Do you take time to understand a customer’s experience? Successful innovations, require the ability to manage a whole experience, not just a small piece of plastic, or a thousand lines of code. According to research by Strativity, 44% of firm executives don’t believe that their company deserves customer loyalty. Admittedly, there’s more to a customer experience than loyalty, and they may have simply surveyed a couple Debbie Downers, but those are some pretty sobering statistics. The fact is, if you want to have happy customers that come back and buy more of your product, or advertise for you (word of mouth is the most trusted source of ads) I have two quick tips on how to improve your customer’s journey using your product or service.
First: Gather Metrics
One of the difficulties with managing customer experience is gathering statistics and metrics that you can use for a benchmark. Getting metrics about a consumer’s experience requires a great deal of research into what the current customer journey looks like, from when they first heard about the company through the use of the product/service all the way through termination or renewal. This translation from the soft world of experience provides you with invaluable opportunities to analyze the process through re-engineering, finance, and marketing eyes. So gather the troops and turn your next observational study into a quantitative one. Some of the data you may consider gathering are:
- Call volume @ times of day (maybe you’re short staffed)
- Questions/Complaints about the product (your product is too confusing)
- Length of time from interest in the product to purchase (make level of entry and time to entry minimal)
- If you have a product consumers use over time, measure satisfaction over multiple intervals
- How quickly do you resolve complaints?
Bill Gates once said “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Take his advice seriously. You saw how Microsoft rebounded with their horrible Microsoft Vista OS and how they are now trying to catch up with Apple in the retail space. Take a moment to appreciate the free advice your customers are telling you and don’t give them a reason to say it again.
Second: A Single Vision
If you’re working in a large company, you can bet that the customer’s experience has been siloed into different business units. The M-form business solves some of the problems that can occur with specialized units of operation (e.g, finance, accounting, marketing, operations each working separately), but you still need someone to ensure the overarching vision comes together. When coming in to create a new product or transform one that is existing, you need to ensure that you have a firm foundation of values on which all employees are focused. These values should relate to the emotions and take-aways that you want the consumer to feel. Their journey starts with the first ad impression, and so should your vision. Just like my past post about stories, you need to maintain consistency with your messaging. Your consumers can either tell a few people about how great your product was, or tell many people the tear-jerker story of how awful their experience was. Which would you prefer?