Make customer experience the center of your business operations


PHOTO: Ben Sweet | unsplash

Eighty percent of customers now consider their experience with a company as important as its products. Think about it: for customers, the experience is just as important as the product. It’s not about which product has better features or a smoother user interface. It’s about which company is easier to do business with, which company makes them feel more valued, and which company values ​​them as people – not just as contributions to the bottom line.

Many people equate “customer experience” with “customer service”. And that’s not really correct. Customer service is part of a great customer experience, but it’s not everything. Customer experience is about everything that impacts how your customers feel when they interact with you: your organization’s culture and the attitudes of your staff; the products and services you provide; the information you provide; how and when you provide this information; and the technology you use.

Customer experience is about inspiring your customers to interact with you and engaging them when they do so they enjoy the experience. It requires that you know your customers and that your organization values ​​that knowledge. If you’re looking at other businesses and wondering why your customers aren’t thrilled with you, let’s look at a few reasons why.

Make it easy for customers to do business with you

Customer experience is about people understanding what they expect, understanding what they need, and often giving them what they didn’t even realize they needed. Creating a great customer experience is less about those big “wow” moments and more about the little things: being reliable and making things easier for your customers.

Think Apple. Did any of us realize we needed an iPod before we got one? No! But once we had one, wasn’t it the greatest thing ever? Believe me. I ran my first marathon in 2002, and it was a game-changer to switch from portable CD players to an iPod. But if you had asked me if I needed something better than a Discman, I would have said, no, it works well enough.

Customers need someone to reflect on their experience of running a marathon with a skipping CD player that ran out of batteries and left them listening to the same CD for three hours straight. (Believe me, I still can’t listen to Eagle-Eye Cherry’s “Save Tonight.”) If you focus on proactively identifying and resolving customer issues, rather than waiting for customers to come to you, you will help turn your customers into brand advocates who increase satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.

A good customer experience leaves people feeling heard and appreciated. It minimizes friction, maximizes efficiency and maintains a human element. Be sure to make it easy for your customers, not just you.

Related Article: The Customer Experience Hierarchy

Understand your customers and what they expect from you

With any customer experience initiative, but especially with digital transformation initiatives, you need to understand the impact on customers. Where are there silos? Where do you lose information about the customer journey? Where are there gaps in data sharing between systems?

We’ve already talked about journey maps, but there’s another tool that can help you improve the customer experience: customer personas. When building a customer-centric organization, personas and journey maps are important strategic tools that help provide a deep understanding of who your customers are, what they need, and how they interact with your business. organization at all points of contact. But more importantly, for sharing customer insights across the organization, these tools can be key to building buy-in and helping teams take targeted action to improve the customer experience.

Especially when we’re talking about generations, it’s easy to point out the differences in how Baby Boomers or the Silent Generation interact with services, compared to Millennials or Gen Z. Personas are a way of help you better understand your customers and develop empathy with them. What are their needs and goals? What motivates them? Why do they behave in certain ways – it may or may not make you worse?

Personas also help you describe to others in your organization what a better experience should look like. Often we think there is just this “customer” monolith, but every customer is different. The more we understand their interests and motivations, the better off we will be.

Related article: Is it time to rethink your customer personas?

Building a customer-obsessed culture

Now let’s talk about the last piece of the puzzle: driving cultural change. It’s easy to say we’re customer obsessed, but incorporating the right strategies and mechanisms to consistently reinforce and reinforce that customer focus is a whole different story.

At the heart of a customer-obsessed culture is building deep and lasting relationships with our customers so that we create enthusiastic fans who believe in and champion our business. But how do we do this?

  • Commit to it. It’s easy to say that we make decisions with the customer in mind, but do our budgets and staffing decisions reflect that? Are you investing in technology to help you become more customer-centric? Does your leadership team model customer-centric behavior? Do you reward customer-focused employees for their dedication? Without leadership from above, no initiative is likely to succeed.
  • Go from “I” and “me” to “we” and “you”. It’s easy to fall into an us versus them mentality, but if you’re obsessed with the customer, you and the customer are on the same side. Be sure to model this in your language in all of your interactions, from one-on-one conversations to marketing emails. Do you send e-mails and only talk about yourself? Or do you align with the concerns of your customers? Don’t be the bad date that won’t let anyone else say a word. Make sure your customer conversation is just that: a conversation.
  • Stay personal on a large scale. Having data and insights to enrich every touchpoint is invaluable, but what really matters is hiring people who care about customers and will work together to deliver a consistent experience. The right people are key to a customer-obsessed culture because they approach every customer interaction in mind.

A sustained focus on CX transforms the business landscape and everything about work – the systems we use, our customer relationships, technology and more. Realigning and mobilizing your business around CX is no small feat, especially if everything seems to be working well enough. But if you do it right, investing in customer engagement will pay off in the long run.

Melissa Henley is Senior Director of Customer Experience at Wrench stroke, the world leader in product design rendering software. Customers are at the heart of everything Melissa does, and her passion is connecting people to content that can have a real positive impact on their lives.


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