For the survival of any company, it is imperative to be able to attract and retain customers or clients. Every business is aware of this requirement, and yet we often and very regularly encounter bad service from the businesses that we deal with. Good customer service is not easy to achieve, but perfecting it definitely gives any business a competitive advantage over the other players in the market.
Objective excellence: In setting the standard for customer or client satisfaction, nothing less than outstanding should be acceptable. The user of your service or product will not know the inner workings of your company, and as such will not know why the delays were caused, why the company representative seemed in a bad mood, or why the product they received was subpar. As the owner and/manager of your business, your assessment of the quality you provide your clientele should be objective and result based, free of any understanding of the “why”.
Innovation: To be focused on customer experience, your company must keep a constant eye on opportunities for innovation. This means being relentless in seeking new research methods and techniques that will give you a complete perspective on the users’ experiences. This also means being highly aware of your competitive environment, to ensure that what you are offering is better than the rest. Innovation is not only having a way of finding the information that will help improve you company, but also having the willingness and ability to adopt an opportunity that presents itself through research.
Timing: Learning about your customer’s experience should happen at every stage of your development cycle. For example, if you are on the verge of launching a new product, starting your user experience research at this stage will not achieve much. The only changes you can make at this point are cosmetic at best. The most effective way to handle this is to ensure that your design process is centered on the user experience, and not the other way round. Timing things correctly will eliminate that risk.
Top clientele: As a part of your customer based process, it is obvious that you need to know your clientele very well. It can be even more beneficial however, to know your top customers exceptionally well in particular. They are your top clientele for a reason; seek them out, foster those relationships, and interact with them directly. Often this will help give you a better insight into your market, since your biggest clients will often be the first to hear about the cutting edge and latest developments in your field of which you may be unaware.
Long-term results and training: Be comfortable with long-term business results. Pushing for quarterly results can overshadow the business investment rational or internal operations. This also involves a heavy investment of time and resources into training employees to adopt a customer-obsessed attitude. This may involve learning to do business in a different way for many of your employees, but is necessary for the process to flow smoothly, since even with all the great ideas and software in place to help become more customer focused, ultimately it will depend on your employees to implement it.
Policy: Your company should have a well conceived customer service program in place. This program clearly defines how the company will hire, how and when it will train employees in customer service, and it documents procedures and clearly delineates company customer service policies. It also outlines how employees will be evaluated and how customer satisfaction will be measured. In short, outstanding customer service won’t happen without a well conceived and well managed approach to making it happen.