If you’ve decided to focus on improving customer experience, you’re going to need clearly defined goals and a strategy to get you there. Here are some tips to help you set a direction and improve adoption throughout your company.
1. Define goals clearly (and how you’ll measure success).
How you convey your goals to the rest of your company is extremely important. Your approach has the ability to align people to the company aim, or deny them a connection to it. And connection to a goal is important for your people to continue working together with purpose. It reminds me of this quote:
“The crowd needs a direction…. A crowd exists so long as it has an unattained goal."
That’s why we work so hard with our clients to define metrics for their success. Specificity is key to achieving goals—what gets measured is usually what improves. For example, if you ask a retail chain’s employees how to improve customer experience, they’re not going to know where to start. But if you ask them how to speed customers through checkout, the methods for achieving the goal become much clearer.
But wait! Does the label really matter? Is there a difference between, let's say, "happy customers" and "faster checkout times?" A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, right?
Sure, it smells as sweet. But if you're stuck between a vapid business slogan or a boring, clear-cut goal, err toward the latter. You’re trying to convey purpose, direction, and conviction. The label you put on your goals is crucial to everyone’s understanding, as is the metric you’ll measure to determine progress. (Which is one reason why I prefer “customer experience” to “brand” as a focal point for organizations.)
2. Don’t lose the customer’s perspective.
Sometimes, in setting and achieving goals, you may lose track of the overall aim. Let’s return to the above example: retail checkout times. If you focus on lowering that time at all costs, the pressure your employees feel is likely to transfer to customers. (Which, for the record, would be bad.)
In business, every action will have long- or short-term monetary goals tied to it. The key is to see the forest for the trees, and to remember your ultimate goals of customer acquisition and retention. Balance is key. Don’t get so lost in process that you lose sight of what the customer wants or feels.
Improving customer experience will involve constant listening to your customers, and adjusting to their evolving needs. At PeopleMetrics, we conduct ongoing customer feedback surveys that help you stay in tune with your customer base. We also use pulse checks to better understand how customers view your current experience.
3. Make sure to check in with the troops.
In setting a direction, goals, and metrics for success, don’t forget that your employees are people too. They’re part of your team, your strategy, and your business. They’re not your enemy, but rather part of the collective “we” that makes up your company.
Employees have a unique point of view—one that’s situated on the line between your business and your customers. So make sure to check in with them: they can help improve your customer experience strategy.
We understand the importance of employees to the achievement of your customer engagement goals. That’s why we conduct employee engagement surveys to get a sense of employee perceptions as they perform their roles. Their needs and perceptions can help companies take action to increase engagement and better connect with their customers. We also use the employee perspective to get a sense of whether clients have customer-centric cultures.
4. Continue to customize your experience.
For us, the fun part of customer experience management is that it’s an ongoing challenge. Every company requires a unique strategy for its customers, and over time, customers’ needs and opinions change. So, if strategy becomes stagnant, or actions become too complacent, companies can suddenly find themselves out of touch with their audience.
In other words, don’t try to build a perfect-forever, universal-fit box for your customers.
As you walk the road to your Best Customer Experience Ever, it will help to view improvement as a dynamic process. If you’re doing it correctly, you’ll find there’s no finish line, but rather a continuous flow of new opportunities to refine goals, celebrate successes, and blaze new business paths.
Want more information about ongoing customer experience strategy? Then download our one-pager by clicking on the image below. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out and contact us with any questions or comments. We’d be happy to chat and help you set a direction for success.
- “Rose Francois Poisson” by T.Kiya, CC BY-SA 2.0
- “Puppy Love” by smlp.co.uk, CC BY 2.0
- “cult of the thumb” by woodleywonderworks, CC BY 2.0
- “Cute tuxedo cat…” by Adam Rifkin, CC BY 2.0
Posted on 03-10-2015