I design user interfaces & workflows, communications, perform marketing analysis, and I work on developing brand identity. It is easy to get disconnected from your customers when you’re interacting over a virtual medium of a website.
And when I ask friends in my field questions about the specific pain points, desires & needs of their customers (as they relate to the website), I almost always get a blank stare. So it appears I am not alone in seeing the potential disconnect.
So, through mistakes and successes, I’ve jotted down a few things I’ve learned about the ethos of customer experience management:
- Get Your Hands Dirty with Deep Customer Analysis – Without acute segment analysis, you might not even notice you have a customer retention issue. The inflow of new customer revenue sometimes covers up the loss of revenue from recently departed veteran customers.
- Welcome Feedback – Provide ongoing platforms for direct customer feedback within your inbound channels of communication. Encourage honest feedback and continually reiterate and demonstrate a commitment to acting on customer feedback. It builds trust, reduces customer frustration and feelings of alienation, demonstrates transparency and seriously contains issues from exploding into PR disasters so you don’t need to worry about reputation management on communication channels over which you have very little control.
- Initiate One-to-One Contact – Marketers shouldn’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to individual customers. To improve customer retention, throwing out blanket apology emails can help, surveys can help, offering refunds through customer service channels can help, but it means a lot more to customers when marketers and other managers of customer experience proactively contact them with the express purpose of fixing their pain.
- Create a Culture of Perpetually Re-evaluating Customer Experience – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the antithesis of a customer-centric mindset. There is always room for improvement in customer experience, so build a culture of ongoing revision and enhancement. You’ll do a much better job of preempting customer service, satisfaction & retention issues. Rain or shine, evaluate retention. Just because customers stopped complaining doesn’t mean the problem is fixed – it might mean they’ve given up and left already.