8 Tips to Improve and Future-Proof Your Customer Experience
by Kim Garmon Hummel, on Oct 19, 2020 12:00:00 AM
So, you’re thinking about the overall customer experience you provide? Maybe you’re experiencing some of the pain that goes along with providing a poor customer experience, such as negative feedback or even a downturn in business.
On the other hand, maybe you’re someone who is proactively looking for ways to avoid that pain and ensure positive reviews are the resounding theme of your customers’ perception. Well, I’m here to tell you that using the right systems, processes, and technology to facilitate an excellent experience for your customers is the key to growth! Ensuring this is being done with max efficiency, while also continuing to provide that amazing customer experience is the key to scaling and profitability.
A good experience can yield one sale but a great one builds a relationship — a strategic partnership with your customers — and that is much more likely to also yield repeat business, brand loyalty, and referrals.
Often times when I work with a business on their customer experience, I see they’ve achieved the growth they’ve experienced up to that point very organically. They’re really good at what they do and manage to keep their arms around it for long enough to scale up a level or two. Eventually, their arms are too short and they can’t keep it all together anymore. If they want to continue to grow, this will mean hiring additional staff and/or outsourcing certain parts of the process. Handing off pieces of the process always raises the risk that the customer experience isn’t going to be maintained.
When customers begin having a negative experience, existing and potential customers begin to take notice. Frustrations travel by word of mouth, people leave bad reviews online using Google, social media, etc. — which results in the business’s reputation and revenue being impacted negatively. The people who run the business didn’t mean to let the experience slip. Just as the initial growth happened organically, so too did this regression. Like so many other things in life, it’s not enough that you didn’t mean to — you have to mean NOT to.
The good news is that whether you’re here to learn how to fix your problem or learn how to avoid experiencing it, these tips should be a great place to start forming your customer experience strategy.
- Know your customers: Know who your best customers are and why they are the best. Why did they choose you initially and why do they continue to choose you? This is fundamentally important to the health and success of your brand overall.
- Define your experience: Take the time to very clearly define your customer experience. Articulate what it is, what it isn’t, and anything else that someone would need to know in order to understand and deliver a consistently excellent experience in the real world while interacting with other humans.
- Formalize systems and processes: Make these systems and processes customer-centric as often as possible. This will set up your team and your company for success.
- Train your team: Your team can only be as good as the training you provide. Train them to ensure those who interact with your customers are well-versed in how to provide a consistently excellent experience at all touch points. You’ll also want to explain the importance of managing customer expectations. It can be tempting to tell a customer what they want to hear in the moment but if you can’t deliver on it, you’ve only traded a small disappointment now for a much larger one later.
- Embrace technology and invest in it: This is such a critical part of success. Switching software because what you started with hasn’t grown with you is cumbersome and time-consuming. Often, out of sheer dread, a business will hang on to the wrong solution to avoid the pain of finding and changing to the right one. This can be a costly mistake. So, while that price tag for the right software might be more than you want to spend, keep in mind the loss of revenue you may experience due to inefficiency, frustrated employees, and disappointed customers.
- Continually improve: Once you have it right, remember that it’s not set-it-and-forget-it. You’ll need to check in with your customers and your team. Ask customers for honest feedback about their experience. Give them a sounding board so that when (not if, but when, because humans aren’t perfect and one of your employees will inevitably miss the mark) a customer is frustrated, you can get ahead of it, respond to negative reviews, and make it right. Welcome questions and feedback from your team as well. Your customers are only half of the equation in ensuring a healthy relationship with your brand is maintained.
- Evolve: Keep in mind that as your business grows and changes, so too should the systems and processes that support it.
- Future-proof: Last on this list but first in your to-do’s — start with a plan! This is the key to ensuring your investment is as future-proof as possible.
I’ll also mention that if your product or service is simply missing the mark, world-class customer service that delivers the best customer experience in the universe isn’t going to be enough by itself. You’ll also need to fix your product or service to align with your brand promise and customer expectations. Conveniently enough, that feedback you’ll gather from your customers, which I mentioned in #6 above, will be very helpful in this work.
If customer loyalty fueled by a positive customer experience is what you desire, but this sounds like a lot of heavy lifting, or if you’d like to engage with an expert on how to improve your customer experience, I’d love to have a conversation. Click here to schedule a chat with me.
At Sauce, we help businesses organize, optimize, align, and transform the way they approach marketing, sales, and the customer experience. From strategizing the highest level plan to implementing improvements based on the most granular piece of impactful data, and everything in between — when your business needs some flavor, we’re bringing the Sauce!