Keep it simple
After 25 years working with local, national and international businesses to improve the customer experience, and having analysed tens of thousands of customer comments, research and complaints, I believe there are 7 key mistakes (or sins!) a business can make, any one of which will mean that they don’t deliver a great experience for their customers.
The first, and arguably the most important, is MAKE IT EASY for the business, not the customer.
I’ve seen many businesses use lean management techniques to cut costs, normally by reducing the number of staff. In my experience, removing work the business has to do always increases the amount of effort the customer has to make.
So how do you make it easy for both the business and the customer? I think it starts by looking at your business through a customer’s eyes:
- Start by listing all the things that a customer may want to do with your business – for example get some information, buy a product or service, make an enquiry, renew or change something, track an order, have a problem resolved.
- Then think about how they would want to do each of those – how do your customers want to interact with you – online, in person, by phone. Not only that, what channels do they want to use for each reason you have already listed – is a single channel appropriate or would they want to use more than one? For example, a customer may be happy using your website to get information and buy a product, but they may want to talk to someone if they have a problem. They may want to see a product before they buy, or talk to a salesperson.
- Then compare your processes – for each reason a customer would interact with you, draw out how they can currently do that – see if there are any issues for the customer or the business. For example, could a customer use your website to get information about a product, order it online and track their order – cost effective for the business and simple for the customer, or do they have to phone at any point, increasing complexity and cost?
- Where you see that a customer has to make more effort than absolutely necessary, change the process – make it simpler, with as few touch points as possible and an obvious route for the customer to take. That cuts customer effort, reducing the likelihood of queries and helping reduce costs.
- And finally – tell customers about the change you have made – there is no point making a change unless you show your customers that you listen to them – and, by telling them, more will use your new processes, helping manage your costs.
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