The customer experience (CX) refers to every instance your customer comes into contact with your company, from sales and marketing to customer service before and after the sale.
What your customer experiences as they interact with your business can make or break you. If your sales structure is overly complicated or confusing, customers may decide to do business with a competitor instead.
In our second installment of our Automation Authority seminar series on digital transformation, Mike Marks of Indian River Consulting Group shared the five best ways to enhance your customer experience.
Watch Part 2 of the fall seminar series with Mike Marks here.
- Interview your customers
Before making significant changes, identify which parts of your system are scaring customers away. The best way to do this? Speak with your customers directly. Conducting interviews with buyers allows them to provide insight into what your company is doing well and where it needs improvement.
Although many businesses use online and over-the-phone surveys, Mike says these tools waste time and resources. Rather than giving you an in-depth look into your customers’ experience, surveys yield low response rates and only provide surface-level answers. Instead, you should speak with customers personally, either in person or over the phone.
He recommends making a short list of interview questions focusing on the customer – not the company. He suggests questions such as:
- What would help you the most in services or support that you can’t find with any of your suppliers today?
- When an issue comes up, what kind of response times are critical vs. nice to have?
- If you had $100,000 to invest in improving your sourcing effectiveness, where would you spend it?
- Map out key touchpoints
While interviewing your customers, you may discover more issues with your customer experience than you anticipated. Mike points out that receiving critical or negative comments can be frustrating, but feedback is necessary for meaningful change.
While you speak with customers, begin mapping out all the areas customers interact with your business. Are these interactions happening in places you didn’t expect? What processes are causing the most friction and taking the most time? What is hurting your customers’ experience? Mike suggests placing the data you receive from interviews into different categories. For instance, you can organize feedback into categories such as:
- Order-to-cash processes
- Order fulfillment
- Inquiry-submittal processes
- Customer service
Once feedback is separated by department and function, it will be easier to get a clear picture of what needs to change. Mike recommends focusing on significant problems first and working your way down to minor inconveniences.
- Form a focus group to get feedback
Once you have a plan in mind, create a focus group and ask for suggestions. Mike says customers will tell you whether your solution is beneficial or you need to go back to the drawing board.
Mike points out that when a team gets together and tries to solve a problem internally, without understanding the customer’s point of view, they are at risk of becoming trapped in an echo chamber. It is essential to involve your customers at every step to develop a meaningful solution.
- Implement change
Implementing organizational change can be as simple as streamlining communications to as complex as fully digitalizing your operations. Begin by asking yourself what is required to achieve your goals. Will your company move towards greater digitalization? Will you implement AI automation? How will your team adapt to these changes?
Mike says that investing in AI can make a massive difference in your company’s operations by simplifying and automating processes. He says to digitize everything possible by automating the 20% of events that create 80% of the friction. With technology, you can improve your company’s efficiency, communications, inventory management, order fulfillment processes and overall customer journey.
“The goal is to make a non-recurring investment capture a customer. And if you give a really good customer journey, you are making their life very simple. Everybody wants simple. So if you can solve their problem, then all of a sudden your share of wallet will increase,” Mike says.
This process will take time. Mike points out the importance of keeping your team up-to-date to ensure everyone understands why changes are coming and necessary. Although enhancing your customer experience may require a significant investment of time and money, the benefits will be worthwhile.
Enhancing your customer journey is a process – not a project. You will need to continually adapt and improve to ensure you are providing a high-quality customer experience. Create a performance feedback loop. Predictive analysis combined with regular data reviews will allow you to anticipate problems and correct them before they have time to impact your customers.
“Remember, you’re not going to get it right the first time. But if you have that repeating loop where you’re going through this all the time, every time you go through the loop, it’s going to get clear, and you’re going to get better,” Mike says.
Hear more from Mike in the third installment of our Automation Authority seminar, where he will be discussing how to maximize ROI from your technology investments. Reserve your spot here.