Everyone wants to create customers for life, Right? Unfortunately, not EVERYONE is paying enough attention to that very big cog in their business engine. I recently ran across this quote from former CIO and Senior VP of Dell, Jerry Gregoire, “The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.” Isn’t it time to pay attention to your customer experience?
When was the last time you looked at what YOUR customers are experiencing from a lens OTHER than your own? It’s an important question to ask yourself and your team if what you really want is to not only compete in our world today. You know the old saying, “good news travels fast, but bad news travels faster?” It’s never been more true than it is in a world where social media is front and center and consumer tolerance for less than perfect is slim to none.
So, what can YOU do to ensure that your customers are raving fans and stay that way for the long haul? Step ONE – pay ATTENTION to what matters. Step two – follow these five strategies:
- Get out in front of social media. What are people saying about your company? Have you checked Yelp? Twitter? Facebook? Trip advisor (if you’re in the hotel or travel industry)? Are people saying good things or bad? Are you responding to comments? Likes? Forwards? Reviews? Are you reading the information with an open mind and looking for every little way you can improve the experience your customers feel when they interact with your company? Every bit of information is valuable. Remember these wise words from Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
- Mystery shop or blind call your company. There are services everywhere that are experts at analyzing the customer experience of organizations. From sending in mystery shoppers to cold dialing your service department to testing your technical team. This can be illuminating on so many levels. It’s easy to get myopic when it comes to our own team and what we believe to be an amazing experience, and often, your staff is on the money in terms of service and standards. But it never hurts to check in with an outsider’s perspective now and again to see what’s really a true customer experience so you’ll know what to tweak and change.
- Create focus groups. Pull a group of your good customers together and ask them for feedback on what’s working and what’s not. Let them know your goal is to continuously elevate and improve their experience.
- Walk a mile. Ever hear that saying, “walk a mile in someone’s shoes”? When was the last time you purchased from your company? From start to finish? From phone call or web portal all the way to product in hand or service met? It can be quite enlightening.
- Review your communications. Listen to your voice mail lately? Read your signature line? Hear your outgoing company message? Update your website? Take a look at your business cards? Did you put all that together in 1990 and haven’t changed it since? Our “signatures” in all the different communication forms they come in have affect the customer experience. I love Toni Newman’s ideas. She speaks about innovation and shares all the ways these touch points can be innovated to elevate the customer experience. Check her out at toninewman.com.
When you brainstorm ideas to create an innovative, elevated customer experience, that create customers for life, consider these ideas:
Lastly, take away this thought from Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Yes Jeff! He’s got the perfect idea. Make your business a party people want to keep attending friends. They’ll be customers for life when you do. I’d love to hear from you! Share your ideas with us here!
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