Without some distinction it becomes a serious challenge to catch the attention of new customers and keep older ones coming back. Since it seems that everyone is producing good quality at a low cost, product and price influences don’t have the force they had in the past, particularly with the ease of obtaining price information with the Internet.
Listening to your customers
A distinction that is still remaining to help retain customers today is the ability to really listen to customers. This requires the organization to develop a thorough understanding for the pain customers experience when they touch the people in the organization in the store, on-site, or talk to them in the call center. Numbers alone won’t do the trick here because they do not reveal what the customers are thinking. They don’t provide the tools that allow a complete understanding of the customer’s experience.
Measuring Customer Experience
Refining customer experience measurements is a strategy that leads to a clear understanding of how customers perceive your business. This understanding can be used to align the systems and people around what “good” customers would like to experience when they are in contact with the organization.
The term “good” customer simply means it is important to note that there are cranks out there that are never happy and their experiences will have to be sifted out. Customer contact people can certainly identify these characters and there are some organizations that even go so far as to “fire” these customers rather than let them drag down the spirit of their people and have that spill over to other customers.
Making Sense of your Information
The challenge is in collecting and making sense of the information gathered by the different information mediums. Sterile numbers don’t really help here, as it’s subjective information that is being generated. A method to translate this language of the customer into the language of the organization is what is needed here.
In order to understand the experience of the customer it is necessary to categorize it by the person the customer dealt with and the type of problem. Are there people in the organization that every customer is experiencing problems with and are there also problems with the organization that every customer is experiencing?
Categorize the Information
The people dealing directly with the customer can gather the second of these pieces of information. A simple check sheet works well here where a graded level of customer experience can be checked off and any problems can be listed where necessary.
The information about problems with specific individuals can be gathered from customer interviews, reviews of recordings for phone transactions, and direct observations of the specific interactions with the customer.
The most important thing here is not to measure the satisfaction of the customer but rather the quality of the tone of their overall experience. There will be times when customers are dissatisfied with some of their requests but satisfied with the way in which they were dealt with and it is this latter experience that will tend to draw them back. After all, it is often not about the product or service the organization offers but the experience of that encounter that brings repeat business.
What do your customers think of your business when they call or come in for a visit? How do you know this? How reliable is this information? These are just a few questions that can help stimulate a robust customer experience measurement.