Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
My leadership team recently attended a mobile development conference overseas. Upon their return, they shared with me many insights from the speakers there, which all seemed to touch on the criticality of the customer experience to a successful business. This got me thinking about my personal experiences as a customer, and also as a provider of customer experiences.
I can definitely recall my bad experiences out weighing the good by a long shot. It isn’t just the value in a product; it’s every role being played in the entire customer journey. When I run into a problem that I am unable to solve myself, I am usually forced to make a phone call. This typically drives me through a tree of channels before I can talk to a real live person. And 9 out of 10 times, the person is a) not very pleasant, b) has no idea how to help me, again putting me on hold for the umpteenth time, and c) comes up with some excuse as to why I can’t talk to their supervisor. At this point, what do I do? I hang up, and decide it’s time to switch to a new provider.
Customer experience isn’t just important in the mobile app development industry, it’s important in every business out there. When I go to a restaurant, the food can be outstanding; all the same, the service was atrocious. What is my final thought? I won’t be going back.
Customers are keen and have the virtue to choose between competing companies. With that being said, customer experience is the most crucial component of a service and product. The goal here isn’t just to focus on individual interactions with your customers, but rather the bigger picture – the entire customer journey. When you alter your mentality from spotlighting on individual interactions to the experience of the customer’s end-to-end journey, you will note one main thing – consistency.
A good customer experience doesn’t stop after a successful and well-educated on-boarding process. It carries throughout the entire relationship of their journey, from start to finish. You have the opportunity to deliver a crystal clear understanding on the possible ways you can provide your customers the least amount of effort for them to grow and adapt with you. At this point, you want to encourage them to explore and question the unknown.
With all that said, I think there are a few main points to focus in on for a ‘Top Notch Customer Experience’:
1 – Make sure you clearly define what you bring to the table
Your website might be pretty and have fancy pictures, but does it really relay what you offer? Do you tell the right stories in that initial engagement with a potential customer to make sure they can relate to how you can solve their problem? If not, you have some work to do. A picture can tell a thousand words only if it’s the right picture.
If your product isn’t applicable to your target audience, or it goes against what they envision or feel, it won’t succeed. Your delivery message should be relevant to your customers’ insights. It should tell them what they get, not how the product or service works, or how it is different from your competitors. Once you grab their attention, tell them about it. Don’t tell them about how you will provide the product or services, but what benefits they gain. Pitch information that will stimulate their curiosity. They will become self-assured of your effectiveness and want to know more about your product or services. Once your customers are confident, articulate how you will excel at implementing their needs. Identify the fine points of what they want or expect, and express that your product or services are adequate in delivering ‘top-notch’ satisfaction.
2 – Set yourself away from your competitors by focusing on how customers feel
In a world where innovation is prominent throughout many industries, customer experience is one of the greatest differentiating factors today. So why is it so important to touch point on how your customers feel about their experiences, and what happens when they feel their experience was bad?
Well, that’s pretty straightforward – they walk away. And it only takes ONE bad experience. And, why not? Your replacement is just a click away, in the convenience of your customer’s pockets – their smartphones.
Speaking of smartphones, let’s dive into the even scarier part. The impact of unfavorable word-of-mouth, most often displayed on social media. When I research a business, there tends to be more bad reviews then good. Praise is fleeting. People want to vent! And… they will. Pay attention to what your customers are writing about you, even comment back to them. Listening is a powerful thing.
Losing a customer can take a greater toll on your company than you might think. Not only is it expensive, once you’ve been replaced, the price of earning a new customer is much greater than the price of keeping an existing one. The power of negative feedback throughout social influence isn’t a pretty picture.
3 – Find where the gaps are and plug them
Like I said before, shift your mindset to the customer’s perspective. Look through a customer experience lens. Solving the problem is apparent, even if it isn’t always a piece of cake to conquer. Think about what your customers need in order to have a smooth sail in achieving their goals, whether this is a product purchase or after-sale service. You can find where the problems transpire, and understand how to fix them.
Here is the nitty-gritty; it’s awfully easy and very costly to lose customers due to crap service. So make the time to figure out where problems are occurring and why. Plug the gaps. Time spent on this won’t compare to the cost of continued loss of your customers. And you have to do this review OFTEN. You can’t do it once a year or even once every 6 months, it has to be constant so you can continuously evolve ‘with’ your customers. Doing this will leave a remarkable impression and you may be the establishment customers turn to when they have a bad experience elsewhere.
In the end, if you convey a worthy operation and the interaction between you and your customer is pleasant and unique, you leave your customer highly satisfied. Your customers come back for more as you exceed expectations that don’t necessarily have to do with your product or service. This embarks you on the journey of a long-lasting and meaningful relationship with your customers.