26
Mar

How to Improve the Customer Experience

By Heather Timney

3 Rules for Exceeding Customer Expectations

Here’s a not so secret fact: customer experience leaders outperform competitors and are often rewarded with higher retention levels, greater share of wallet, and lower customer acquisition costs. Bottom line – customer experience leaders are more profitable!

While the good news is we are seeing more companies embrace a customer-first mindset, the bad news is, when it comes to actually improving the customer experience, many companies are simply paying lip service. In order to improve the customer experience, you should take into consideration these three rules:

Rule #1 – Ask customers for feedback.

As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Therefore, how can you improve the customer experience if you are in the dark about what your constituents truly value? Let me take off my “customer experience consultant” hat for a moment. The best way to ask for feedback is with formal methods such as customer satisfaction surveys or client advisory board meetings because it works. With that said, it’s still possible to gather useful insight through informal conversations – just keep in mind that you or your team need to ask the right questions and share the feedback with those in the best position to affect change in order to really capitalize on customer feedback.

Rule #2 – Educate your employees.

I’ll repeat what we’ve said before: every member of the team has an opportunity to contribute to creating a compelling customer experience, or one that fails to deliver on your brand promise. Therefore, it makes sense that for many customers, a great experience begins with positive interactions with your front line employees. Without a doubt, I am advocate of employee empowerment. The key here is training. Employees must know what your company’s customer experience goals are and how to achieve them. An established set of guidelines will certainly help. Employees must also learn not to fear making decisions. They need to know they have the support of management. By giving employees the tools to succeed, they are better positioned to handle and resolve customer issues quickly. This leads to greater customer satisfaction and more profitable engagements.

Rule #3 – Be committed.

If I had to pick the single most important rule to follow, this would be it. Seriously, the only thing more disappointing than not asking customers for feedback is asking for it and not doing anything with information gathered. Now that we got that out of the way, think about going beyond being committed and promise to stay committed. Why? Asking for feedback should not be a one-time endeavor – think of it as an ongoing conversation that will ultimately help you reach your goal of “how to improve the customer experience.”

As customer experience consultants, we partner with companies with a dozen customers to thousands and have witnessed firsthand how continuous assessment and improvement of customer relationships can be hugely beneficial and profitable for organizations. To learn more, contact us today.