by Larry Mead, Kate Kompelien and Kurt Schroeder
While you may have already broken your personal New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or exercise more, it’s not too late to establish customer experience resolutions for your company. Here are 5 CX New Year’s Resolutions that every company should adopt:
Resolve to Become a Customer of Your Own Company
It may seem incredible, but many employees – and even executives – aren’t customers of their own companies. Remember the TV show Undercover Boss? The premise was that if a top executive spent time working a low-level job in the company, he or she would better understand the employee experience. In the same way, if you become a customer of your own company, you better understand the customer experience. Too often, companies design experiences based on what they think customers want, or even what they themselves want. That’s because they don’t really know what it feels like to be a customer.
When I started a job at one Fortune 300 company, I was surprised to learn that some of the top executives had a “VIP” flag on their accounts, so when they called in to Customer Service they were automatically routed to a supervisor. I was offered this flag and I immediately declined it. I wanted to know how everyday customers experienced the call center, and the “VIP” treatment didn’t show me that.
If it’s not possible for you to become a customer of your own company, then you should get as close as you can to an existing customer and have them regularly share with you what it’s like to do business with your company.
Resolve to Fix Customer Pain Points
A customer experience strategy should begin with fixing known customer pain points, because these seemingly small annoyances add up and can cause major frustration. Often these pain points are numerous but not particularly complicated to fix. A challenge in larger companies is being able to prioritize fixing these pain points vs. focusing on the next big technology enhancement. A solution that worked for me at one job was combining dozens of pain points into a single IT project. I ended up getting a dedicated programmer to fix dozens of small but recurring problems on the website in just a few weeks. Customer satisfaction scores steadily rose after that project.
Resolve to Listen and Respond to ALL of Your Customers
Today’s customers want to have a relationship with companies that get their hard-earned money. But a relationship must go both ways, so be sure to listen to your customers in every channel – telephone, email, chat, social media, messaging apps, ratings and review sites, etc. – and then respond to them. Customers want to feel that they are being heard, even if you can’t resolve their issue or satisfy their request every single time.
Respond to everyone, including those who are complimenting the brand and those who are complaining. Both are taking time out of their day to communicate with you because they care about your company and want the company to care about them. Remember that most dissatisfied customers just leave for the competition without saying anything; thus, a complaint is actually an opportunity to save a customer and keep them loyal.
Resolve to “Make the Required Remarkable” in Your Business
On the Experience This! Show podcast, we have a segment called “Required Remarkable” in which we discuss required parts of your business – such as registration forms, contracts, legal disclosures, logins and passwords, etc. – and how you can make those experiences remarkable. It seems counterintuitive, but required aspects of your business don’t need to be boring. Asian video streaming company iflix has a disclosure at the end of every corporate email, as many companies do. But unlike every other company, their disclosure starts with the words (in all caps): “COVERING OUR BUTTS”. Obviously, that gets the reader’s attention, and what happens next is truly remarkable: People actually read the legal disclosure! The rest of it is humorous as well, but it’s clear that all of the legalities have been covered even though the language is clever and memorable.
The best part about making the required remarkable in your business is that it usually doesn’t cost anything to make this change – just time and a little creativity.
Resolve to Make CX a Competitive Advantage
This resolution may extend beyond 2020, but it’s critical to establishing the right culture in your business to put the customer at the center of everything you do. After all, without customers, we don’t have a business.
Competing on price is a loser’s game – just ask the gas station that’s right across the street from a competitor. They can try tricks like displaying a gas price that customers only get if they also purchase a car wash, but in the end if they compete on cost per gallon, they won’t be in business long. It’s also getting harder and harder to compete on product – just look to the ridesharing or meal delivery industries where one company started it all and then multiple competitors emerged with similar offerings. What’s left to compete on, then, is customer experience. And the good news is that your customer experience is delivered by your human employees, making it unique by definition. The trick is to make it more than unique – make it better.