Uncovering your REAL customer experience

Uncovering your Customer Experience

It is inarguable that customer experience and listening to the Voice of the Customer is essential. Customers are more likely to rebuy and remain loyal if the experience they have with your organisation is positive and creates a sense of satisfaction. There are numerous ways to measure and metricise Customer Experience, but often it is difficult to choose between them, or even figure out if your organisation needs them. 

Often as senior management within an organisation, we have a helicopter view of day-to-day operations, and may have never walked a day in our customer's shoes, and may not understand our customer's experiences from a first-hand point-of-view.

To better understand your Customer Experience, walk a mile in their shoes.

A starting point to get a feel for how customer experience is playing out within your business is to take the time out to be a customer. Such an exercise can be particularly enlightening for brand and product owners, since there may well be a gap between organisational initiatives and front-line action. If you want to test what your customers experience, here are some sneaky (and not so sneaky) ways of living your brand like a customer.

Uncovering_your_REAL_customer_experience

 

1. Ghost call your contact centre


Ghost CallingYour contact centre is often the most significant customer interaction point in your business. More often than not, it is also the place where customers go when they either have a problem or actively need to use your product or service.

A simple way to test the professionalism and knowledge of your contact centre agents is to put in a call with a question regarding your offering.

Pay attention to the entire experience, from how long it took for your call to be answered, to how helpful the agent was. A similar test can be conducted via your online chat service, in-store or by emailing the contact-us address on your website.

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • Was I treated as I expect a customer to be treated?
  • Were the front-line staff informed and professional?
  • Were the processes I had to follow easy?

2. Bring up your brand at the next party you attend


The opinions of friends-1Sometimes the best insight you can get about how your customers are treated is to ask your friends their honest opinion.

There is nothing more illuminating than an impassioned debate between friends over the pros and cons of a particular brand. Such conversations may leave you cringing or bursting with pride in equal measure.

Either way, you will gain invaluable insight into your customer experience in a frank manner that you are unlikely to gather through any other resource. 

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • Are people I trust loyal to my brand? And why?
  • Are there common threads in the anecdotes I am hearing?
  • What am I hearing about my competitors that is useful?

3. Google your brand

Google my businessThis one may sound obvious. By Googling your brand, you will find reviews and comments on any number of sites. The same advice applies when conducting social media searches. While conversations with friends and customers are constructive, you are likely to uncover the very nastiest opinions of your brand online.

More than that, you should also be able to get a sense of whether or not your organisation is managing to catch and respond to online complaints or comments posted publicly. 

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • Are there themes in the posts I am finding?
  • Is my organisation responding to and managing our online reputation?
  • Could some of the complaints have been prevented if we were listening more actively to our customers?

4.Follow your customer journey requesting no special treatment (or ask someone to do it for you)

Follow the customer journeyThis is a slightly more complicated way to test customer experience than the above three. There is often an intrinsic bias to excellent customer service when the customer journey is walked by someone senior in the organisation. If you can remain anonymous, however, experiencing each step and process for yourself will help you understand your customer journey from the perspective of both the customer and your employees.

If you cannot remain anonymous, it may also be helpful to ask a trusted friend or family member to walk the journey for you. 

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • Was my customer journey easy?
  • Was I treated as expected in each step?
  • What processes did I find frustrating?
  • Where the people knowledgeable and professional throughout the process?
  • Would I carry on being a customer after my experiment is complete?

5. Talk to your customers

adult-3365364_1920Getting feedback from the proverbial horse's mouth is where one really starts to understand the customer experience. Getting this feedback can be as simple as picking up the phone and chatting to a small sample of customers. Engaging in regular conversation with your customers will provide insight into a plethora of topics, from the utility of your product to the value of your customer experience.

These conversations are likely to give you the most unambiguous indication of whether or not your organisation requires a more formal Voice of the Customer programme. 

Key questions to ask yourself:

  • Are my customers satisfied?
  • Do my customers feel cared about?
  • Does my organisation rectify poor service?
  • Does my organisation have so many customers that talking to a few customers will not provide sufficient information to improve?

Exploring a Customer Experience or Voice of the Customer programme can be daunting, and may even feel like an unnecessary expenditure in tough economic times. By trying out a few of the above methods of testing customer experience, you should be able to begin to build a view of how customers are really treated within your organisations.

Poor customer experience can be the underlying cause of everything from churn to eroding brand reputation. 

If, by following the above suggestions, you do happen to have a experience you do not like, perhaps its time to consider a more formal approach towards VOC in your business. 

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