To keep customers happy, you need to listen to them and give them what they want
This is obvious. However, giving them what they want can be trickier than you might think. Customer characteristics can vary enormously; this means you need to ensure that you’re listening to the right customers. Also, make sure you give them the chance to answer the questions they would like to ask in addition to the questions you’ve set out.
- Take a holistic approach to understand their customer experience. Many businesses operate with departmental ‘silos’. The hand off between departments can often be a source of dissatisfaction for a customer owing to inconsistent messages, information not being shared between departments and so forth. This is why linking customer experience to process performance is important.
- Identify what’s causing dissatisfaction and fix it. Back to our Broadband Repair engineer. Imagine that engineers turning up late is a significant source of dissatisfaction. The Telecoms provider investigates the reasons for late arrivals and tightens existing processes. But it’s still an issue. Management concludes that it’s impossible to eliminate the problem completely because of factors outside of their control, such as traffic delays. So, what do they do? They introduce a “ring-ahead” procedure ensuring that customers are informed of a delay and are given the option to reschedule their appointment.
- Satisfaction levels are continuously monitored so that the effect of process changes like this can be measured over time. This removes the guess work and provides a solid basis for making informed business decisions.
- Improvements are incremental and ongoing. Customer experience moves from being a project or a short-term initiative; it’s now a vital part of the business process, being used to fine tune operations to meet customer need. It has become a key weapon in the fight for competitive advantage.
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