1. Listen closely
Listen to what your customer is saying — and really listen to them. Pay close attention to the entirety of the customer journey — not just the actual moment when money exchanges owners, but everything from the first encounter to the moment when the customer walks away. If you look at the customer journey as a holistic journey and allow your clients to express their feelings and opinions in the exact moment when they’re feeling them, you’ll start to see your entire business in a new light.
2. Be transparent
A transparent feedback loop builds confidence and trust. In customer service situations, transparency brings the customer closer to the customer service clerk and brings the experience to the forefront. The customer is no longer invisible or just passing through.
3. Allow mistakes
A culture based on trial and error empowers your employees to take initiative when an issue pops up. It allows for an open culture to flourish: when mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn and try something new, people bloom. You’ll see creativity flourish everywhere around you. It’s just a matter of mindset.
4. Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes
Being customer-committed means that the customers are truly the focal point. For us as a company, it has been extremely useful to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes. Doing so can be quite simple and straight-forward: you don’t necessarily need to shell out cash on big consultancies — we simply turned an ordinary meeting room into a customer journey with post-its, print-outs, photos, sound and video. We wanted to find out what our customers see when they look at us. In general, we try our best to practice what we preach: we often map out and review our customers’ needs and wants and try to understand them as best as possible.
5. Empower everybody
Give a voice to people and lift them. Understand your customer by listening and reacting to their feedback and acknowledge and thank them when they do. It’s equally important to thank and empower your employees — perhaps even more important. As you give a voice to your customer, you should also give a voice to your employee, as no change can be implemented or progress made if your own people aren’t on board. The way we see it, a successful customer journey does not just rely on customer service. The job is all of ours to do: the developer’s and the accountant’s, the salespeople’s and the marketing director’s. It’s everybody’s job.
6. Focus on your existing customers
Instead of putting all of your energy into customer acquisition, try giving customer retention a chance. Focus on keeping your existing customers content by understanding their needs and goals. Although customer retention might not seem as appealing as customer acquisition, it will teach you. If you don’t understand your existing customers, you’ll have a harder time improving your business. Today, experiences often overrule both price and features, or price and product, and it’s worth it to take a moment to stop and re-evaluate how you keep the people who already do business with you happy.
7. Act fast
If you make it easy for your employee or client to give feedback right in the moment, the piece of feedback has a bigger impact. It’s also streamlined to everybody’s benefit: you don’t lose time on processing the feedback through multiple loops and the process is more efficient. It also turns the process into a conversation: making the feedback loop immediate makes it effortless to receive and react to any opinions and issues. You’re able to react to it right away. In a way, it’s extremely empowering: everything happens in the here and now.