How to Make Every Customer Experience a Positive One

customer Jun 10, 2018
Hands up if you tend to develop products and services based on what you think people want rather than what you know they do?

If your hand is up, you need to read on….  When was the last time that you actually asked your customers what they want? Be honest with yourself here. Do you really understand them, their motivations, their needs?

We have all been guilty of making assumptions about what we think people are looking for, something that can translate into products and services that we then struggle to sell.

Often this can be someone internally within a company who has a ‘Big Idea’, who thinks “I’ve got this, it will solve this problem”, but they haven’t actually done any research or held any focus groups to find out if ‘the problem’ is even something that people care about.

Or people like to build in lots of bells and whistles to their products and services, because they think that’s what is needed. Instead what the customer is looking for is the core product with perhaps a couple of extras, but more importantly, they are seeking a great buying experience and customer service that allows them to access help when they need it via the channel that is most convenient to them. What they value is different to that of the business selling the product. 

It's good to talk...

A customer journey is the experience that someone has when interacting with your company and brand, from start to finish. It’s about the way in which they travel through your business from the first time they see a piece of marketing to the end or renewal of the relationship. If your business falls down in one area of this then it can negatively impact on the entire experience, and therefore the relationship, they enjoy (or not) with you.

If you are removed from your customers, you may be missing vital information about their journey. The impact of this on a business can vary from increased costs through to lost business and market share. None of which are ideal.

An effective way to resolve this challenge is to turn it on its head and actually speak to your customers, the aim being to understand them, what they desire and how they want to be approached. It sounds like common sense and it is.

Even customers with the same problems will have different preferences, but this will only become clear if you take the time and effort to ask them the right questions and to listen to the answers.

A good place to start is a survey of the existing customer base and how they feel about their interactions with the business, be that good, bad or indifferent. One-to-one interviews comprising 15 minutes on the phone might also be arranged for key customers. All the research should be conducted in a light-touch way in a way that is convenient and comfortable for them.

How to get from where you are to where you want to be...

Once you’ve got the data, you can then look at the difference between what the customer wants and what they are getting. This is where it starts to get interesting. For example, you may find that a service that consists of five different elements may only need to contain two of those elements. Removing the other three will both save you money and provide a better value service to the customer. Win-win all round.

Let’s take a local council as an example. Most councils know that local residents get frustrated at having to tell their story repeatedly as they interact with different services. They would much rather only have to tell it once. They also want access to people who can help them beyond the typical 9 til 5 and via different channels. But how many councils actually provide this? Having a self-service option, giving local people a menu of choices, and joining up different services would reduce bureaucracy, save vital funds, and help people feel like they are in control of their own lives.

How do you know whether or not this new approach has worked for you? This is where effective monitoring and evaluation comes in. Trends you are likely to experience include reduced costs, improved sales conversion rates and higher customer experience scores.

If you would like to know more about how Oakwood can help you improve the customer journey to drive sales and improve loyalty, why not drop us a line? No pressure, no hard sell, just a friendly chat to identify some potential solutions to your challenge.

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