Create a winning customer service and experience program
A customer service experience program includes such things as customer’s attraction, engagement, awareness, discovery, nurturing, advocacy, purchase and use. These are the things which will be winning customer admiration. It can extend to the end of their useful life and the next purchase. Appreciation can be measured by the individual’s experience at all points of contact against expectations. Analysing will help you to recognise the importance of managing a customer experience program and your competitive advantages.
The top growth driver today is innovation. In the global marketplace, to be competitive businesses need to be driving more creativity and innovation into their products and the associated customer service levels and experiences. You need to innovate rapidly, and you need to do it cost-effectively. As you become more focused on profitable growth, expect technology to be the primary enabler of many of your innovations.
What is your current reality? The reality is often hard for many people to accept. Close your eyes and imagine yourself building a better future, what do you see yourself doing and when would you like to do it.
When you look at your current reality, do you feel there is something missing which could improve your customer service? Are you are always waiting for something to arrive? If this is the case, then a reality check is needed.
Formalise your winning customer program
A program formalises the level of customer experience you aim to provide. It should include the practical things you will do to achieve the desired outcomes. Establishing a successful program requires commitment from yourself, your staff and any contractors and suppliers in your value chain. You need to plan it, develop it, implement it and sustain it. It also involves tracking, training and feedback.
The customer experience as you think of it internally doesn’t exist. It is your experience, not the customer experience. Customers do not care about your business plan, organisation chart or your holiday schedule. In their eyes, there are no company divisions, no chain of command, no such thing as a subcontractor. Everything customers see they see from their perspective.
Steps to creating a winning customer program
Once you have identified your customer journeys, examine each one in detail to understand the causes of current performance. It may involve additional research, including customer and employee focus groups.
Call monitoring can allow you to map the most significant permutations of each journey. It helps to reveal the sequence of steps the customers are likely to take from start to finish. The mapping exercise also exposes departures from the ideal customer experience and their causes.
Often this reveals policy choices or company processes which unintentionally generate adverse results. Think deeply about what your customer’s problems, frustrations, wants and needs.
Plan how you will meet their requirements. Know what your customers consider to be excellent customer service, taking the time to find out their expectations. Document the program’s objectives, content details, and how you will deliver it.
Follow up quickly positive and negative feedback
Ensure you consider customer service across all aspects of your business. Continuously look for ways to improve the levels of service and customer experiences across all the business functions.
Deliver training to your staff, including training and encouragement for utilising any new systems and processes. Implement the program, making sure all team members are confident with making it work. Sustain the program by reviewing changing customer requirements based on feedback.
If your program is working well, it will keep your customers happy. In turn, this will mean higher profits for you. It is advisable to streamline, hide, or eliminate unnecessary transactional parts of the customer interaction. If you ever want to delight your customers and win their admiration, don’t skimp on the critical elements. Unimportant parts not only don’t add to the customer experience, but they can also take away from it, and you start to appear as just another flogger of a product.
Winning customer admiration through employees
Your people need to work together to put the needs of the customer first, because of their collective experience. Successful employees treat customers as individuals and listen to their comments, complaints and requests. It all adds up to creating a widely admired customer service level which will be readily passed on by customers.
Customers and others always enjoy working with a team focused on winning customer outcomes that matter.
Importantly, your staff should always thank customers to ensure they feel valued, and needed by your business. Your team are the first point of contact for your customers, so it is essential to:
- Having the right attitude to providing customer service and experiences
- Changing your culture and processes to achieve customer-centric behaviour
- Achieving seamless integration to have a holistic view of the customer
- Maximising the customer feedback
- Ensuring staff are trained to deliver customer services
- Enjoying their work and advocate your business
- Contributing to improvements in the programs
- Embracing digital to help improve the customer service and experience.
Once you have identified your priorities and gained an understanding of the problems and frustrations within them, it is time to act. You must avoid the temptation to helicopter in and dictate remedies.
Even if a fix appears evident from the outside, the causes of poor customer experience always stem from the inside. Often cross-functional disconnects are only solved by getting cross-functional teams together to see the issues for themselves. When the team designs solutions and improvements, so you can expect to make changes which will stick?
Winning customers admiration using efficient systems and processes
It is your systems and processes which either help improve customer services or take away from them. Addressing the way your customers buy from you is significant. If the buying experience is frustrating or difficult a customer may not even complete their first purchase, let alone return. Here are some tips to refocus and revitalise your systems and processes:
- Record customer experience standards and relate them back to your business objectives
- Record customer details and aspirations in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database
- Have the right information in the right place at the right time, every time
- The customer service and experience program should be an essential part of your Business Model
- Install the best point-of-sale system you can afford to minimise customer frustrations
- Reward customers with a customer loyalty program
- Establish a customer complaint policy and procedure which will enhance the overall experience
- Recognise and reward the staff behaviour which customers like, and you want them to repeat
- Include a staff training program on any new technology, systems and processes
- Ask your staff to show you what they already do to provide excellent customer service levels and experiences so they can further enhance them
- Encourage ideas, suggestions and observations from your team. Establish an anonymous suggestion box if staff are uncomfortable sharing ideas
- Use appropriate metrics to improve efficiency
- Monitor and review customer service levels and experience performance regularly. Seek feedback from customers, staff and other stakeholders.
Deciding where to begin the transformation to winning customers requires top-down, judgment-driven evaluations as well bottom-up, data-driven analysis coming together.
You have progressed to an age where it is all about the customer. The digitalisation of everything has changed the customer service experience management across the world. Each organisation now needs to assess how this will impact their processes, services and products while winning customer admiration.
“When people talk about successful retailers and those that are not so successful, the customer determines at the end of the day who is successful and for what reason”. Jerry Harvey
“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them”. Kevin Stirtz