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3 Simple Customer Experience Tips every Business Leader MUST KNOW!

Written By: Kushal Dev, Co-Founder – Customer Guru

It was Friday and I was meeting a bunch of buddies from school after a long time. A couple of them after almost a decade!

I remembered them as the noisy and fun lot who were good at 2 things – Eating and Drinking!

I was looking for a fun place in Bangalore and called a few known eateries. All of them were prompt in answering and good at selling their business, which I totally understand and appreciate. After a few calls and not yet finding the right place I called this fine dining restaurant and spoke with Alex at the reception.

After hearing me out Alex firstly apologised as he did not think his fine dining restaurant was something I was looking for and referred me to another place which suited my needs.

We ended up at this place referred by Alex but on reaching there we realised that my once loud and fun bunch of friends have been tamed by the big bad world and preferred a sophisticated, calm and high end restaurant something similar to where Alex worked. I ended up calling Alex again only to realise that his shift was over. He however arranged my table and when I reached his restaurant we were well taken care of by an army of staff. I had a great night out with friends and Alex made a customer and brand advocate for life.

Alex was my Customer Experience Hero of the day. He came across as a genuine, empathetic, smart and empowered individual who understood his customer’s needs. Does his restaurant owner speak with him? What lessons can we all learn from Alex?

Use every touchpoint as an opportunity to delight your customers

Organisations must shift their focus towards delighting customers, not simply minimising complaints. Effective listening unlocks opportunities to improve the customer experience, by learning from the complaints, correcting the root cause and implementing feedback loops to encourage advocacy.

Make it easy for your customers to reach you

Organisations must make it easy for customers to reach out to them and, importantly, they must demonstrate they value the customer and their opinions. By listening to customers at key touchpoints and responding consistently, organisations can generate increased loyalty and advocacy.

Listen to what your frontline staff is saying

You frontline staff is the one interacting most with your customers. Talk to them, the insights they can provide on your customer needs is priceless. Share ideas with them and empower them to make choices in the best interest of your customers. Not only will you create an army of brand promoters but also build a team which is satisfied and geared to help you succeed.

Do you have a story to share? Would love to hear it on kushal@customerguru.in

  • SUBRAMANIAN PALLAVOOR

    You said the obvious Kushal. Being from the Hospitality Sector I understand the value and importance of the feedback the front line staff can provide. I am a Finance Professional and Was the CFO in a leading five star hotel till recently. Despite this, I was constantly making it a point to interact with all stakeholders including Guests on regular basis. This was part of our job in our hotel where our boss the GM expected that each and every HOD must have thorough knowledge of the operations and must be ready to step in when needed. It suited me well since I was a keen learner. Added to this in this Industry a CFO cannot afford to sit in his chamber doing number crunching alone. He needs to have a deep knowledge and understanding since he is the second in command in the hotel and is part and parcel of major decisions made. Hence his total involvement is an absolute must. This means constant innovation to stay competitive. This also necessitated my constant interaction with staff at all levels. This gave me deep insights into the functioning of the hotel. how things can be improved including guest experience etc; I would like to share an experience I had . We were required to act as Duty Managers on certain days. This means the entire hotel operations are under the Duty Manager for that day and he needs to resolve issues such that the hotel does not suffer. We had this tough customer and his band of friends who had come over for having a lazy Sunday brunch along with drinks and fun. To his bad lick , the car which he had come in by was damaged slightly by the valet parking driver. This gentleman started to create a ruckus even tough everything possible was done to calm him down. He would have none of it and threatened to take the matter to the top management and recommend my sacking. Fortunately, I had had a word with my boss and already obtained his approval to get the car repaired at hotels cost. Hence , when he called up the bosses he got his reply that things will be taken care of. This particular incident taught me valuable lesson and reinforced my belief in having one one to one chat and feedback from front line staff who are in the firing line.

    • Maurice FitzGerald

      Well, the third point matches a discussion I was having with my team yesterday. Now that we are moving to measuring Customer Effort Score for “quote to cash” and support experience, we also want to ask the support staff three questions: 1) To what extent do you agree with the following statement: we make it easy for our customers to resolve their issues”; (2) Why? (3) What should we improve? It will be interesting to learn where the customer and staff views on question 3 differ. Related to this, I should be able to announce free software to analyze the text responses automatically at some point this week.

      That said, I certainly don’t agree with the concept of using every touchpoint as an opportunity to delight your customers. That concept is obsolete, and research data just does not support it. c.f. “The Effortless Experience”. It is fine as an approach if you have unlimited staff and money. Otherwise, there are whole categories of basic things that just have to be “good enough”: You need to be selective about where to use your scarce resources. No general ever won a battle by saying, “Here is a great idea: the battlefileld is really wide. Let’s line up our entire army two deep across the whole thing and march forward.” Wining involves studying the enemy and doing a select few things differently or better than they do.

      Maurice FitzGerald – VP Customer Experience – HP Software. Views I express are my own.

      • kushal

        Thanks for reading and sharing your opinion Maurice. While I agree on not channelising all energy and ammunition on all touch-points of the customer journey and focus on the ones with maximum impact, I still believe that there are interactions with customers on a daily basis which impact the overall experience. As customer facing representatives if we can deliver service with a smile and some empathy it goes a long way in delighting customers and does not require a lot of effort.

        Effective listening of customer touch points helps us measure their impact and the root cause analysis helps in analysing the cost of enhancing the CX at these touch points. Based on this cost-impact analysis companies can prioritise initiatives and focus on optimal utilisation of resources in delighting customers.

      • SUBRAMANIAN PALLAVOOR

        Thanks for your insight Maurice. I particularly liked your theory of not touching everything. Yes, otherwise as you rightly observed, we will need huge resources which we do not have. Also in our quest for touching everything we may miss the wood for the trees. Meanwhile , eagerly awaiting your new software to analyze text responses.

    • kushal

      Great story Subramanian. It is a good example of how to give a one company experience to a customer and not react to customer issues in silos. Thanks for sharing.

      • SUBRAMANIAN PALLAVOOR

        Thanks Kushal. It is essential that the customer feels wanted and for this it is necessary to give him a wholesome experience. After all we are ambassadors for our Company.