This week I’ve been reflecting on the experience our customers have with us. How they find us, what journey they take to reach us, how they navigate their way through our businesses and how they feel as they interact with us. Whatever type of business you have, thinking about the way your customers experience what you offer is important. How can you make it easier for them to find and interact with you? How do you deliver solutions to their problems in ways that work for both them and you? How can you ensure that dealing with your business is always a positive experience for them? Whether you’re just launching a new business, thinking about starting or in a growth phase, being focused on your customer and their experience is key. But how do you ensure that it’s efficient, effective and enjoyable?
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
How do customers experience your business?
Customer experience encompasses every aspect of your business. Your advertising, packaging, product and service features, ease of use and reliability. Your onboarding process, customer care approach and after-sales service. From the moment your potential customer becomes aware of your existence, all the way through to a (hopefully) long and mutually satisfying relationship, they’re having an experience of you and your business. As your business grows, there’s a risk that the people who oversee all the different customer touchpoints will become disconnected from each other. How do you stop that happening?
Many companies focus on customer satisfaction without really understanding how to achieve it. What you’re measuring is really the net result of a customer’s good experiences with your business minus their negative ones. In order to improve customer satisfaction you have to really look at all the elements of their experience. Every single touchpoint, direct and indirect, with your business, brand and people.
Customer experience is completely subjective, so understanding people’s expectations of your product and service is critical. Expectations are informed by previous experiences with your business but also potentially with your competitors. We instinctively compare each new experience, positive or negative, with previous ones and judge accordingly. Expectations can also be shaped by market conditions and even a customer’s personal situation. Ideally you want the most routine and complex of experiences to be efficient and pleasant.
Here are my Top Ten Tips for Improving Customer Experience:-
🌟 Vision. Get really clear about what you’re designing. What are your guiding principles? What are the trade-offs? What experience do you want them to have with your business?
🌟 Understand. Who are your customers? What’s important to them and what do they value? What experiences have shaped their expectations of your products or services?
🌟 Map. Create a visual representation of the entire customer journey from first contact to a loyal and happy customer. Include every single touchpoint a potential customer could have with your business.
🌟 Flow. Don’t just look at individual touchpoints but how they join together. How smooth are the handoffs between processes? How does the customer experience differ between different routes they could take?
🌟 Feedback. Gathering feedback from your customers is essential. Ideally you want to collect it in real time and for it to be as specific as possible Which part of the process, which member of the team?
🌟 Team. It’s not just customers you want feedback from. Members of your team are interacting with customers every day so you want their inputs to be captured and acted upon.
🌟 Train. Everybody in your team needs to be responsible for delivering a quality experience to your customers. Once you have specific feedback you can tailor your training to help individuals improve their performance.
🌟 Optimise. This isn’t a one-off exercise, a ‘fix and forget’ initiative. How do you make continuously improving the customer experience part of your culture? Continue to welcome challenge and a desire to do better.
🌟 Results. This is not just about some fluffy ‘make the customer feel amazing’ initiative. Make sure your investment in your processes and people is paying off in your bottom line results.
🌟 Emotion. Your customers are human beings. We are all creatures of emotion. Focus on creating an emotional connection with your customer. How do you want them to feel as they interact with your business?
It’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to know everything or be able to do everything. Please be kind to yourself and if you’d like to talk through the choices you’re facing or any blockers in your business, let me know.
Lisa Zevi – September 2021