How to Prevent Customer Experience Efforts from Failing (part 2)

In part 1 of this article, we discussed some of the many ways customer experience slips off our radar and why it’s so important to stop prioritizing everything with a number attached over creating better experiences.

customer-experienceSo where can you start?

Here are some great ways to bring customer experience to the top of your priority list and start making changes that build meaningful relationships with customers.

Start scheduling real time for interacting with customers.

Make it a weekly priority to listen in on real conversations. Learn by listening to the real voice of real customers – not just what data tells you.

Schedule “how’s it going” calls from leaders or managers to customers, and make sure these calls have nothing to do with sales.

Help customers trust you again by sincerely asking and then actively listening. Close the loop with them by reporting back how their input helped change things for the better.

Stop obsessing about the competition’s business

“We MUST be better than ACME!”

Leaders who obsess about the competition are spending their mental energy and focus there, instead of using that focus for their customers.

Believe it or not, being #2 or #10 in your industry might be just fine for today. I’m not saying don’t compete, I’m saying compete by delivering an exceptional customer experience to those customers who got you to #2 or #10 in the first place.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is a great example. While they follow WalMart in sales, they bury them with fandom and specialized product knowledge. They are focused on delivering the experiences and expertise THEIR customers need.

Simply put, don’t worry about the big guys. Worry about YOUR guys!

Encourage Customer-Centric Leadership

Short-term gains only get you so far. A new promotion or discount could certainly drum up a few sales for the quarter, but those won’t lead to long-term relationships with customers. Combine that with an unforgiving workplace, and it’s a recipe for poor customer experience from the inside-out.

Managing customer relationships well means keeping healthy internal relationships.

Share the good stuff, and celebrate great customer feedback!

According to Gallup’s recent State of the American Workplace report, only 23% of employees say their manager provides meaningful feedback, and only 21% of employees feel their performance reviews inspire them to do better work.

If the only reporting or measuring is focused on what’s going wrong, it’s easy for your employees to feel rotten about the idea of “customer experience.” Use opportunities within your organization to communicate about the great things customers are sharing!

A winning team needs to OWN the progress they make possible. Broadcast the good news and achievements!

Have a customer-focused mission to guide the experience.

Customer experience needs more than lip service. Employees need to understand what promise was made to customers and what a “great” customer experience means in the first place. They must be empowered to do right by your customers when they see that promise has been, or is about to be, broken.

The best way to do that is to have a meaningful customer-focused mission. This isn’t about “being the best” it’s about knowing what values your organization has.

Your customer’s experience is completely connected to the way you communicate inside your organization.

Are you prioritizing customer experience beyond just saying you are? Align your internal actions and behaviors with your customer experience mission and watch your business results rise!

By Jeannie Walters | January 12th, 2018 | Customer Experience

About the Author: Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is CEO of 360Connext and a customer experience speaker, writer, and consultant with more than 15 years experience in assisting all types of companies, including Fortune 500. Specialties include in-depth customer experience evaluations, customer journey mapping, user experience analysis, and leading workshops and training.