How can I get more happy customers?
Updated: Apr 1
Hey there, this is Rudy the Operations Director at Working Progress. I like to chat so my posts are likely to be a slightly longer read. I am hoping you’ll find this engaging and insightful, and that you are sitting comfortably!
I’ll start with a question: what do the world's largest, most recognisable or fastest growing businesses like The Ritz-Carlton, Uber or Netflix have in common?
- All use technology to constantly improve?
- Inspired leaders?
- Incredible branding?
- They are in a High Growth market or are a well established market leader?
They have all of these things absolutely, but one of the biggest commonalities is that the customer experience (CX) is consistent and exceptionally high. Whether they are on or offline customers are put at the forefront of their strategy. In a world where things are increasingly automated and online, making it harder to stand out from the crowd, your customer experience can really set you apart from the competition.
This subject has been identified and researched significantly by consultancies. A McKinsey review showed that there were between 5-10% increases in revenue when a business focused on improving customer experience and custom content. This is money from your existing customers.
This is because when you feel valued and cared for you are significantly more likely to renew contracts and forgive minor issues on products or services provided. These customers will then also be more inclined to recommend your business to others.
In fact, the research paper shows businesses could double their promoter scores as a result of improved customer experience by focusing on the Customer Journey. A poor experience is a fast track to failure. I'm sure you can think of a time when you had a poor customer experience. In that situation, what happened?
- Did you have an outage or product related issue?
- Were you passed between multiple support agents for the same issue?
- Was the website difficult to navigate or not intuitive?
- Was there too much information or unclear messaging?
With an existing customer the business has a potential second opportunity to resolve the issue, provide a solution, and ultimately leave them with a positive impression. However, if they were not already a customer, and the experience was poor, they would likely move on to the next company in a search listing. You would have lost an opportunity for growth and to increase your customer base. You’re also likely to leave yourself exposed to unfavourable reviews online or a negative NPS (Net Promoter Score.)
Think again about a good experience that you have had yourself. The likelihood is that it's harder to find or you have fewer examples. Maybe a personal connection stands out... or the immersion in the environment that a business has created. Netflix is excellent at this, the auto-play, the way things are suggested to me based on what I’ve watched.
All of these things keep you on the platform but don’t take personal interaction, they ‘just know’ what you want to watch. They know you, and this hyper personal approach is replicated everywhere, from high-end retail to your local small Instagram seller. Super technical solutions and algorithms use your likes, and those of others, with similar taste, but there are simpler ways to achieve this kind of experience.
The answer lies with people. Companies who engage with people win. And companies who engage people, and then solve legitimate problems for them, will win even more.
Ultimately there are 5 key stages where you need to consider customer experience:
1. Pre Sales - your website, is it intuitive? Are your marketing materials engaging? Is your messaging consistent with your branding and does it solve a customer issue? Is it desirable?
2. Ordering - is the process easy with as few steps before purchase as possible? Are prices upfront and clear? Were the needs of the customer met fully? Were the correct expectations set for the next steps? Can they easily increase purchases?
3. Provisioning/shipping/deployment - was everything set up or delivered on time and to the expectations laid out during the sale? Does the product work?
4. Billing & Payments - were they charged correctly based on the contract and order? Are multiple payment methods available? Was the right amount taken at the right time?
5. Customer Support - is there an online portal? Are problems solved first time, and are customers able to self-serve where possible? How quick are you responding to customers?
These five steps are only a simplified view of what we would see as the overall Customer Journey. Each of these stages really define the customer experience as a whole. A breakdown at any one stage can destroy a budding, or previously strong, relationship.
These stages can be as manual, or as automated, as the business’s funds will allow, but the key is to have a clear understanding of each stage. What is the key information to gather at each stage, and how can you make processes as clear and concise as possible?
You should then set up your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track performance and quickly react to areas of blockages or friction. This data and tracking means you can adapt your approach to problem solving. This iterative approach will allow you to make incremental changes. These changes will show continuous improvements to your business and customer base.
Alongside the 5 stages you have to set the right controls, and have a designated gatekeeper for these. This is important in order to have a centralised process that's consistent for all customers (or segment of customers). This consistency allows for predictability and enables you to focus on the things that are important to change.
These processes can be seen as the boring (or unsexy!) elements of business, I guess; controls, reporting, gathering the right data at the right time, but they really are essential. They should always have the ultimate aim of making your customers as happy as possible. These happy customers stay on your site or platform for longer, buy more and complain less! The same elements will also allow for the kind of brand loyalty we all aspire to achieve. I'm sure we have all had debates around certain brand’s popularity, which one is better:
- Apple or Samsung?
- Xbox or Playstation?
- Manchester United or Liverpool…? Wait! There's no debate there ;).
Ultimately, it's a fight to stand out in a growing and connected world. The last year has shown we need people more than ever, and many businesses have cottoned on to this. The businesses that have grown in the last 12 months have overwhelmingly been those which have a truly personal touch, or those that have connected people to one another in some way. People are the key to growth, and that connection you create with them will make your business a stronger one.
Thanks for reading. If you would like to discuss anything that I’ve mentioned please feel free to comment and like below. You can also contact us if you have any questions or would like a review of your Customer Journey! We are here to help you connect and grow.
Image: Joe Caione/Unsplash