Closing the feedback loop with your customers is a necessity in today’s complex marketplace. For a good company to transcend and become a great company, there has to be an understanding of the entire customer experience. Simply stated, by becoming more customer-focused and delivering a superior customer relationship experience, your organization can stand out from the crowd.
Here at Clear Seas Research, we specialize in providing third-party customer experience research to help evaluate our clients’ relationship with their customers at all touch points from initial awareness to repeat purchasing and brand advocacy. We conduct independent research for many clients in different industries. Our proficiency puts us in a position to share a few questions that every company should be asking about their customer experience.
1. How well does your business model meet customer needs/expectations? Right, wrong, or indifferent, companies are biased when evaluating the customer experience because they are viewing it from their own lens. It’s critical to adopt the mindset of your customer and evaluate your customer experience from their point-of-view.
2. What can be done to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and customer retention? We all know that age-old maxim that it costs eight times more to earn a new client than it does to retain an existing client. Does your customer experience lend itself to an expanding or renewed relationship with you?
3. How do you perform relative to competitors? Most mature businesses know who their competition is. They can reel off a list of their competitors at will, but you need to know how you stack up against your competitors in key areas. You need to define the areas where you have a competitive advantage. You also need to determine what the prevailing attitude towards your competitors is and how that stacks up against your customer experience.
4. What areas for customer service improvement should be addressed? Companies like Zappos and Warby Parker have built their success on the shoulders of great Customer Service teams. It’s crucial to put some of your best resources into your Customer Service department, but before that can happen, you need to assess what that experience looks like from your client’s perspective. When they need help with your product, how do they get it? Is it easy for them to get a resolution? What is the response time? All of these questions need to be addressed independently to ensure that your customer is ecstatic about the treatment they receive from your company.
5. Are your customers reacting positively to recent changes? Companies are always in flux in their processes – perhaps a new website or web portal, or a new organizational hierarchy. Whatever the case, have the changes you’ve made left a positive or negative impression on your customers? Have changes made it easier or more difficult to interact with you?
6. Do customers believe your performance has improved over the past twelve months? It’s so important in today’s business climate to know what the prevailing attitudes are towards your company. You’ve made great strides – you think – in the last twelve months, but do your customers benefit from those trends? You have to get your finger on the pulse of your ‘approval rating’ over a snapshot period of time to progress.
7. Is your content marketing strategy providing customers with the information most desired/valued? You’re a subject matter expert in your field and you try to be an authority in your field by releasing information to your audience that you hope resonates with them… but does it? Are you giving them content that they need or do they interpret your content as empty fluff? Are they able to easily access your content through your publishing channels or are you missing a chunk of your audience?
8. Is your level of involvement in social media in line with customer expectations? Customers expect to be able to interact with companies and brands on social media. Is your social media presence obligatory or functional? Do customers feel like your social media presence is in line with their expectations? Social media is a two-way street which can damage or prop up your reputation. You have to take a step back and understand how clients view your social media activity.
Getting a true and accurate reading on your Customer Experience is tricky. Clients may show you smiles but are they saying something else when you hang up the phone on your weekly check-in with them? At Clear Seas Research, we develop a customized research solution to determine what your clients REALLY think about their experience with you. We’ve found that the third-party approach is effective because clients are more likely to be forthcoming when they are not talking to you directly. The results we provide our clients enable them to better engage with customers to develop stronger relationships that will stand the test of time, ultimately resulting in more business for the company.
Contact Clear Seas Research to learn more about how to provide your customers with the most engaging total experience to foster more brand advocates.