EPISODE 18

Does the World Revolve Around Your Customers?

 

Episode details

Really, there’s a LOT that goes into creating winning experiences for your customers. But, at the same time, the principles of creating great customer experiences are pretty universal. You know a great…

Episode details

Really, there’s a LOT that goes into creating winning experiences for your customers. But, at the same time, the principles of creating great customer experiences are pretty universal.

You know a great customer experience when you have one. It’s that “wow” feeling you get when the business you’re dealing with not only gets you, but makes you feel like they’re going out of their way to make sure you’re taken care of.

Brands that are crushing it right now understand customer loyalty. They take an objective look at their CX. And then they adapt, evolve, and implement winning experiences that keep their customers feeling like a million bucks…which they’ll typically reinvest back in the brand.

And the ingredients that go into this magic CX? Sam’s the chef about to walk you through the recipe.

This episode was adapted from the article, “What Makes a Great Customer Experience.”

 

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Customer experience is THE greatest differentiator between businesses in today’s crowded, hyper-competitive market.

If you’re like, Dang, Sam, that’s a strong take right out the gate, you’re not wrong.

But take a look at businesses and brands today and you’ll see it over and over again: the most successful companies out there — the ones that are crushing it on practically every level — are the ones that truly put their customers first. They drive increased revenue, retain customers, and churn out brand evangelists like clockwork.

Having a customer-centric foundation is a guaranteed recipe for business success — a recipe that’s plated best as a snack.

Welcome to Snackable CX, where we break down our best resources into bite-sized guidance on how to stand out and be known for your customer experience. I’m Sam Salerno, here from Mindful, the best in class, total experience solution that aims to add kindness to your tech stack.

Being customer-centric means placing your customer’s needs, wants, perceptions, and expectations at the center of everything your business does — from product development and marketing to delivery and customer service. And according to a recent survey by Bain & Co, 80% of companies out there believe they’re doing a pretty good job at delivering customer-centric experiences.

The problem is, only 8% of customers feel the same way — highlighting what Bain & Co. calls a “delivery gap,” or, the difference between a company’s perception and their customer’s perception of how well a brand actually puts the customer first.

Breaking down delivery gaps takes a bit of legwork, but it’s critical to having a truly customer-centric business. So I have four steps you can take to start shortening the gap.

Step #1: Adopt a customer-centric mindset.

Most businesses have a sales-centric mindset — one that looks at meeting sales quotas, boosting profit, and increasing market share at every opportunity.

Now, I’m definitely not saying that’s a bad thing, because you gotta stay profitable. But a customer-centric mindset takes the focus off “profit-at-any-cost” and places it on the customer.

And when businesses do this well, profits actually increase rather than decrease. Satisfied customers are repeat customers and referral marketers, and another study found that just a 5% increase in customer retention can actually boost a company’s profit by over 25%.

A perfect case study for this happened with Netflix back in 2011. Almost overnight, they lost 800,000 subscribers and their stock price plummeted after they made changes to their subscription model and hiked the price. It got so bad, that they almost got bought out by Blockbuster (ooof…man, they really missed out). Feeling the sting, Netflix shifted gears to a more customer-centric mindset: they reversed price changes, sent out customer surveys to get a better gauge of how they could improve the customer experience, and, after a brutal two years of damage control, came out on top with more subscribers and higher profits.

Shifting from a sales-centric to customer-centric mindset won’t happen overnight, but it starts with taking a hard look at how your business relates to your customers.

Two questions you can ask to get started on the right foot: “How can I better serve and over-deliver for my customers?” and “How will this decision ultimately impact my customers?”

Where the head goes, the body will follow. And while these questions seem a little simplistic, as a business leader, keep these questions front of mind, and you’ll naturally steer your business in a more customer-centric direction.

Step #2: share customer data between departments.

Customer data silos present one of the biggest threats to building a customer-centric foundation.

Every department of your business — from agents in your service department to executives in the C-suite — NEED to have visibility into customer data, like demographics, purchasing behaviors, and business interactions.

It’s common sense: you can’t put customers first when you don’t know who they are or what they actually want. And this goes across departments. With access to customer data, marketing teams can create stronger, targeted material to attract customers and clients. Sales teams can better understand where customers are coming from and how to best handle common sales objections. CX teams can hyper-personalize customer interactions to improve lead generation. And exec teams can make more informed business decisions and shift business priorities.

Here are three ways you can simplify sharing customer data between departments.

First, create a core set of customer personas. Whether you’re an enterprise company or a smaller business, having shareable customer personas lets every department keep an “ideal customer” in mind when making decisions.

