A great customer experience is about a lot more than just the sale. It’s the sum of many parts—from the advertising you see on Instagram, to your experience browsing through a store (online or in real life), as well as the support you receive from a brand’s customer support team.
All that to say that a great customer experience doesn’t just happen by magic. Companies have to think about their customer journey all the way through from the very first time a customer is exposed to a brand, to the care they get once the sale’s been made.
92% of customers will switch to a competitor after 3 poor customer experiences
Gladly 2018 Customer Expectations Report
And being able to make sense of, and leverage, the data your company has—whether it’s about your customers themselves, or their overall experience with your brand—is key to making their experiences exponentially better.
Put Your Ear To The Ground
Every interaction your customer has with you is a potential goldmine of information you can use to make your experience better.
If customers are overwhelmingly reaching out to you over the phone versus your help channel, for example. This might indicate you need to increase your phone capacity, or perhaps improve the quality of your customer centered knowledge base. After all, according to the Harvard Business Review, 81% of customers say they try to find solutions themselves before reaching out to a human agent for help.
Or if a customer mentions that their fiftieth wedding anniversary is coming up, that’s something you might want to note down for the future. Then each year, you can make your loyal customer feel remembered and valued by by sending over an edible fruit basket or their favorite bottle of champagne.
These might seem like small things. But they’re a powerful means of using hard data to continually improve your customer experience.
Get Proactive About Feedback
Developing a comprehensive Voice of the Customer program is a great way for companies to understand how their performing when it comes to customer expectations.
That might mean sending an automated survey to customers at the end of a support experience. Getting immediate feedback via a pop-up while a customer is on your website. Or both.
Being able to track customer happiness and sentiment via customer-centered KPIs such as NPS (Net Promoter Score) or CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Survey), gives you the data you need to see where you’re doing great, and where you might need some improvements to your customer experience.
And besides gathering direct feedback from your own customers, be sure to leverage industry customer expectation reports to help give you an idea of what your yet-to-be customers want when it comes to service.
Make Them Feel Known
In the (paraphrased) words of Dale Carnegie, a person’s name is the sweetest, most important sound to them. And when it comes to your customers, it’s a great way to show them they’re valued by you, and not just an anonymous face in a sea of many.
You can also use customer data to help tailor a customer’s experience to their needs and preferences.
Look into someone’s purchase history to see if they prefer sneakers to wingtips. Or see what their favorite makeup line or brand is. Then use that information to personalize their experience, from targeted marketing and promotions to tailored product recommendations from your agents.
It’s a great way to bring more to your customer’s experience—and stand apart from the competition—by offering a valuable, added service your competitors aren’t providing.
Put The Onus (And Effort) On You
When’s the last time you knew your flight number by heart? Or could rattle off your order number without looking?
Every interaction you have with a customer, you accumulate information about them—their birthday stored in your rewards program, or their last order in your order management systems.
So rather than making your customers repeat information you already have about them, put the onus on yourself to find that information yourselves, so your customers can enjoy an experience that’s easier, faster, and overall…just better.
Uncover Important Trends
Often underestimated as a mere ‘complaint management’ center, your contact center is actually one of your greatest tools to understanding and meeting your customers’ expectations.
It’s here that you can get the unvarnished truth to where your customers encounter issues when it comes to your products or services.
Use the data you find to improve your customer experience by:
Adding to your self-service. If a large number of your customers are reaching out about the same, one-off questions, it might be time to spin up a knowledge base article on it. That way, customers have the option to help themselves, rather than wait for your agents to get back to them. Protip: make answers to those common questions easy to find for your customers by displaying them prominently on your site.
Proactively solving problems. Get ahead of the game (and your customers). If you see a significant number of customers reaching out with the same issue about a product or service (eg. reporting that the fit of their shoe is tighter than usual), you can prevent future customers from facing the same issue by including a quick notice around the tighter fit on your product page. Or reach out to existing customers who bought the shoe—but haven’t reached out—to alert them to the issue and offer a resolution if needed. That way, you buy some goodwill in having reached out yourselves, rather than having a frustrated customer reach out to you.
Adjusting your product or service. Ideally, whatever you’re selling should satisfy a need of your customers. So what better way to make sure you—and your product—stays on track than keeping an eye on what your customers are reaching out about. Are there pain points that keep popping up that warrant a change to an existing product? Or maybe ideas for potential new features, or additions to the product roadmap? Looking at the data across your contact center can be extremely helpful in revealing insights you may not have even thought of.
As customers become increasingly wary about who they provide their data to, and how much to provide, the onus today is on companies to prove the value they stand to receive by entrusting you with their information.