Reflections on Customer Experience: 4 Questions to Ask About Your Business
As a mother of a fourteen year old boy who is about to enter high school, you can imagine that the request to go shopping for clothes has increased. When I shop, I am the type of person that likes to stay focused and get what is needed rather than look around and end up with unnecessary purchases. This buying style is why I tend to avoid sales associates who try to get me to buy more than I need.
During our last shopping trip, we were greeted by a young girl, “Good afternoon to you both. My name is Stacey, and I am here to help make this a productive shopping trip for you. What brings you in?” I was so taken aback. The clerk was more interested in our experience than making the sale. I said the usual, “we’re just looking.” She then looked at my son and said, “I bet you are looking for something in particular: end of summer parties, school right around the corner, and homecoming to follow?” She then helped us buy exactly what we needed and nothing more.
This situation got me thinking about how often we experience customer service and how easily good or bad customer service can sway our buying decisions.
When we started our company 25 years ago, our customer service was our primary differentiator. As we’ve grown, we’ve had to make a conscious effort to maintain the same level of customer service excellence. As Tony Golobic, the founder of GreatAmerica, always says, “growth can be the enemy of a good customer experience.”
As your business has changed over the years, you may have experienced the same growing pains. What have you done to keep your customers top of mind? Here are four questions you can evaluate to help ensure customer focus remains centric to all you do.
- Is your mission driving your customer experience?
- If, as a company, you’ve dedicated your business to helping your customer achieve efficiency, then your customer experience needs to match that behavior. Every employee in your customer support journey must understand your mission and be able to deliver on it.
- Are you hiring the right people?
- Customer service can be taught, but it can only be genuine if you’re hiring the right people. Be sure you are hiring people who align with your values to ensure they will provide a positive experience for your customers.
- Do you seek and listen to your employees’ ideas?
- Develop a group that can also listen to your employee feedback. This group should include all levels of your organization, including leadership. Those on the front lines are better equipped to sense customer satisfaction and pain points. Getting leadership involved increases communication and commitment. Employees will follow if you lead by example.
- At GreatAmerica, The GreatAmerica Experience committee is a cross section of the organization tasked with upholding and educating the company around our customer experience. This committee brings in speakers, offers training, and most importantly, accepts employee buy in.
- Are you asking your customers?
- When you’re trying to figure out what your customer experience is, ask your customers. Implement a customer survey or interview customers. The only way to improve is to know where your strengths and weaknesses are.
The sales girl that my son and I ran into obviously had a natural inclination for sales, but she also had some really great training from her company. Combat growth’s effect on your customer experience by intentionally and consistently working on it.
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