How often are you thinking about your customer’s experience?
Have you ever actually walked in their shoes?
Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity work with a lot of big brand CEOs, COOs, and CMOs. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Experience Management (CEM) is always a hot topic up for discussion. One of my favorite things to explore with them is how often they use their brand’s products and services. And how often do they take the time to really experience their brand by walking in their customer’s shoes?
The good news is most, if not all, have used or engaged in the brands they lead at least once. Many of them engage with their brands on a daily basis by consuming them or using them. They are all about reviewing reports on a daily basis that measure satisfaction, show purchase trends, monitor net promoter scores and some even handle customer escalations. Most surprisingly however, very few of them have taken the time or effort to walk through the full customer journey and experience. What it’s like to be a prospective consumer of their product.
Now don’t get me wrong – most have spent time thinking about the customer experience. They’ve even mapped it out in a boardroom and have gone online and purchased their product. Some have even called the customer care line, but very few take the full end to end journey themselves.
We regularly complete customer journey audits for our clients and even the most focused have a few surprises. The findings usually come down to three areas of focus.
- Every touch point with a customer is an opportunity to either enhance or detract from your brand. Take the time to go through each stage and see what it is the customer is really seeing. Is the branding and messaging consistent? Is the attention to detail evident? How does the customer “feel” after each interaction compared to how you want them to feel?
- Good intentions do not always result in good experiences. As an ex-CFO who lived through the roll out of Sarbanes-Oxley, I get the importance of checks and balances. Processes need to be implemented to ensure proper controls are in place, especially when it comes to a company’s assets. I have seen over and over again where processes are over engineered, and in the end, do nothing but frustrate and turn your customer off. Balance the needs of the business with the end goal of serving the customer.
- Your biggest customers may not be happy customers. Don’t take them for granted. Just because someone spends a large amount of money with your company does not mean they are loyal to your brand. The only way to find out is to ask and understand why they do business with you. Over the years I have learned that the answers are not always what you would expect or want. A customer from a previous employer once told me that our company was the lesser of two evils, and if another player came into the picture they would be willing to consider transferring the business. By investing in that relationship and seeking ongoing feedback, we eventually turned that customer into one of our leading advocates.