Do you know how your customers perceive their interactions with your business?
Every business would want their customers to have a positive experience at any level of interaction with every member of their staff.
So how do you provide a good Customer Experience? Firstly ask yourself, what does customer experience mean to you, your staff, and how your brand is perceived? How do you do that?
Here are some of my thoughts on what a company should be thinking about and doing to get under the skin of the customer experience they deliver.
- Put yourself in your customers shoes
- Are you available when and how your customers want to communicate?
- Do you have enough channels for your customers to communicate with your business to ensure that their experience is a positive one?
- How do you cope with seasonal demands?
- Are you constantly reviewing feedback with your team and using this to improve the customer experience?
- Are areas in your business excelling at customer experience whilst others are not?
- Do you know how much business you are losing from negative experiences around customer experience?
- How do you approach barriers?
- Do you know what your competitors are doing?
- Are you able to bench mark your proposition within your competitive set?
- Who owns the customer experience within your organisation?
This final question is critical to taking steps forward to improve your Customer Experience. With ownership vested at a senior level, a business can formulate a structure to actively manage customer experience.
What is Customer Experience Management?
Customer Experience Management (CEM or CXM) is the collection of processes a company uses to track, oversee and organise every interaction between a customer and the organisation throughout the customer lifecycle.
This should not be confused with a CRM system, which shows what a customer looks like to your company. Customer Experience Management defines what a company should look like to the customer. It puts the business customers at the centre of all marketing, sales, and customer support to drive brand loyalty and repeat business.
How do you do all these things? Do you have a strong robust Customer Experience Management process that helps you understand your customers and deliver their optimum experience?
It is important to consider how you deal with things when they do not go to plan. Does the customer get a first-class experience? If something goes wrong with a product I purchase, I am looking at the company to deal with this and offer a resolution.
Keeping a customer updated on progress is as important as the result. By doing this you are managing expectations and more importantly keeping the customer informed, adding to a positive experience.
The end-to-end process is critical. Doing this well can lead to a positive experience and a loyal customer, however, not meeting your customers’ expectations and/or not dealing well with an issue can lead to a negative experience.
Why is loyalty so important?
It is simple. Positive experiences lead to loyalty, and it's these customers that are advocates of your brand. Endorsing you to their friends, family, and colleagues.
The power of word of mouth should not be underplayed, in many cases it can be stronger in terms of return on investment than pricey marketing. Don’t forget, it's not what you say, it's what others say about you.
It's also critical to know what your competitors are doing; customers shop around not just on price but also on service and reputation. Knowing where you are benchmarked against your competitive set is as important as the customer experience you deliver.