7 Methods of Instantly Improving Your Customer Experience
Kevin Wiltshire, senior consultant provides you with 7 ways to instantly improve your customer experience.
Every business is created to fulfil a need for its customers. But as organisations grow and employee numbers increase, it can be hard to keep track of the quality of service that’s being provided by your employees to each and every customer.
Fortunately, a great customer experience doesn’t just happen organically. It can be created through company culture, expert training, continuous business process improvement and operational change. There are ways that you can provide an industry-leading, customer pleasing experience in an instant, and the following seven tips will help you get there.
1. Understand the difference between customer service and experience
At Renault-Nissan Consulting, we help many organisations to continually improve both customer service and customer experience. But when we begin our work many people don’t know that these are different.
While improving your customer service often deals with the face-to-face or immediate interaction with the people buying your products and services, improving your customer experience should incorporate every single element. From the first advert they click on and the website they land on, to the process of making a purchase or collecting something from your store. Every step of the journey - even the after-sale email - should be considered when you’re improving customer experience.
2. Walk the journey
When it comes to continuous business improvement methods that will help ensure your customer experience is first class, one of the first tasks is to ‘walk’ the journey. This can be a thorough, detailed process, but it can also be done in an instant, so that you can immediately spot shortcomings. Walking the customer journey means putting yourself in their shoes and making a purchase. What is the experience like from the moment you arrive to the time you make a purchase or get home? How did each touch-point make you feel and where were mistakes made? By documenting all of these along the way, you can instantly highlight corrections that need to be made. Examples include a busy or harassed member of staff who is rude to a customer, getting the spelling of a name wrong in a marketing communication, or the slow delivery of a product.
3. Check your feedback
Many organisations request customer feedback once they have sold a product or service. This can be easily automated and is often sent out via email after the sale. But although this is often reviewed intensely in the early stages, many businesses often fail to review or act upon this valuable feedback over time. Review any feedback, customer complaints, compliments or comments you and your customer service teams may have received. It will help you to discover what works and what doesn’t and make any necessary changes quickly.
4. Get employee buy in
Any operational change can be unsettling for employees. That’s why it’s important to include them in your customer experience process improvements. All employees, no matter what department they work in, must understand that they can play a role in providing and improving customer experiences. If you are about to begin a review or ‘walk through’ of your customer journey, it can be helpful to select a taskforce of people at each stage in the process to help you fix any problems you may encounter. By making them feel part of an important business improvement project you will motivate them to make the necessary changes and work towards customer experience excellence.
Many companies are now monogramming, engraving and offering a range of personalised services to customers. But this step doesn’t have to be a major change in the products your offer. Simply changing the salutation in your customer emails so that it includes the (correct) customer name can make a big difference to customer satisfaction and loyalty. There is also technology such as CRM systems and processes that will enable you to learn more about your clients, so you can tailor your recommendations for other products and services based on what they like.
6. Keep in touch
One very simple and effective way to improve your customer experience is to say ‘thank you’. Consider sending an email to people who have made a purchase, been in your shop, visited your website or attended a programme in the past. You can include a message telling them how much you appreciate their business and offer a promotion at the same time. In addition, a continuous campaign of informative or interesting emails can also help your customers feel valued.
7. Continuously review
Operational change can have a positive effect on your business processes and profit. But if it is going to be successful any continuous improvement initiative needs to be permanent and consistently reviewed. What works today for your business and your customers might not work tomorrow. So ensure you establish a project team that can continue to review the processes and journey your customers take. This will not only improve the customer experience, it will help increase brand loyalty, sales and ensure long-term success.