When I walk into my local chicken shop I always feel that Mary, the owner, has roasted chickens, prepared salads and put on extra rice pudding for my family’s Friday night meal. Mary welcomes me with open arms, greets me and my son by first name and always has an honest and empathetic conversation. She knows exactly what my order will be and always has new food items on offer that I may like to try and buy next time. It’s the ultimate customer experience I have on a weekly basis. I always compare other shopping experiences to my local chicken shop.
So why can’t all my online and offline experiences be like Mary’s chicken shop?
In a world where data storage is getting bigger and cheaper, technology is faster and wiser and the Internet of Things (IoT) promises to make my life convenient and happier, organisations still struggle to get my first name right! Is this because they may be over complicating the whole customer experience hype? Are they too focused on getting the product right rather than listening to the customer's needs? Many debates can be had but, I believe that if we stick to the basics in a big wide world of “things”, then the ultimate customer experience will grow naturally.
Count down! My top four ways to make customer experience like visiting your local Chicken Shop:
4. Greet your customers and get their name RIGHT!
My telco provider still can’t get my name my right on their billing system, even with numerous attempts of me telling them to update it. It often makes me wonder whether they have their data quality system switched on. Personalisation with every communication channel is crucial for customer relationships and knowing that someone really does care about getting your name “right” makes you as the consumer take them more seriously when doing business.
Unfortunately, I have seen organisations jump on the one-to-one marketing movement without proper planning. While implementation can be intricate, proper planning on how to get the basics right is critical to create that “local chicken shop” customer experience.
3. Make the store inviting and easy to buy
Before I walk into the chicken shop I am already salivating at the choices on offer that Mary’s created. She knows I will definitely buy because of how easy and inviting she has made her shop. Without even realising it, Mary has intelligently advertised the right and relevant products for her target market. That’s probably through years of experience and historical “conversations” in her head.
In a digitally spinning world, you have to make advertising intelligent. Extracting data insights from all touchpoints of digital and social can help drive your company’s marketing efforts. The benefits of applying even basic analytics to this data can provide the ability to forecast and segment, to ensure that advertising for sales are more targeted to make the customer experience richer.
2. Always listen empathetically to feedback, emotion and sentiment
Have you rung a call centre and found that the person on the other end is doing all the talking and not listening to your real needs? Why? Because – they have a script to follow and an outcome to achieve that is not at all empathetic to your needs. I recently reviewed a project where we used voice-to-text technology to further analyse the two-way conversations between agent and callers. We discovered that the agent script and sentiment led the customer down a path to churn from the company. Not the outcome expected! In my recent experience, it seems that call centres are so far behind in listening to the real voice of the customer – actual two-way conversations. Instead, they tend to extract “negative” words that the agent has transcribed from the call. See anything wrong with this picture? Yes – it’s not the “Voice of the Customer” but more like an interpretation on the transcript of the agent’s conversation. At SAS we "drink our own champagne" by listening to the true webchat voice of customers - find out more here.
1. Make it a memorable and seamless experience
If your customer enjoys their encounter with you, they will be more likely to return. So make it a memorable experience and live up to your customers’ expectations. Invest in synchronising your data and build a platform for long term relationship – not just transactional. Integrate your channels of communications so the conversation feels like one seamless conversation with your company. I get so annoyed when I am on a service call with a provider and I have to explain my story five times before I get to the right agent. Even when I have already “Tweeted”, “Instagramed” and “Facebooked” my issues.
Finally, don’t make excuses about accessing, data, legacy processes, siloed systems, limited skills or high costs. As in today’s world these excuses are longstanding and should have been resolved by now. So make it a mandate to modernise your customer experience before your customer has moved to your forward-thinking competitor.
The above described are the old school, traditional customer experience basics that your grandmother may talk to you about. My visits to the local Milk Bar (General Store) when growing up are memorable because of the experience created. We just need to take the basics and apply them to the wide world of Big Data and Analytics. I'd suggest you view this checklist to get started Analytics checklist for Customer Intelligence.
All opinions are my own based on conversations and feedback from the professional field and customers looking to create the ultimate customer experience.