Customer Experience Is a Year-Round Effort
Last week, companies around the world celebrated CX Day and Customer Service Week — two celebrations that focus on the importance of the customer experience.
Without a doubt, this is a cause worthy of celebration. But here at Hyland, we put a different spin on it: we call it Customer Appreciation Week, with the goal of expressing gratitude to our customers, and educating our employees about continuing to deliver delightful customer experiences.
Creating positive customer experiences should be the focus of every business. And after 17 years in the industry, it’s clear to see that loyal customers and employees are two sides of the same coin. Often, the most loyal and engaged employees have better interactions with customers to build positive experiences and lasting relationships.
So how do companies go about creating successful service initiatives and programs? They need to prioritize keeping customers delighted, engaged and at the center of what they do.
Although there’s no magic algorithm or simple model to put in place to achieve a customer-centric culture overnight, the following tips will help you start to build better experiences and exceed customers’ expectations.
1. Honor Customers
To earn customers’ business, you must first earn their loyalty.
This means you can’t take them for granted or expect them to remain customers unless you’ve earned it.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes to walk through the experiences they’ve had with your company, both positive and negative, that have caused them to remain a customer or become disengaged. This helps to discover mistakes and uncover successes which leads to seeing how issues arise and what made them feel most valued.
2. Align Service with Your Core Purpose and Vision
Your employees need a foundation to help guide their work. By integrating your vision and mission into the framework for all interactions, you will create consistent commitment to your organization’s values that’s evident in all interactions — both internal and external.
3. Create Avenues for Customer Feedback
Build feedback channels for customers and listen to the comments, complaints, advice and opinions they give you.
Surveys are still a great way to solicit feedback. When evaluating responses, prioritize the comments over the actual scores. The goal is to make sure your customers understand you’re listening and taking their feedback into consideration. It doesn’t mean you make every change requested, but you do have to consider it.
4. Be Reliable
To drive loyalty among customers, you need to provide consistent experiences and take responsibility for the ones that fail to satisfy customers’ expectations. Once a complaint is issued, immediately follow up with customers to let them know you are looking into any issues. Once the issue is resolved, reach out again to make sure they are satisfied with the resolution and service they received.
5. Get Personal
Engage your customers whenever possible, not just when it’s time to renew a contract or when you are reacting to an issue. Learn your customers’ preferences when it comes to interactions and tailor your communications to build stronger relationships.
Remember, personal touches are always better than automated or generic messages — placing importance on cultivating genuine connections can go a long way.
6. Delight Your Employees
Happy employees = happy customers. When employees feel trusted and supported by their organizations, they are more likely to integrate their positive outlooks into their interactions with customers.
Creating a work environment where employees are encouraged to thrive is an essential part of delivering superior customer service. Listen to employee feedback to see where you can make improvements, and close the loop with your employees regularly about committed actions you are taking.
Loyal employees who feel heard and supported will go the extra mile for your customers.
CX Day is a great time to evaluate your customer service processes and procedures to identify opportunities for improvement. But it’s not just about delighting customers one week a year: it’s also an opportunity to consider implementing a service model that speaks to the importance of every customer all year round.
Explore what you can do to ensure your customers receive delightful service throughout the year. The six tips outlined above are great food for thought if your organization is looking to improve or build customer-centric cultures to deliver delightful experiences to every customer.
Title image Providence Doucet
Tiffany Scherer is the director of Customer Experience at Hyland. She joined the company in 1999, and currently leads the charge in delivering the most delightful customer experiences possible.