By: Don Yäger
“Exceed expectations for every customer, every time”.
Every now and then it’s a good idea to reflect within and ask, “am I or my company doing everything we can to provide excellence in customer experience? What would my customers say?”
From a Huffington Post article, Esteban Kolsky, CEO of ThinkJar, states 67% of customers mention bad experiences as a reason for churn, but only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain – so where are the rest of the unhappy customers? Well, they just leave, taking their hard-earned dollars and your revenue to your competitors!
Customer Experience is the sum total of all a company’s conscious events between a customer and the company (Brand), defined by the customer at each touch-point, each time. A customer’s measurement of satisfaction is an outcome based on many things and, while many companies focus on the right training, incentives, or effective customer experience practices, these elements are only as strong as the company’s foundation, namely its culture. The culture of a company is only as strong as its Values in action – meaning, not just mere words on a poster, but values that guide decisions, form policies, and are reflected in how we treat each other – every day!
I’ve heard it said that the best customer experience is a great product – one that doesn’t need support because it works flawlessly. While that may seem unlikely, think about your favorite Mobile App. How often do you have to contact customer support? Never, right? If the App does not work or has a highly negative experience, it is just deleted. So how do you get your product or service highly sought after and meeting your customer’s needs? By working “outside-in” versus “inside-out,” meaning you ensure your customer is at the center of everything you do. When working with product development, I ask the questions, “Did you prototype this with customers?” and “How is this solving for customer pain or need?” With that, blank stares usually turn into needed action.
Getting close to your customers also means getting close to those that talk to your customers every single day, making sure you “eat your own soup.” Is your customer service team thought of or treated as merely a cost center or overhead, or are they integrated with your product development or service delivery teams? How you treat your employees will trickle down into how your customers are treated by your front-line professionals.
We all want to quickly solve our customers’ issues while treating them with respect. Additionally, we expect our employees to:
- Be courteous and empathetic.
- Anticipate customer needs.
- Show immediate action and solutions, not blame.
- Listen to feedback and validate concerns.
- Thank customers for their service.
- Keep commitments and do what you say you will do.
I could go on, but you get the point. Now, look within. Reflect on this or your specific list of expectations. Do you have the same expectations for how your employees are treated? Is this part of your culture to the point where Values drive your action, decisions, policies, practices, and structure? Do you look within by measuring employee engagement, involving employees, and making changes to ensure your Values and culture are vibrant, strong, and at the center of everything to drive your decisions and actions?
Take some time to look within, honestly assessing and examining your system while also looking for areas of improvement. Take the time to get close to your customers and employees. Are you working “outside-in”? Are your Values and culture alive, vibrant, and guiding? Every step in your customer’s experience matters and is reflective or your Brand – why not start today!