I came across an interesting article talking about ways to reinvent the customer experience. It showed that only 1% of customers have an experience that meets their expectations. That’s an extremely low percentage – it could be attributed to actual declining customer service, or that consumers’ expectations are higher than they once were.
At any rate, it’s always a good time to take a good look at your current standards and see if there is room for change – there almost always is.
By looking at customer feedback responses, talking with your customers, and evaluating sales numbers, you can get some insight into the health of your customers’ experience. Are there complaints that revolve around certain themes? Do you see a drop in returning customers?
Technology and other advances have made it easy to reinvent ways you interact with customers, whether it is changing the way customer inquiries are handled, better ways to communicate with customers and make them feel valued, or even something as simple as speeding up the time spent in line.
The key question to ask yourself, as stated in the article, is:
“If we had no infrastructure, no politics, no barriers, and no limitations–how would we exploit the status quo to radically improve customer service?”
Doing something because “it’s always been done that way” or not having the time to make change is not an excuse. We are headed into the fourth quarter and a new year – why not start thinking now about ways you can improve the customer experience? It’s time to think outside of the box and really brainstorm for ways to make it better.
Here are some tips to get started:
1. Have a brainstorming session: throwing out any and all ideas, no matter how crazy they may seem, is the best way to start with your team. Ask the question above and collect ideas. The point here is to think freely and pretend for the moment that you can implement anything you want to. This will give you a “wish list” of ideas.
2. Ask your customers directly: if you are using a customer feedback program, or even a mystery shopping program, include a question that asks, “If there was one thing we could improve on, what would it be?” A few of our clients have added this question with great success. Your customers are the ones in the experience – they have thoughts about things that could make the experience better. Why not ask? You may get ideas you’ve never thought of.
3. Don’t feel like radical change is needed: making even small changes can go a long way. From the wish list you create, pinpoint some small changes that are most realistic and easy to implement. Customers will notice, and you will feel accomplished in the process, making it easier for you to continually monitor and make changes to make customers’ lives easier.
Change is good, and if you’re still doing things “old school”, consider making some honest evaluations of your standards and processes and decide how you can make change for the better.