Survival and success in business are often framed in terms of tech and unit economics.
How intelligent is your tech? (Or specifically, your moving technology if you’re in the mobility space like us.) Is it unique? What is your break-even point? What are your Customer Acquisition Costs? How about your Gross Profit?
This makes sense in many ways. For many businesses, especially those Silicon Valley startups, your tech and unit economics will be the markers of success or failure.
But focus too narrowly on tech and unit economics and you’ll develop a potentially fatal blind spot. A customer experience blind spot.
Get your customer experience on the bullseye and you can bet your bottom dollar your customer acquisition costs will go down. Why? Referrals will start rolling through the door.
Word-of-mouth marketing will give you momentum and make your unit economics stronger as you scale.
A lot of CEOs either ignore customer experience or don’t give it the value it deserves. Maybe they think they understand it, maybe they think their product is strong, the customer experience will take care of itself, maybe they think it’s just ‘being nice’. They’re wrong.
Giving an exceptional customer experience requires a combination of hiring great customer-focused people, laying down the structure and processes for them to excel, constant analysis of customer feedback, and a deep understanding of your customers’ needs and goals.
Here are five ideas you should be thinking about if you want to provide consistently exceptional customer experiences:
A lot of the thinking focuses on the importance of people in providing an exceptional customer experience, and we will get to that. But you must also understand the relationship and overlap between your user experience (UX) and your customer experience (CX). If your product’s UX is weak, CX is also likely to be weak.
Do you know the 3 most common user goals on your website? Have you mapped out the 10 most common customer journeys on your app? How easy are they to achieve? How intuitive is your user experience? Are your information architecture, visual design, and microcopy supporting an incredible user experience? All of the above will factor in your answer to the key question:
How easy is it for your customer to do what they need to do when using your digital product?
Analyzing your CX at every customer touchpoint has to include a large focus on the digital, the UX. Getting your UX right is a fundamental step on the journey to getting your CX right, and giving your team the tools they need to provide exceptional customer service.
Customer experience starts with your people, and your people start with your hiring process. Obvious, yes, but worth saying anyway. Hire the right people and you will give your company a rock-solid foundation for providing an excellent customer experience. What are the traits you should be looking to prioritize?
There is a long list, but empathy and maturity are two that you’ll often find in the most gifted customer service professionals. They provide a bedrock for authentic, reliable customer service. And speaking of reliability, another trait that makes for excellent customer service. If a candidate is a reliable team member, the chances are they’ll be reliable for their customers too.
Adaptability is another quality to look out for when you’re hiring for customer face roles. Not not only will adaptable folks think creatively and be flexible dealing with more complex customer needs, but they’ll also respond quicker to the changes you make as you continuously push for better customer experience.
Make sure your team knows exactly what your expectations for customer experience are. Exactly what they’re expected to do to provide them. Then make sure they have the tools they need to meet your expectations. If they have a caseload 70% higher than average don’t expect them to be getting 5-star reviews from every single customer.
But don’t leave it there. Ongoing support is key. Regularly train your team on the essential components of customer experience, such as product knowledge, customer empathy, asking the right questions, active listening, and aiming to delight.
If you’re not already doing this, you should be. Ask your customers how their experience with your service was. Needless to say, do your best to make it up to those who did not have the experience you want them to have. Often it’s the people who did not have the best customer experience that you can learn the most from.
Track your NPS and create a baseline to benchmark against. Analyze changes in it and how they correlate to personnel changes, activity levels, and training. Acting on customer feedback is a good starting point for improving your customer experience.
There is a well-known quote from a British billionaire about employees, not clients, coming first. The idea is that if you look after your employees they will look after your clients. Obviously this is not always the case, but it is a good general rule of thumb.
Look after your team. Reward them for providing exceptional customer experiences as well as their contributions to the bottom line. This is all part of making the customer experience a key metric.
If you’re an executive, spending time on your customer service frontline will give you an invaluable insight into the challenges your team faces dealing with customers, and food for thought on how to overcome them. It might be an eye-opener as to how difficult your customer service team’s jobs are and, if it is, you should see that as a good thing.
At Shyft, we think of ourselves and describe ourselves as high-touch and high-tech. To support this we have invested heavily in our product and continuously strive to improve our moving technology.
But we have come to learn that investing in our people - investing in the right people is just as important - if not more. Because, no matter how smart your moving technology, high-touch high-tech means nothing without an exceptional customer experience running through your high-touch half.