Viewing Customer Experience With Consumers Eyes
It’s time for us all to switch hats and look at our entire businesses from the point of view of a customer. Ideally, all companies would do this. But while many have become too large, or perhaps just turned into dinosaurs, and couldn’t change quickly if their existence depended on it, you and I don’t have that excuse. And the writing is on the wall for any company that is unable to see all business decisions from the point of view of their intended consumers. To survive, we must put ourselves in our customers’ shoes and provide the high level of Customer Experience we expect to find.
Be Your Own Customer
Just yesterday, we published a piece by our dear friend Paolo Fabrizio, entitled “4 Sentences That Make Your Customers Mad”. You know more than 4, I’m sure!
One of the sentences he chose was “Sorry, that’s not our policy”.
This is a twist on by far my most hated sentence. The words “It is our policy”, guarantee to elicit a passionate, angry response from me. Nobody can finish that sentence if they dare start it. My response is always:
“I also have a policy. If I screw up, I pay. If you screw up, you pay”
It is a sentence opening that reeks of disconnect from all that really matters in business.
Any company that can mess up in any way, then have their representatives utter those words to customers – those whose purchases keep them in business – will see no more of my money and I wish oblivion on them. To my mind, they deserve it.
They have stopped being people. They are now an entity that is larger, and in their minds, more important, than those whose money they seek. And in the now completely changed world of Digital Marketing, it has ceased to work.
Important Questions To All Business Owners
- Would you buy what you sell?
- Would you buy it from your company?
- Most tellingly: If you have employees and presumably offer them discounts, do they buy from you?
I constantly hear from employees of big companies that they don’t buy the products or services of their employers. Considering they will be any company’s second most important brand advocates – after happy customers – this is something that should be seen as a red flag. Unless they came to you with a long standing brand loyalty for another company, you should wonder why your hoped for ambassadors take their business elsewhere. And if you’re too big to care? Well, that’s the second sign that you are a dinosaur with numbered days!
Want Proof of That?
Not much less than 2 years ago now, Mark Schaefer wrote “Personal brand or company brand? The new realities of life online.” He presented the following facts, within an important article:
Edelman reports that an employee advocate is two times more trusted than a CEO.
On average, 92 percent of an employee’s Twitter network will be new exposure for the brand.
Brand messages are re-shared 24 times more frequently when distributed by employees versus a company.
Weber Shandwick found that 98 percent of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50 percent are already posting about their company.
So if your employees aren’t on board, you’re doing more than one thing wrong. The most important aspect of selling your products or services to your employees (if they are relevant to consumers, of course), is not the money you might make from an individual sale. It is the brand trust and potential sales you gain from them evangelizing your brand.
It has been over 3 years since Brian Kramer published his book “There is No B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human: #H2H”. Even as we inherently knew the truth of it’s crux before reading the book and/or supporting articles, it was highly influential.
While most of us still use the terms B2B and B2C, the concepts of Human Marketing have taken hold in most quarters. Your brand must be humanized as you are ultimately selling to Humans. And certainly, the pre and post-sales experiences you offer must be people friendly.
Which brings us back to hat switching!
Customer Experience is Paramount – However Big You Are!
You’ve seen this time and again. Your customers have any number of options when making purchases. You won’t sell them a great product or service if your ordering or sign up process is cumbersome.
I have an analogy for you. When people ask me to do them favours, but make me have to work harder than should be necessary to actually give them the help they are seeking, I say:
“Help me to help you”
Highly adaptable to the entire sales cycle, isn’t it! People want everything to be easy. And there is no reason that it shouldn’t be. Here are a few more quite obvious questions for you:
- How easy do you require a checkout process to be?
- Is your checkout at least as easy as that?
- Depending on whether you are selling physical or virtual goods, or a service, is your response time for customer service inquiries at least as good as the best you’ve ever encountered?
- If you have any issue that causes you to seek a refund, how pissed off do you get if it isn’t easy to complete?
- Is your refund process as easy as the best you’ve ever been on the consumer end of?
- How easy do you like cancelations of ongoing contracts or agreements to be?
- Are your contracts that easy for people to cancel?
At the very least, you have to provide the best service available for your niche, and at least as good as would make you happy if you were the consumer.
We’re nearing a time when affordable Customer Service bots will improve the customer experience even in business areas not currently associated with 24/7 service. Indeed, the days of “A representative will get back to you during regular business hours” are rapidly approaching their end.
It’s important for all business owners and their staff, if they have any, to don their consumer hats with every decision that will affect their end users/clients/consumers.
It is true that a speedy and positive response to a fail anywhere in your process can turn a negative situation into a positive one. However, it’s important learn quickly from both your customers’ experiences, and from your own, when you are on that end of things. You simply can’t afford to make the same mistake twice. And never put anyone through anything you don’t like yourself. Chances are, you’re not actually the fussiest person out there, even if you’re also not the biggest pushover!
It won’t always be easy to stay ahead of the game. But it’s surely essential that you are never far behind it.
Over To You
How do you use bad experiences with other companies into customer experience improvements for yours? Have you had any eureka moments when dealing with other companies that have spurred you to make urgent changes in your own processes? If you have any experiences of where donning a consumer hat have helped you improve your own business, please share them. And naturally, any other comments you feel moved to write will be greatly appreciated and responded to.
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