At some point in your life, you have probably experienced the disappointment of wanting to purchase a product or service, before giving up or being turned off by poor customer service. Whether the checkout button on the website was broken, preventing you from purchasing, or you had such an unpleasant experience that you decided the company didn’t deserve your business, this is an all too common experience that is costing businesses money.
In fact, an estimated $41 billion is lost each year by US companies due to a bad customer experience. You read that right, $41 billion. This is a huge amount of money being lost to something that is completely preventable.
As a business leader who has customer experience as part of their remit, it is critical you know what the customer experience is and what it is costing you if it isn’t good.
I see businesses make two mistakes:
1.) They believe their staff know how to deliver great customer service and aren’t willing to invest resources into an area that is assumed knowledge.
Whether it’s hiring a business development manager, a client services consultant or a financial planner, many leaders believe their staff either already know, or should know how to provide a great customer experience. I once had a leader say to me, “they’re professionals they should know how to do this” . My response is always that we should be training the staff how we want them to deliver customer service to our clients not the clients they had in the past but the ones they will have in the future. Additionally we should be providing the training to our staff, we have obligations in financial services to do just that. Others have said that it’s a cost we haven’t budgeted for – I wonder if they have budgeted for clients they lose because of poor customer experience.
2.) They invest in the training, but not a customer experience solution.
This is effectively the same as putting a bandaid over a soaker hose and watching the same problem crop up time and time again. They get a trainer in, teach them how to sell. A lot of money is spent training the team, yet the results aren’t coming in. That’s because training is only half the job. While staff have been trained on how to sell, the customer’s experience still hasn’t been addressed.
What Is A Customer Experience Solution?
Customer experience (CX) is the interaction between an organisation and a customer over the duration of their relationship. A customer experience solution is aimed at looking at what the customer wants the experience to be and giving the employees the tools they need to effectively manage interactions with present and future customers.
By putting an effective CX solution in place, you can increase staff engagement, productivity, confidence, increase revenue and profit just to name a few all saving your company a significant amount of money and improved brand awareness.
The first thing you need to understand is what type of experience do you want your clients to have, should it be consistent with all the team, should it be professional and should it be applied across the different business units – hopefully you answered yes to all of these.
Essentially, a customer experience solution involves looking at the big picture. It combines sales training with customer expectations to ensure you offer the full package – it looks at both the customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). Whether online or in store, the customer journey needs to be well-thought out and easy to engage with.
Now more than ever with Covid-19 we should be considering the way in which our clients want and need us. Their needs have changed, not just with what they need but how they want to do business with us. I have seen and heard this from over 400 leaders that attended my workshops during Covid.
A customer experience looks at what the customers want but also equips the staff to have meaningful conversations and build genuine relationships with customers so they can deliver the experience they want and need.
The Importance Of Customers Experience
If customer experience is part of your remit and you don’t want to lose clients, good staff and sales then customer experience should be something you are actively trying to improve. The leaders that want to make a difference do so by providing the tools, training and resources their team needs to build genuine relationships with customers and clients. In the last eight years, companies like Suncorp, Energy Super, QSuper, and BlueCare, have recognised this and engaged our services to help build a fantastic experience for their customers.
Developing an exceptional customer experience involves taking time to review and audit the customer journey and the employee’s experience. If the customer service interface is glitchy or complicated, or if the staff are so busy, not engaged and overworked to the point that clients are slipping through the cracks, something needs to be done.
Giving your team the resources and support they need to do their jobs well will result in increased customer satisfaction, increased profits, and a lower attrition rate. Don’t overlook the customer experience. Automate what can be automated, train your staff, and make it easy for them to do a good job.
An important thing to remember is that the customer experience, be it internal or external, makes a difference to your business.
Similarly, if an internal team member needs support, a failure to respond to their query or provide the necessary support can result in poor performance and increased turnover, which has a flow on effect that can hurt your business. If you develop a customer experience framework, you can empower your leaders and your teams to perform at their best.
How To Improve Your Customer Experience
Companies can very easily provide amazing customer experience solutions to their teams with the right tools in place. It is about understanding consumer behaviours and putting the focus on your customers. You can have the best product or service to offer, but unless you seamlessly guide your customer through the buying journey, they won’t get the chance to experience it.
If customer experience is part of your remit then here are some tips on how to improve your customer experience.
1. Understand your customers – if you are able to dig deeper and understand your customer’s wants and needs, you have a much greater chance of meeting or exceeding their expectations in the buying cycle. A strategy that can be incredibly valuable is developing a persona for your customers so you can clearly identify who they are, what they need, and how you can best serve them.
2. Anticipate your customer’s next move – start the buying journey from the beginning to the end. We have done this many times in financial services but clients needs have changed – it is not just life stages we should be looking at, it is how they want to be serviced in those life stages.
When you complete this process, you will have a better understanding of what your customers need at each stage of the buying process. You can then create frameworks that serve each stage to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
3. Capture feedback – if you ask for feedback in real time, you will gain an accurate understanding of what is and what isn’t working for your sales process. Feedback is invaluable and goes a long way in determining exactly what part of the process can be improved – but remember you have to do something with the captured feedback. There is no use asking for it if you don’t use it.
4. Identify training needs – understanding each step of your sales process and client journey allows you to determine exactly what you need to make the process successful. You can then identify the weakest points and any gaps that can be fixed with training. This allows for targeted training to take place that is beneficial for all, rather than a waste of company resources. I do this with my clients all the time – a gap analysis is critical.
5. Coach to the behaviours – coaching to the behaviours is what makes it stick… often companies deliver training and then leave the organisations. I never deliver training alone. I always back it up with training the leaders on how to coach to the behaviours. Behaviour change doesn’t happen overnight so you need to be coaching, developing, providing feedback and holding staff to account and you do this through coaching.
6. Get help – it’s ok not to know how to do this, many businesses struggle with this part and that’s ok (you can’t be great at everything). I tell business leaders all the time, you don’t have to know everything you have to know how to get the right people to do the job that you need to get the success you are looking for.
By delivering the right customer experience and developing the staff to deliver it, holding them accountable you can increase business revenue, staff and customer engagement, productivity, improved brand awareness, referrals, profit and so much more.
If you need help to equip your teams on how to build genuine customer relationships, then get in contact with me and let’s have a chat.
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