10 Practical Ways You Can Improve the Customer Experience
Feb 12, 2016
Everyone wants to deliver great Customer Experiences, right? Using expert consultants and industry analysts can help you create structure, rethink your customers, consider strategies and technologies that may be completely new. But YOU can still personally learn how to improve the customer experience by raising your awareness. After all, you are a customer too! Getting into an awareness frame of mind can help you become more critical about the nuances which make the difference between positive, neutral and negative customer experiences.
This of course doesn’t mean that developing Customer Experience plans should be completely DIY – experts are experts – but greater awareness can mean more contributions from you and more insight into what makes your customers tick.
Bonus practical tip to improving customer experiences: try everything on mobile. If it fails on mobile it’s a failure – end of story. Besides mobile, here are ten practical ways you can improve your own customer experience:
Walk in your customer’s shoes. Navigate the buying process. Do this at different times of day on different days of the week. Try looking for different items, in different locations if you have offline stores too. Try to feel what it’s like to be one of your customers.
See how (or if) your site builds relationships. Visit your site as a customer. You might need to take some steps to make sure your site thinks you are new and or at least that it doesn’t recognize you as an employee. Leave the site with items in your basket, or incomplete forms. What kind of follow ups do you get? Do they make sense? Do you sense personalization when you return to your site? How do the follow ups – if there are any – resonate with you?
Gauge your company’s annoyance factor. Are there survey pop-ups too soon? Are there pitches or assumptions that are too aggressive? Could your site’s retargeting tactics be seen as annoying?
Know your competition. Visit sites of competitors and decide what you think. People shop around. Assume if they’re interested in buying from you, they’re also interested in buying from your competition. Do you do anything cringe-worthy? Is there anything frustrating? Is your site difficult to navigate?
Place an order. Does the ordering or payment process annoy you? Is a request for a demo an elongated process which assumes your prospective customer will jump through hoops?
Test your social media. Contact your company from a fake profile on social channels with a real business problem to see how long it takes to get a response.
Send an email. How long it takes to get a response? Does the response make sense? What’s the tone? Is it grammatically correct? Did it address the problem or was it too vague?
Visit the brick-and-mortar store. Go visit a brand in-person that you highly regard. Then visit their online store. Be observant: are there little nuances that make a positive and memorable experience, connecting both the in-store and online experience?
Write it out. Create a list of 10 questions that a customer might want to ask. Now try and use your site to answer those questions, or ask sales people in a true “Undercover Boss” kind of way.
Know the difference. Write out a list of all the things that make the difference between a casual restaurant meal and a great fine dining restaurant meal? Aside from making you hungry this will also help you think about customer experiences with more senses and in a more granular way.
Creating customer experiences starts with understanding what people really want. The companies that we consider disruptive have garnered much of their success by creating experiences that people want, maybe that they didn’t even know they wanted. How did the sweethearts of disruption like Airbnb and Uber disrupt the market? They identified better ways of doing things, things we’d generally accept as ‘that way it’s done’. We’re used to jumping through hoops to find the best deals on hotel rooms, finding roommates while traveling via Craigslist along with all the inherent risks of online classifieds, and those swanky rentals? Well they were only available through house swaps or timeshares, right? My experience moving to foreign countries would have been much simpler with Airbnb! Even better than in the case of some hotels, you’re choosing your exact rental, not a style of room. You can travel and live like the locals rather than a tourist, and you can probably find a decent small apartment to rent a bit removed from the city center that is cheaper than the 1 or 2 star motels! The challenge of finding taxis might have been much simpler too. Rather than waiting on a busy night for your taxi to show up, or standing in line at a taxi stand, or tipping staff to use their connections to get you an extraordinarily expensive taxi—
What do you wish was better?