Working day after day on the same set of projects and goals can make us a little complacent about what customers really need from us. Too often, we convince ourselves that what happens within our walls doesn’t have a direct impact on the experiences we deliver.
Customer experience is huge and all-encompassing, so many think of improving it as a huge initiative that requires a big investment of time and money. But there are many ways to make noticeable improvements for customers and employees alike, without making a big investment or losing traction on those big goals and projects.
Almost every organization could challenge themselves to become better without tying up a lot of resources that are already spoken for. And we don’t need another survey, task force or social media firestorm to remind us.
Here are a few customer experience quick fixes to challenge your organization to simply do better, without breaking a sweat.
1. Stop using patronizing language.
Always remember that whatever you need to say, there’s almost always a better way to say it.
For instance, “you should” is something that’s easy to read as a judgement. It is patronizing and accusing. “You should have done this right all along. Shame on you!”
“We would like” or “may I suggest” can change the whole tone of a message. “You should be submitting your sales reports no later than 3 pm on Fridays” is much different than “To ensure the team receives a weekly analysis by Monday morning, we’d appreciate receiving your sales reports by 3 pm on Fridays.”
A customer-focused culture is NOT about us and them or you and me. It’s WE as often as possible.
Reread some of your internal communications from the recipients’ perspective. If you can, have a friend or colleague look it over and ask how it makes them feel. How would it make you feel? If this requires more of a mind-shift than you expected, stick with it and it will feel more and more natural. In the process, nobody’s self-esteem takes a hit. Everyone wins!
2. Re-connect the C-Suite with the true customer experience.
In a recent executive workshop I conducted with a client, the participants were asked about last direct interaction they had with a customer. Sadly, I was not surprised to learn that most of them couldn’t remember! This group had been relying on data to construct a visual of the customer journey, and were therefore blind to key insights as to why their churn rate was spinning out of control. When we move up the corporate ladder, this disconnect often comes with the package.
Executives need to understand real-life customer issues, especially those which have been marked as “resolved” by customer-facing employees. Real customer feedback and anecdotes are essential to informing executives on how customers feel throughout the journey and why there was an issue to resolve in the first place.
Bring your customer’s true voice into the C-Suite. One of my favorite ways is to invite a customer to share a story or read some recent comments, verbatim. Asking your frontline staff to do the same and record as much of the dialogue as possible will reveal surprising truths about the experience!
Depending on your organization’s structure, you may need to find your own creative way to make this happen. But however you do it, you must deliver the truth and surrounding context to the C-Suite. Don’t hold back!
3. Get a close look at a team-member’s daily challenges.
Customer service successes and challenges have a direct impact on your customer’s experience. What can be done to reduce their effort and focus more energy on the customer? What processes are adding avoidable friction, causing more time on hold as the representative scrambles for a solution?
Spend part of your day assisting a department or specific team-member with the challenges they face day-to-day. Encourage them to speak candidly and ask questions. Take note of everything that complicates their efforts and recognize those things as obstacles on the path to a better customer experience.
This exercise will give you knowledge about what your employees need to save time and effort for themselves so they can deliver a better experience to customers, and be happier while doing it. Put it on your calendar, and mark it as important! Don’t let it get rescheduled over and over until it’s forgotten.
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Make a small impact. Every. Single. Day.
It can take a while to adopt new habits as a natural part of improving your customer’s journey. But take one action today. See what happens. Then move on to the next and the results will follow. You’ll see an uptick in conversions and renewals while interactions with customers become more pleasant and rewarding. Share those results with others and they will be anxious to follow your lead!
These little things will add up to increased productivity, satisfaction and loyalty across the board.
What powerful little customer experience tweaks can you fold into your daily routine? Share them with our readers in the comments below!
This post was written for, and a version originally appeared in the Intradiem Real-time Frontline blog