How’s your customer experience?

Six ways to understand the real experience your customers are getting

Bill Gates once said “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” And this is a great place to start if you’re overwhelmed with all the possibilities.   However, it might be the greatest source of learning but it’s certainly not the only one.

Fundamentally customer experience is about making a customer feel good about your organisation, so naturally you need to understand the current state of affairs – what’s working, what isn’t working, what makes a customer feel good and what gets them really frustrated.

Here are 6 things you can do today to get a better understanding of what that experience feels like for your customers.

1. Ask your employees

This is hands down the best way of finding out what is really happening to your customers on a day to day basis. Your frontline staff have all the information about what’s going wrong, but sometimes lack the means to fix it.  Getting the lowdown from your customer teams is the first step to understanding your real experience, whether you intend it or not.

2. Review your complaints

Even the most customer focussed, efficient organisation doesn’t get it right all the time. While it’s not nice to receive complaints and they can be tricky to deal with, complaints are a great indicator of where your experience isn’t great, your process isn’t working, or your people might need a bit more guidance and training. 

Group the complaint types together and look for common themes or problems.  That will tell you where to focus your improvement efforts for the biggest and fastest benefit.

3. Walk in your customers’ shoes

When is the last time you ordered a product, called customer service, went into the shop or tried to do something on your organisation’s website?  I’ve seen some light bulb moments amongst senior managers when they are encouraged to do what they ask customers to do.  And longed for investment in improvements often follows quickly!

4. Look at your customer feedback

Many organisations have a customer satisfaction survey or some way of following up a customer interaction to find out how it went.  Take a look at your scores and comments.  Do they chime with what your employees are telling you? And have you linked your feedback programme to an action plan to ensure that improvements are made?

5. Link up your internal data

Your internal data such as web traffic, customer service call records, spending patterns and service usage is a wealth of information about your customers’ experience.  What is their journey through your website and where do they drop off (and potentially call you?) Do they contact you every month with the same problem that’s never been properly sorted, does their spending tail off before they cancel, do they use your services sporadically rather than regularly? Why might that be?  Just looking at the information you already have, organising it well and linking it to any customer satisfaction feedback will give you a great insight into the real experience.

6. And finally, why are your customers leaving?

It’s a tricky question to ask, but do you know why customers leave? Have they found a better offer elsewhere, are they fed up with service issues, do they just not need your product or service any more?  Of course you are unlikely to stop all of those customers leaving, but with a good understanding of the reasons for going, you might just be able to make changes that save some of them.

Do you agree? What else do you do to understand what your customers are experiencing?