As we all know, every customer interaction is a little different than all others before it. The challenge is to somehow make sense of it all. Sometimes interactions go well while sometimes they don’t – why is that and what can be done to increase positive results in the future?
If a company looks at the world from the inside-out, they are in a defensive posture evidenced by an abundance of rules that treat the customer like an adversary. Here’s what you’re not allowed to do, and there’s no point in talking to the manager because her or she is not empowered to help. One more thing: we don’t trust you!
If a company looks at the world from the outside-in, though the customer’s perspective, they can better understand that if you make it easy for people to do business with you, they will. This is evidenced by the dearth of rules, replaced by general guidelines that simply make sense. They see and treat the customer as a unique person: welcome, come in, we’re glad to see you!
Companies that distrust the customer are often in a race to the bottom—a shadow of their former selves because of myopic customer service. All of them allowed rules and policies to take over, driving up the cost of service instead of saving money as originally intended. In contrast, consider the winners. Apart from the great offerings, these companies have established themselves as market leaders by understanding and delivering what customers want.
So what can you do to be a winner? Here are three simple tips:
- Do your best to understand the individual customer. Of all the places they could go to have a need met, why should they pick you? What do you offer that is desirable and unique? Customer journey maps help in identifying the tasks and emotions people experience when they use what you have to offer. Every time an adjustment is made in the service delivery process, the map needs to be readjusted to learn whether the change delivered the desired results and to see how it aligns to the brand promise.
- Practice ‘active listening’ to solve problems and eliminate them in the future. Customers will tell you how you’re doing; are you paying attention? Active listening is focused on root cause: what was the issue that led to the call in the first place? Getting to the root cause comes down to asking: what can we do to ensure no one has to call about this problem ever again?
- Quantify the cost of doing nothing. We all know how to evaluate options when it comes time to buy, but how much time do you spend evaluating the cost and risk of doing nothing? ‘No decision’ is a decision, and it creates an opportunity for your competitor. While you’re busy looking for ways to cut service costs by putting off an investment and tightening up your return policy, your competitor is investing in ways to speed-up the sales process and better engage with customers. You can’t cut your way to growth!
Truly understanding your customers, identifying root causes when issues arise, and realizing the consequences of inaction all lead to sustainable growth through satisfied customers.
To learn more please download, Three Benefits You Gain by Managing the Customer Journey.