Want to improve customer experience? Who remembers the good old days before the internet changed the entire face of marketing and sales? And what made entrepreneurs and business successful in those days?
It’s simple. Businesses never questioned the issue of service. Without great customer service, their businesses did not survive. Improve customer experience and watch personal referrals, loyal customers and business grow.
We have all received a referral before and it was the cheapest and easiest sale we ever made. The referral came about because someone told a friend or family member that our brand can be trusted. Delivering excellent customer experience is a guaranteed way to natural, organic business growth.
We need to start turning the clock back and learn from our grandparents. If we improve customer experience, we can grow our businesses without having to pay for Pay Per Click, new leads, loyalty programmes and all manner of modern marketing initiatives. Putting your customer at the centre of all your business decisions is quite simply the most profitable way to grow your business.
Ferret Tip 1: Find out the bad stuff as well as the good stuff
Whilst it’s much more pleasant reading compliments about your company, it’s the complaints and suggestions that provide insight into how you can grow your business. Anyone wanting to be a great Feedback Ferret listens to negative comments, finds out why they have been made and takes action to put matters right.
Bill Gates famously said:
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”.
And with the success of Microsoft, he can’t be too wrong, can he?
Ferret Tip 2: Put your customers above all else
Improve customer experience as a matter of course, not in reaction to something that has happened. “Voice of Customer” is a trendy topic right now but businesses that have always put customers at the top of the list have reaped the rewards for years. A customer centric culture must be genuinely embedded throughout the whole organisation, not a whim of an idea within one department. Ask yourself how you behave in meetings. Stop saying “I think we should do this” or “we need to be doing this.” Start saying “what do our customers think?” and “what are they saying?”
Ferret Tip 3: Hire the right employees and invest in them
Your front-line staff will make or break your brand. Happy employees produce happy customers. Caring is central to delivering exceptional customer experience. Invest in the right staff from the outset and your business will become customer centric.
Ensure your employees are given proper training, proper responsibilities, proper incentives and rewards, and proper recognition. Make them feel valued as an important part of delivering a great customer experience.
Ferret Tip 4: Scrutinize your service
Whether you are a business owner or a Customer Experience Manager, find out what is happening on your shop floor. Listen to customer service calls. Walk around the shop floor. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. And if you see or hear something you don’t like, consider it an opportunity to improve customer experience!
And while you’re out there, get to know your staff – speak to them, encourage them, motivate them and watch their morale soar. After all, we’ve just heard how happy employees produce happy customers!
Ferret Tip 5: Never say “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Just saying those words limits the introduction of new and fresh idea. If you want to improve your customer experience, you need to think outside the box, innovate and update your processes.
Ferret Tip 6: What’s the ROI of Customer Experience?
Someone will always ask. But if a business owner needs to ask that question, point him in the direction of Virgin, Amazon, Zappos. Do they calculate the return? No, they understand its value. Loyal customers, repeat business, personal referrals, positive reviews, better morale amongst employees etc. Invest in giving the best customer experience and we will bet you can watch your business grow. Remember, an investment in the customer is an investment in growth.
Ferret Tip 7: Make it quick and easy for your customers to give feedback
Research has shown that ill-timed, long, tedious, tick-box surveys can damage your brand. So start collating customer feedback the Ferret way!
Our experience has shown that simple, one minute, surveys generate high response rates and in-depth feedback. Feedback forms, which focus on one rating score followed by open-ended commentary, allow customers to put their thoughts in their own words, capturing insights that other methods miss.
And strike while the iron is hot – ask for feedback as soon after their interaction as possible. And make it convenient for customers to complete – any time, any channel.
Above all, make giving feedback a positive brand experience for the customer.
Ferret Tip 8: Getting customer feedback is an investment, not a cost
Collecting customer feedback is the first step. But if you don’t do anything with it, you may as well save yourself the money.
When done well, customer feedback gives you rich insight into what you are doing well and what you need to do to improve customer experience and make customers come back time and again.
Let customer feedback drive business decisions. Collect it, analyse it, discuss it, act upon it. And reap the rewards it gives you.
Ferret Tip 9: Understand that customer satisfaction is NOT the same as customer experience
Here is the difference:
I go to a restaurant, enjoy a nice meal with a cold bottle of wine and the waitress is cordial and friendly. I am happy.
The next week I go to a different restaurant where I also enjoy a nice meal and a cold bottle of wine. In addition, the restaurant manager brings over colouring books for my two children to keep them amused and after overhearing us mentioning my wife’s birthday, they brought out her desert with a candle in it and 3 members of staff sang Happy Birthday to her. I am thrilled. The staff turned an ordinary customer experience into a knockout customer experience, simply by caring and going above and beyond my expectations.
And which restaurant do you think I will talk about with my friends and family?
Ferret Tip 10: Use a rating to measure performance – but not exclusively!
Metrics are a must have for businesses of all sizes to establish how good your overall customer experience is and to measure increases or decreases over time. Feedback Ferret asks customers to rate their experience on a scale of 0 to 10. Detractors will rate their experience 0-6, passives will rate it 7-8 and promoters will rate it 9-10. The Ferret then asks “Why did you give that rating?” This is where you obtain insight into what makes customers happy or unhappy. The Ferret asks for verbatim comments and allows customers to say – in their own words – what they liked or did not like about their experience.
What we need to say here is that one should not be used without the other. When you balance the ratings score with verbatim comments, you find out WHAT customers think and WHY. Without the WHY, what can you base your operational and structural business decisions on?
Here at Feedback Ferret, we say the ratings score provides the compass points. But it’s the comments that provide the map to get to the points.
Ferret Tip 11: Embrace social media in conjunction with traditional feedback channels
Engage in conversations with your customers not only via traditional feedback channels but also on social media. Social media is here to stay. Be visible. Make it fun. And remember, for some of your customers, social media is quite simply their preferred communication tool. If you ignore them, it’s tantamount to hanging up on the phone or deleting their email without reading it.
Ferret Tip 12: Invest for the long term
Sometimes, the ROI on a customer experience strategy is only visible in the medium to longer term. But when it comes to strategic growth, investing in your customer is the most assured way of generating long term growth. Getting your customer experience right may, in the short term, negatively impact your bottom line.
And always remember, when the customer comes first, the customer will last. Treat him right and he will keep coming back for more. Improve customer experience and your business will keep growing.