It doesn’t need explaining how much of a fundamental shift two years of remote working has had on the world around us; specifically on digital systems, infrastructure and the ‘new’ ways of doing business. Covid has put the spotlight on businesses who are still doing things in their traditional methods. Arguably, this old approach leaves businesses short of the frontier and makes one question whether they’re really still in the competition for customers at all?
What has been interesting through this period is how businesses have moved from scrambling to have an online trading presence, to now really focusing on and improving the overall customer experience. And newsflash, that isn’t just about having a great looking website.
What does a good customer experience look like? And how do you define what a good customer experience is? You would expect that the simple outcome of a good customer experience would be strong customer reviews, right? Sure, but this is only part of the story.
Having a good customer experience means great reviews, but more importantly it should deliver strong business growth, increased customer referrals and winning against your lagging competitors. Often, it means doing business in totally new ways.
That’s the result of good customer experience, but it can be difficult to define what a good customer experience actually is. How do you know you have scaled the mountain?
Unfortunately, there is no summit to reach. Customer experience is a constantly evolving and moving beast. And it requires new ways of thinking for businesses.
There are some clear ways to get started and think about it. Here are my top tips…
Firstly – Listen to your customers! We have more data available to us now than ever before, but unless you are actually listening to your customers, that data is only telling part of the story. Seeking feedback, understanding where their frustrations lay, and how things can be improved is the story you need for success. You might be surprised at how much information you have available at your fingertips.
Make things simple. Consumers want to be able to transact quickly, easily, without any fuss, and, most of the time, do so from the end of their phone. Remove obstacles. Don’t make them call you if filling out a form will do. Don’t make them fill out a form if they can just tap a button. Simplify and get what you need quickly, in a personalised way.
Understand what is constant, and innovate everything else. It’s highly unlikely that in a decade customers are going to be ok waiting longer for delivery. This expectation is a constant. Everything else is up for grabs, and it changes all the time. So you need to stay agile and move with the times. Building a great customer experience isn’t a one off project, it’s an ongoing journey for businesses to constantly review and challenge themselves to think differently.
Live and breathe customer experience. The businesses that we see really get this right are the ones where the entire company culture is obsessed with who their customers are and what work needs to be done to make their experience better. From sales, marketing, operations, legal, operations, service and the board; it’s a massive collaborative effort.
In a nutshell… harness your data, simplify your processes, listen to your customers and eliminate the work customers must do. Then build a culture where you continually optimise and refine this, looking for small continual improvement. And if there are opportunities along the way to surprise and delight your customers, why wouldn’t you?!