Creating a truly elite customer experience requires renewed motivation, innovation, and creativity from every stakeholder in the organization. Today’s customer expects new and improved service at a rapid rate. “Good enough” is no longer good enough. You need to communicate a clear advantage through product or service differentiation to your customer that separates you from the litany of competitive offerings available at the touch of a mouse button in today’s online marketplace.
In order to create an organization wide approach to an elite customer experience, executive management is going to first need to instill a corporate culture of customer-focused policies and procedures. This will drive employees to develop new products, increase efficiencies, and improve their own skill set. These policies and procedures will provide the very foundation of your organization’s reputation as a provider of an elite customer experience and should gain the support of stakeholders if properly executed. The following are five ways to support this dedication.
1. REALLY Get to Know Your Customer
Don’t just pay lip service to the idea of getting to know your customer, really do it! Get to know, not only, what they expect and want, but also anticipate these things before they even know it. Today’s technology creates innovation for things that customers didn’t even know they wanted yet. At one time e-readers like Kindles, Nooks, and iPads were looked at as unnecessary luxury items. Most consumers initially saw them as too expensive, but after the products were introduced, customers realized the sheer awesome convenience factor and now have them virtually tethered to their wrists. This was a great example of “anticipating” what customers want, even though they might not have known it yet. By getting to know everything you can about your customer, you will be able to anticipate their wants and needs to a similar level, which will truly enhance your brand image as an elite customer experience provider.
2. Check Yourself
Lead by example. It’s important to look inward and determine if your decision making actually has customer experience at the forefront and not your own self-interest or a quick fix clouding your orders. If your employees start suspecting you of not practicing what you preach with customer experience, then the whole system will fail. Make sure your own motives keep the customer first and any quick fixes, bad habits, or self-motivation gets tossed aside or thrown out for the long haul.
3. Watch for Emerging Trends
Perform competitive analysis to see what your competition is doing well with customer service, but be careful to not limit your own model to purely what others are doing. Creating a truly elite customer experience requires innovation. Keep an eye out for emerging trends, so that you can put your own spin on them, and create a uniquely current and useful customer experience. It’s also a good idea to look at what other industries are doing because customer experience is cross-functional in a lot of ways. What works for a retail provider may also work for a law firm or real estate office. It may just need your own unique spin on a certain approach to apply it correctly.
4. Embrace Criticism
Customer feedback can come very quickly today due to online services like Yelp and various social media platforms. Don’t turn a blind eye to this. Contrary to popular belief, ignoring the problem will not make it go away. Pay special attention to complaints, so you know how to rectify the situation. Chances are that if one customer is feeling wronged in any way by your organization, they’re not the only one. Embrace their criticism, so you can enact corrective measures before it’s too late and your brand suffers.
Implementing new policies and procedures to support customer experience is a great idea. However, like anything else these policies and procedures will also need to evolve over time. As your customers’ needs change, you will need to alter your own ideas, processes, and more to address those needs. Every six months or so, reevaluate which policies and procedures are still working and which are not.
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