What does customer experience mean?
Forrester (Nasdaq: FORR) is one of the most influential research and advisory firms in the world who define customer experience as “How customers perceive their interactions with your company.”
The key word here is “interaction” and it encompasses any occasion when you have a two-way exchange with your customers including:
- When visiting and navigating around your website
- When making a call into your offices
- When visiting your retail location,
- When talking to one of your employees
- When buying your product
- When they are using your products or services
- When responding to your emails/letters.
This is not an exhaustive list, but throughout all these kinds of activities your customer is having a “customer experience “and is making a judgement about whether or not you meet their needs and are you enjoyable to do business with. They do this throughout the whole lifetime of the customer being with you.
When considering how you might improve your customers experience with your organisation, keep these all-important aspects of the ideal customer experience in mind:
1: First impressions count
The initial customer touch point can occur through several different formats such as website, social media, email, telephone call, personal appointment, networking and may include referral. Look at your customer contact points and analyse how you deliver on those experiences.
2: Go the extra mile
A mile might seem a long way but it is often a combination of all those little actions that make a difference. When all your employees give some consideration to their role in the customer journey and how they might be able to go the extra mile for their customer it makes a huge difference.
3: Be straightforward
By mapping out the total customer experience across all touchpoints between the customer and the organisation allows you to delve into the experiences that you want to provide to the customer – put your customers hat on and consider what the customer would like to receive. Looking at the gaps between the desired customer experience and the one received – the “moments of truth”, will show where the actions for improvement need to be focused.
A key point here is transparency in everything you do. If you are not transparent your customers will firstly find you out and then you have lost their trust. No one likes to feel there’s a hidden agenda or the product /service doesn’t exactly do what it says on the tin. When you can’t always deliver what you say you will, make sure your response times are quick and effective.
Think about all the ways you communicate with your customers such as online support, live chat, personal interactions etc and invest some effort into training staff in communication skills. There is no mathematical formula to get customer experience right but how your employees interact with your customers is a vital component of the bigger picture.
6: Listen and act on feedback
Gaining an understanding from the customers viewpoint (whichever way you gather this) will give you a lot of valuable information about how your organisation is perceived. Always acting upon customer feedback and making the necessary adjustments will give you the confidence you are doing your best to ensure you give your customers that great customer experience.
Have you given your customers “customer experiences” a thought this week?