many types of customers. If your business is B2B centric, be sure to understand the different layers of your ideal business client structure; the staff, the roles, the complexities. It matters how you communicate with each one of them.
Your team's success is intrinsically linked to the customer's experience with your product or service. Creating a memorable and lasting customer experience should always be your team's one priority. There are many ways to ensure that every corner of your business is customer-centric. Here are a few ideas:
1. Surround yourself with the right people
The first step in ensuring that your business is customer-centric is ensuring that you have the right team. Look for employees who have the skills and personality to provide excellent customer service. Train your employees so they know how to handle different customer situations, both good and bad; comfortable and informed with your systems and the workflow across people, places, and operations.
2. Walk your customer's walk
To understand what customers want and need, you have to try to see things from their perspective. What would make their experience better? What are their pain points? By understanding the customer's point of view, you'll be able to design a better experience for them.
Start with these exercises as part of your ongoing testing and optimization:
- identify buying decisions and customer purchase processes, including online and offline touchpoints with your systems and staff
- understand what customer data you currently collect and where it sits
- determine how easy it is for customers to find the answers they need on your website or through other channels
- understand what frustrates customers and causes them to leave your site or service
- identify how well you're meeting customer needs at each stage of their purchase process
It's very important to include your team in these exercises. At a human level your team should see and feel the impact of areas where your customer experience is not working well, or worse, outright frustrating or incorrect.
Having the full team involved brings a level of ownership into building changes and strategies from the very team that executes these customer interactions.
Here's a harsh reality: nobody cares if you have different teams, locations, schedules, or supply chain logistics challenges
3. Build a customer-centric culture
Culture is primary when it comes to creating a customer experience focus. This may seem obvious, but it's worth repeating: customers should always be your top priority. Everything from your product or service to your marketing and sales efforts should be focused on meeting their needs.
Creating customer-side talking points written from a customer viewpoint helps bring home the empathic side of how your customers see and feel an interaction. Use example phrasing like "Ms. Customer needs to get a human update from us within 24h of submitting her request." -- start with positive wording as much as you can.
Showing negative experiences can also outline how bad interactions can be so frustrating for people even when we can't see it from within the company. "Ms. Customer submitted her urgent request over 24h ago and hasn't heard one thing from a human here on our progress in solving her issue. She's in the dark. Even just a quick update would go far to keeping her at peace that we're on it.". Giving your team a context for why embracing customer experience from both positive and negative sides can be powerful in building and evolving your business culture.
Encourage your employees to provide feedback about the customer experience, both good and bad. Use that feedback to make improvements to your product or service.
4. Grow your team's passion to deliver great experiences
The extension of your culture-building grows into an impassioned desire in your team to see great-experience at every point in your customer's journey. This isn't a top down exercise, far from it! This is omnipresent. It starts with each person taking responsibility for the part of the experience they own and touches.
From the very first moment a customer hears about your company to long after they've become a loyal fan, everyone on your team should be focused on delivering a great experience. Your team should be passionate about making sure every customer has a great experience with your company.
5. Changes you make may be human processes, they may be automated, often both together
Your customer experience excellence journey will be transformative -- that includes Digital Transformation. You will need to change processes, mindsets, and technology. It's important as you make these changes that you're clear about who does what and when.
For example, if you're trying to improve the customer experience on your website, you'll need to consider changes to your website design, layout structure, content, navigation, calls to action, forms, and more. You may also need to consider changes to your back-end processes, such as how you fulfill orders or handle customer service inquiries.
In some cases, you may be able to make changes that improve the customer experience without making any changes to your processes or technology. For example, you might change the way you train your customer service team or the way you measure customer satisfaction.
In other cases, you'll need to make changes to both your processes and your technology. For example, if you're implementing a new customer relationship management (CRM) system, you'll need to change the way you track and manage customer data.
Making changes to your processes or technology can be a big undertaking, so it's important to consider the impact those changes will have on your employees and your customers. Give yourself room to test and prototype ideas, especially at the beginning.
6. Define Customer's Points of Truth
The days of "online version" versus "in-store version" versus "warehouse-only quantity" versus "... it takes time to update the website ...." are over. They have been for years.
2007 called. They want their sync delay back.
Here's a harsh reality: nobody cares if you have different teams, locations, schedules, or supply chain logistics challenges. They care that what they experience on the phone (talking, people still do that), on the phone (yes, surfing), in your store, or driving (anywhere) are consistent, accurate, and to-the-minute correct. When their experience with you contradicts any of this, they feel frustrated. That means frustrated with your brand.
Even your staff no longer care (seriously): they expect that their ability to pull up accurate, easy to find, and to the minute data is a given. So they can work efficiently, with limited frustration in doing a good job for you.
Making changes to your processes or technology can be a big undertaking, so it's important to consider the impact those changes will have on your employees and your customers. Be sure to note the goal-reaching wins and reward your team, also note the shortcomings, they will happen so be sure to embrace challenges and failures with your team. Creating incremental opportunities to test, measure, and fail in small increments builds confidence in your team's ownership and understanding of why your company is going in the direction you're working towards.
Implementing changes can be difficult, but it's worth it.
7. Keep track of your progress and show off your successes
You can't improve the customer experience if you don't know how you're doing today. That's why it's important to establish baseline metrics for customer satisfaction, website performance, conversion rates, and other key indicators.
Once you have a baseline, you can set goals for improving customer experience, it's important to track your progress and assess the impact of your changes as you go.