In today’s choice rich, time poor, fast paced digital era we are on stage 24/7/365, and we do not get a second chance at the first impression. As entrepreneurs or business leaders, you realize the need to raise your game. To achieve this, you need to know the challenges and the opportunities associated with the changing customer needs, revisit your business models and think differently to run the existing business successfully or compete against the disruptors.
For example, even if the “six sigma” process claims an accuracy of 99.99 percent, you will still generate more than 10,000 problem for every billion transactions or processes, in an increasingly complicated business environment. Moreover, this system lapse could be across any touchpoints or channels via which our customer interacts with us.
The main purpose of your business is not revenue. Your primary objective is to attract new clients and retain existing customers because this is what leads to revenue and eventually growth. So the question is – Does this system glitch impact your relationship with potential and existing customers?
If the answer is YES, then as business leaders, you need to change your fixed myopic mindset to a growth and designer mindset.
From – Our business hires employees who serve the customers who buy our products and services
To – Our employees create innovative products and services; attract, engage and build relationships with our customers, who tend to do repeat business with our company.
You no longer can afford to be a product centric company and treat customers the way you would like to be treated. But, become a customer-centric company and treat customers how they would like to be treated.
As leaders, it is your job to ensure our customers are served better by you than your competitors. The size or line of the business you are in doesn’t matter. The challenge is to rise above your competition with a culture based on your customers’ needs.
How? By focusing on applying the three golden rules of customer experience in your business strategy.
Rule #1 – Foster Relationships. Serve first! Sell second! Create an experience for our customer! Attend to our employees first so they, in turn, can serve our customer!
As shopping habits have evolved, customers no longer want to be sold to. They want you to pay attention to what’s bothering them, what trade-offs they had rather not have to be making and be helped. They need to feel that they are not being pushed, and as a brand, you have their best interest in your mind, and they can trust you.
You usually know what your customers buy, when and where they purchase. But, do you to truly understand why they and buy and more importantly, why they choose to have a relationship with you?
The value of this relationships isn’t based on the amount of money they spend on your brand. It’s not even based on the number of interactions you have with them. The value of relationships is based on something much deeper.
As your employees interact with customers day-in-day-out, they strengthen this relationship by starting to collection information on client preferences, ask for feedback and act on it, delight by personalizing communication and show appreciation. Make every interaction count, as it takes only one negative experience to alienate a client and send them running to a competitor.
So employees as your brand ambassadors and play a critical role to ensure that at every moment of truth, the customer experience (CX) is not compromised, as these interactions with the customer can make or break this relationship.
So, yo need to assess your own organization’s capabilities and resources and ask yourselves “What kind of employee experience are they having?” because an unhappy employee will not give a good customer experience. Providing an exceptional CX requires an understanding that we are in the relationship business and demands an outlook of people being the bottom line.
Rule #2 – Reward your employee for innovation, and your customer for initiative!
Even creative geniuses need the environment and encouragement to dream up disruptive products or services for your company. To incentivise and motivate them, you need an evaluation program that can pinpoint efforts and rewards the individual or the team for the innovation results. You need to have a communication plan that outlines the expectations so that employees are aware how the recognition program works.
You also need to check that the program is meeting our short – and long – term goals and do necessary course corrections:
- How do innovators identify pain points in a customer’s journey?
- How do you define what constitutes a pain point and what doesn’t?
- Are more innovative ideas to address customer pain points submitted?
- What criteria do you use to assess your ideas?
- Are employees getting over the fear of failure and stretch their thought process?
- Can the think tanks anticipate and manage issues before it becomes a big problem?
- What are the new learnings based on these not so successful innovation efforts?
- Will the innovation concept will work in the real world?
- Has our market share on breakthrough’s or innovation increased?
- Have deadlines and budgets stayed on track?
By taking a sensible approach to compensation, rewards, and recognition, you can, not just retain top talent, but also demonstrate that the focus on innovation will be recognized.
Rewarding customers is not just a loyalty program, referral bonus, a partner program to provide all-inclusive offers. It is about rewarding them for taking the time and initiative to provide us feedback.
Often when the customer provides the feedback, experience tells us it is negative and associated with their negative emotions, and you tend to recoil from the barbs of criticism. However, it’s time to toughen up. You need to view it as another critical data point to assimilate, to analyze, to allow you to make better decisions.
It’s about self-awareness and acknowledging that ‘Even when it’s my prime time, and I am on my best game, there’s always something I could have missed out and done to be better to meet customer needs, and rewarding the customer who makes me face the fact and act upon it.’
Rule #3 – The job of all jobs in your company is to attract new customers and to retain the old ones!
If you step back, many of your processes are inside-out and designed to benefit the company. How often and how many times would this have happened to your customers:
They are on the phone for the umpteenth time with customer service, and are awaiting a resolution? The representative feels he/she cannot solve their problem; and reaches out to other departments awaiting the answers or in the worst case scenario pass the buck by transferring the customer call to another executive, which is frustrating for the customer as the process starts all over again.
The question is – If you want your clients to do a business transaction with your brand, and you trying to tell them we cannot solve their problem? What does the missed opportunity cost you? What can you do to empower and engage your employees in addressing the customer concerns promptly and appropriately?
In the experience economy, everybody is a salesperson; everybody is a client. By personalizing the experience, you can encourage the relationships to evolve beyond the ongoing support from customer service and sales organization to all vital functional areas. For me, this includes research, engineering, marketing, account management, talent management, operations, finance, and service implementation. These high-performing cross-functional teams need to align with every client for the life of the customer engagement.
As your customers have more options than ever before, and more than one way to instantly express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction, now is the time to flag trouble-spots or opportunities and decide what your employee and customer experience says about your company. Will your customers feel like privileged guests, or will they feel like they are being sold to? Are you an employer of choice in your industry? Do your employees love to work for your company?
Reflect on these three golden rules as you work toward delivering a customer experience that is not only “good enough and meets expectations” but goes beyond expectations. The term “good” is in the mind of the customer, and to comprehend it requires lots of insight, by observing existing CX successes and failures across projects or touchpoints along the client’s journey. The criteria are to ensure the CX initiatives are scalable upwards to fit entire brands, or downwards to the level of a single interaction or experience.
Look forward to your views.
Article was first posted in Marketers Touchpoint Blog