Second, unlock your CRM Software. Make sure that every department has access to relevant customer data so they can better anticipate customer needs before they arise.

Third, deploy a Customer Data Platform (or CDP). CDPs are central hubs for all your customer data. They track and collect customer information, and can even trace each visitor as they interact with your business on different channels — giving each of your departments a real-time, single source of truth for customer data and behaviors.

Step #3: give customers control of how they communicate with your business.

Your customers want to engage your business on the channels they’re most comfortable with. For some, that means picking up the phone to speak with an agent. Others might prefer texting or web chat as their channel of choice. Whichever channel they choose, the key is to provide consistent customer service and — just as important — make channel transitions and escalation to voice as seamless as possible.

Quick story here.

While traveling for work last week, I had an issue where my flight confirmation email never showed up in my inbox. What’s worse: I forgot to put my airline ID number in when purchasing the ticket, so the reservation wasn’t connected to my profile. As I went through every possible online self-serve option, I had the sinking feeling that I’d have to call customer support and jump through a million hoops to get help. I picked up the phone, dialed the number, and — to my — surprise, was greeted BY NAME in the IVR, and then, given the option to schedule a callback from an agent instead of sitting there on hold.

It was unreal. Not only did the airline already know who I was based on my phone number but when I did get a callback 15 minutes later, the agent was able to use my customer data to quickly verify my information and find my missing flight number in less than a minute. I walked away from that experience feeling like a VIP…even though I had bought a saver-fare in economy class.

These omnichannel experiences require a heavily connected tech stack — one that ties in directly to a CRM and agent desktop so that when customers do escalate to the voice channel, they don’t have to start their whole journey over again. Implementing this kind of omnichannel tech could look like a chatbot that can offer to connect customers with your agents when it reaches a digital dead end. Or a click-to-call widget on your FAQ page that quickly lets customers schedule a call while carrying over interaction data so that the agent can see exactly what they need help with before the call connects.

We’ve got loads of data and case studies that prove that these kinds of integrations not only improve customer satisfaction, but contact center efficiency as well. You can check those out in the resources section on our website.

And to round out a customer-centric foundation…

Step #4: gather and act on customer feedback.

I said it earlier: if you don’t know who your customers are — how they feel about your business, products, and services — there’s no way you can deliver a positive customer experience. Customer feedback is the crux of a customer-centric foundation. Unless you actively — and tactfully! — ask for feedback, you won’t have clear direction on what areas of the customer journey you can improve.

CSAT, NPS, and customer effort score surveys are your best friends here.

Looking back at my airline experience, immediately following the call I was asked to stay on the line for a quick three question survey — “How was my experience with the agent?” “Would I do business with the airline again?” And, “Would I recommend the airline to friends and family?”

This was obviously a post-call IVR survey, but with an omnichannel feedback tool, these surveys are easy to deploy across a variety of channels — like, in the chat window after a live chat with an agent, a text message with a survey link after a customer-service call, or even an email to follow up on a support thread.

Now, if you work with an enterprise brand, collecting feedback from thousands or millions of customers can seem like a daunting task. That’s why it’s critical you implement a real-time, Voice of Customer solution that uses AI to automatically flag negative reviews or keywords so your customer service team can immediately follow up on negative experiences.

The keyword here is immediately. Letting negative feedback sit in a dashboard that only gets checked once or twice a month won’t do your business or your customers any good. Make a priority to go through customer surveys to identify both the positive and negative aspects of the customers journey, take immediate action to fix those areas that need fixing, and you’ll naturally build a healthier business that your customers rave about.

Listen, we know that building a customer-centric business is no small task. It’ll take top-level buy-in, and often a strong course correction of company priorities. But while the initial investment seems steep, the rewards are worth it. Research by Deloitte found that customer-centric businesses prove to be 60% more profitable than their competitors.

So shift your focus, share customer data between your departments, create an omnichannel environment for your customers, and regularly collect and act on their feedback. I know, I know, I make it all sound pretty easy…but this is every day for us, so if you need help, we’re here for you.

Nutritional Facts

This episode has been adapted from the article, “4 Steps to a More Customer-Centric Business,” which you can find in the Mindful CX library at getmindful.com.

We publish new Snackable CX episodes every week, so be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. See ya next time.

Written and hosted by Sam Salerno.

Produced and engineered by Jared Evers.

Edited, mixed, and mastered by Adam Griffith.

Artwork designed by Rob Beckham.

Snackable CX

Welcome to Snackable CX, where we break down our best resources into bite-size guidance on how to stand out and be known for your customer experience. We deliver! Subscribe to get an emailed Snack right when it drops, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Amazon Music.