The World's Most Simple & Effective CX Improvement Plan
How do I improve my customer experience? It’s the golden question looming over almost every service business serious about staying ahead of their competitors. In reality, there’s a lot you can do – personalization, customer journey mapping, gathering feedback, introducing technology…but what are the most simple and most importantly the most effective methods that have tangible impacts on repeat business, referrals and revenue? During our time working with thousands of people-powered businesses around the globe, we’ve consolidated the three most important things you can do that are proven to significantly improve your customer experience.
1. Let Customer Feedback Do The Work For You
When looking to improve the customer experience, you can quickly be overwhelmed by questions. Where should I focus my attention? What makes a customer want to do business with us again? Will customers respond to this? By collecting real-time customer feedback, you can stop guessing the answers to these questions, and start taking action on actual customer sentiment to create experiences that truly resonate.
There’s a specific recipe for success when it comes to feedback. When done wrong, collecting feedback can actually create more work.
To make feedback do the work for you, make sure its:
- Real-Time: Ideally, you should be automatically collecting real-time feedback directly after customers receive a service from you. With real-time feedback (as opposed to cumbersome quarterly surveys) you extract the most genuine feedback from your customers that can surface trends as they are happening, not months later, and can then be acted upon in the moment in small, incremental improvements.
- Short Surveys: The days of 20 question surveys that are sent out every quarter are long gone. We recommend asking your customer between 1-3 questions, using key customer experience metrics like NPS, 5-Star, CSAT or Customer Effort Score – whatever makes the most sense for your business. Not only are short surveys more pleasant and easy for customers to fill out, but it makes analyzing data SO much easier. At a glance, managers can quickly see which branches and locations are acing it and which need a helping hand to reach their customer experience goals.
- Shared: Collecting real-time feedback without sharing it is like collecting winning lotto tickets without cashing them in: the feedback isn’t worth much. For feedback to do the work for you, it needs to be shared with frontline teams – the very people responsible for delivering customer experiences. This way, frontline teams gain a firm grasp on what they’re doing well and what they can work on to improve customer satisfaction.
Unfortunately, many service businesses are collecting irregular feedback using long, boring surveys and struggling to find the time to collate their findings and share it with their frontline teams. If they do get a peak, the opportunity to act on the feedback is often long gone.
So, make it real-time, ask only the most important questions and share your answers with your customer-facing teams. Three small things that will have colossal impacts on your customer experience.
2. Invest in Simple Technology
Of course you can only collect real-time feedback, automatically send out surveys and act on the results with the right technology in place. But for technology to be welcomed with open arms by both managers, frontline employees and customers it needs to be not just powerful, but SIMPLE. No frustrating, hair-tearing-out overwhelming systems that make you think back on pre-internet times with rose tinted glasses.
Like feedback, there’s a recipe for success when it comes to investing in the right technology. Make sure it’s:
- Easy to Implement & Scale: Rolling out the new technology should be a simple and exciting process for managers and frontline employees. Folks should be able to quickly grasp what the tech is for, how it will help them and how they can use it to support them in their work.
- Easy to Use & Access: The technology needs to be easy to use and access for four core groups: Decision makers, managers, frontline employees and customers.
For executives, the tech needs to provide them with a clear, easy-to-digest high level overview. For example, a NPS leaderboard showing the highest and lowest performing locations, and trends over time.
For managers, it needs to be a simple game plan for the day. First up, which customers need immediate attention, then who on their customer-facing team needs an extra boost, who needs some focused coaching, and who is absolutely killing it and deserves a pat on the back?
For frontline teams, the tech needs to seamlessly integrate into their day-to-day, and give them information they can use in the moment. For example, many frontline employees work out of office, so need to be able to access the tech via their mobile phones in order for them to make the most out of it.
For customers, the tech should be fun and easy to interact with. For example, a personalized SMS message or survey request that goes straight to their phones after they receive a service.
- Easy to Drive Action: The problem with a lot of customer experience technology is that while it might be good for gathering information, it’s not designed to help teams take action on that data. The technology should empower your teams to immediately follow up on customer feedback through triggers, automations and quick feedback loops.
Simple and effective improvements to your customer experience starts with simple and effective technology. Make sure it’s easy to implement & scale, use & access and is designed for action, not just analysis.
3. Empower the Folks at the Frontline
One of the most SIMPLEST and most effective ways to improve your customer experience is to regularly show appreciation to your customer-facing staff, and empower them to take ownership.
An empowered employee is one of the best things that can happen to your business: they will take pride and responsibility for the customer experience, are confident and motivated, and are always inclined to go the extra mile for customers.
Think about it: who’s more likely to perform better? Albert, an employee who receives zero recognition, or Jade, an employee who gets daily shoutouts, is rewarded, and knows how much going the extra mile is worth? All bets on Jade.
Here’s just a few ways to build ownership and empowerment:
- Everyone should understand how their efforts make a difference. Make sure your customer-facing teams are connected to real-time feedback. When positive feedback comes through, they should be the first to see those shiny 5 stars and the thoughtful review.
- Make customer experience a part of your culture. Get ideas from frontline staff, then act on them. Discuss glowing customer feedback in meetings, and show your team the scope they have to go the extra mile, and how much it is worth.
- Give your high performers shoutouts in company-wide emails and in-person meetings.
- Offer incentives. One way to clearly link action to purpose is through tangible rewards for awesome work. Link those rewards to customer experience and you have a powerful combo.
- Create awards for those with the highest NPS scores each month, and celebrate their success over a nice lunch or celebratory cake!
The domino effect from empowered employees is neverending: happier employees, increased productivity, happier customers, better reviews, more business.
While there are many steps you can take to improve your customer experience, making the three above a priority will significantly level up your employee experience, customer satisfaction and revenue.
- Collect real-time, short soundbites of customer feedback and share it with your frontline teams.
- Use technology that’s simple, easy to use and is designed for action.
- Recognize and celebrate your frontline teams on a daily basis.