When you are a business owner, no matter the size of the business, one of your main focuses needs to be customer service. After all, having customers is what is going to make your business work, help it to grow, and keep the money rolling in. And when your potential customers turn to customers, you will want to make sure that they have the best experience possible so that they can become loyal customers. It is something to continually strive to do.
For many, customer service and the customer experience that they have are seemingly interchangeable. However, one aspect of it is just the first experience with a brand or business; the other is something that impacts feelings and has some emotion, and that is what encompasses the whole customer journey. The customer experience is something that impacts all aspects of your business, from the an online sale to the final product being delivered, for instance. If you booked a holiday with a travel agent, for example, and the booking was simple and the sales clerk was helpful and polite, then that is all about having good customer experience. But if that then went on to have the tickets arrive early or you get something extra like an upgrade, then that is a good customer experience, which is what people will remember and will share and tell others about. So having a focus of improving the customer experience for others is really important.
So how can you make sure that you’re upping your game and improving the whole customer experience for your customers? Here are just a few examples to help you to create a really great customer experience strategy that will help to improve things for your business.
Have a Clear Customer Experience Vision
One of the first steps in the customer experience strategy that you have, is to have a customer-focused vision that is clear, and that you can clearly share with others in your team, if you work with colleagues. One of the easiest things that you can do to define the vision that you have, is to create a some statements that will help you to put plans in place, as they can been as a set of principles to guide you. Once you have these things in place, and you have a clear idea about the principles that you want to have for your business, then it will help to drive the business, as well as how you, and any colleagues, approach things. If you have a team of people working for you, then they need to know these principles and they should be part of new starter training, as well as refresher training, so that you show the importance of them, and they will become a natural focus for you all.
Understand Your Customers
The next thing to be thinking about when it comes to the customer experience and the principles your business has around that, then you can more easily bring to life the kinds of customer that you are likely to have, and who you as a business will encounter. If you really want to understand the needs and wants of your customers, then you will need to be able to connect with them, understand them, and be able to empathise with them. So one way to do just this is to create personas for your customers, for example, and give them all a personality and a name, so you can get your head around what your customers are after. For instance, you could have an ideal customer for your business that is a woman called Claire, who is aged 30; she likes to keep up to date with technology, is pretty tech savvy, and likes to have fun in life, whereas a customer called Peter, for example, that is a little older at 50 years old, needs a little more help with tech things, such as a clear and simple to use website. Your business or products are still things that both would use, but you need to think about the hows and whys, you make sure that your business is suitable for all of your customers. The personas can also be a good way for any of you in the business that will work in customer support, to recognise the issues that are coming up; are most complaints coming from a Peter, for example? If so, then a better designed website could be what you need to be doing.
Use a quality framework to develop
The steps above will help you to know what your customers think about quality of your business or service, especially compared to customer experience principles that you have defined. The next step needs to be being able to identify the needs for all of the staff members that you have, especially if you have a specific customer support team or people in charge of that. This could be done through checking the quality of the phone calls that they are having, as well as checking the email communications too. It is a good idea to have a quality framework that will help to take the assessment one step further, and this can be done by scheduling and tracking the development of the team, through some coaching or group training.
You can look at specific areas too; for example, the supply chain or the warehouse. How efficient are these teams at getting things out on time and meeting orders in the right way? If you are often getting complaints about people being sent the wrong thing or the item is the wrong colour, then it could be time to ask yourself how to increase warehouse efficiency to improve this area of the business. The customer support team can be trained to deal with the complaints in the best way, to improve the customer journey, but there may be some training that needs to happen to make sure that these things don’t even happen in the first place.
Customer expectations are high, and that is never more true than with customer’s word of mouth; news can travel fast. The customer experience is an area for all businesses that needs to be looked at constantly, with a great focus on customer experience strategy. Then you will be able to see the positive impact that it can bring to your business.