Growing a customer experience strategy is a key element to growing your company and will be one of the most important managerial responsibilities if you want to scale fast. Delivering a good customer experience is one of the best ways to increase revenue and customer loyalty and is widely acknowledged to be one of the top strategic objectives for companies large and small. Unfortunately (as shown in a recent Bain and Company survey), while 80% of companies may believe that they provide an excellent customer experience, only 8% of their customers agree with them.
There are two places companies often go wrong when planning their customer experience strategy: concentrating too much on separate customer service touchpoints without a clear idea of the customer’s journey from beginning to end, and failing to identify and take proper care of their core customer base.
Follow your customers from end to end
A company might provide good customer service by quickly solving problems, but could the problems have been avoided in the first place?
To assess your customer’s full experience, you need to understand their entire journey across multiple channels over time. Based on this information, adjust the processes within your company to provide a seamless journey for your clients.
Know your different customer types and address their issues
To be truly customer-driven you have to know your customers so well you can anticipate their needs and give them what they want before they even know they want it. Different types of customers will respond to different approaches. Zoom in on your customer and do what it takes to develop a clear idea of who exactly your customers are, what they want, and how to deliver an amazing experience again and again.
Management has the leadership role when it comes to scaling your customer experience strategy. They provide the vision it takes to get every team member on the same page – one of the main obstacles to consistent control over your customer’s experience is the lack of communication between all areas of the company.
Scale up your customer experience strategy with your staff
All staff has useful information, but your frontline customer service team is in a unique position to improve the customer experience. They will be the ones mostly responsible for growing your customer experience strategy on the ground in real time. They are in the best place to create an emotional connection with customers, and research has proven time and again that positive emotion is one of the top drivers of customer loyalty.
When your team is engaged in their work and feels that you value and care for them, it shows through to customers. So how do you do it?
Listen to your staff and act on their feedback
Do what it takes to get honest feedback. That might mean setting up an anonymous feedback system. Give staff a safe space to share their thoughts and feelings about what is and isn’t working.
Once you have their input, act on it. Explain the ‘why’ behind any new policies so your team knows they contributed to the decision-making process.
Give them the support they need to do a good job
Once you’ve figured out the plan to scale your customer experience strategy, clearly communicate your expectations to your team. Set reasonable goals and give them the training they need to meet set goals.
A great way to help them feel engaged with their work is to give them the power to solve problems on their own. For instance, you can give them the power to issue customer refunds without having to call a supervisor. The customer will be happy with the shorter processing time, and your customer service team will feel that you really trust them and have confidence in them.
Reward good behavior
Monetary performance bonuses (such as offering $200 to the person who’s solved the most tickets that day) often cause more problems than they solve, since they can create a competitive atmosphere where there should be cooperation and mutual support among team members.
‘Variable compensation’ which increases pay in accordance with well-mapped out goals and levels of performance, is the best way to give out monetary awards. However, motivation doesn’t have to involve money at all.
Make the effort to recognize when your team has done a great job. For instance, when they’ve successfully resolved a difficult problem or beaten their personal best. Of course, everyone’s different – while one person may like it when their photo is posted on the company billboard, another might respond better to quiet word of encouragement.
Be ready for increased workloads
Of course you’ll do your best to suit your staff to the amount of work that comes in, but when you’re scaling up there will be times when the work just overflows its boundaries. Prioritize the most urgent tasks: everything else can be shelved until then.
And be sure to schedule staff shifts beforehand so you’ll be able to manage the increased workload without your team feeling overburdened.
Organize the workflow
Have different channels for different requests − customer telephone calls, online chats, support tickets, and social media queries all have different levels of priority and can be handled by team members based on their different skill levels and personalities.
Your social media representative needs to be quick-thinking and tech-savvy, with excellent communication skills, while less experienced team members can start off handling emails, which are usually less urgent.
Growing your customer experience strategy requires thoughtful observation and careful planning, but the rewards are great. With the full support of your team, you can lead your company to success in today’s highly-competitive world.