“I want to improve, but I don’t know where to begin.”
This phrase has been uttered countless times by business decision makers. Most executives have a good understanding of how customer experience drives bottom-line revenue and growth. However, the actual process of improvement sometimes proves to be more elusive. Executives want to improve touchpoints, but they don’t know which to address. Or they want to understand their customers better, but aren’t sure what they need to know.
Consider the following pieces of customer requirements, behaviors, demographics and attitudes when you create a framework for customer experience improvement.
First and foremost, business executives and managers should understand what their customers need. Specifically, they need to understand the core function their products/services deliver. From there, they can dive into the nuances: how their products/services fits into their customers’ lives, their expectations in terms of product/service delivery and what parts of the customer journey are most important.
This platform gives managers a starting point to identify their most important and underperforming customer touchpoints — the points of contact which, if improved, would do the most to improve their overall customer satisfaction.
Certain customer behaviors are important to understanding their overall experience. The most obvious indicators of satisfaction are repeat purchases and other actions, such as personal referrals and positive reviews. However, other actions can help businesses understand their personal weak points and what they do well. Understanding how customers progress in their pursuit of your business’s set of products/services sheds light on the changing needs of your consumers.
For example, an investment advisor may have proprietary finance tools as well as professionals on-hand to offer consulting services. If customers pursue the software, over the course of their interactions with this company, they have personal capacity and willingness to analyze data, with some help. However, if they are more interested in hiring a personal financial consultant, they may want a professional to do the heavy lifting and desire a more “hands-off” experience.
Understanding these different customer behaviors will help your company learn more about the needs and requirements you’ve already identified, and will tell you an extra layer of how they can best be served.
Demographics are a core part of any customer understanding. It would be negligent to say the core demographic questions (age, income, location, marital status, etc.) could tell you everything you need to know about your customer, but it certainly adds a layer of comprehension.
Most customers have certain characteristics based on these demographics. Affluent customers tend to behave and interact with brands differently than those who have a household income below the median. Millennial customers tend to have higher expectations of corporate social responsibility. Importantly as well, customer demographic information is often available to most companies — they simply need to aggregate it and process it in order to gain a better understanding.
Learning about your customers’ demographics may seem like an obvious move. However, this type of learning is only considered obvious because of its popularity and power to create a profile of your customer base.
Attitudes are a difficult aspect of customer feedback to manage and calculate. Usually, a back story provided by soliciting qualitative feedback from customers is needed to understand their perspectives. However, this attitudinal information can help paint a picture to align with the numbers.
For example, during a website survey, customers are typically able to rate their experience, including different points like ease of site navigation or speed of getting what they need. However, an open-ended question soliciting a written response can help explain why they rated their experience as such, describe pain points and offer constructive criticism for how to improve.
Be sure to lay the groundwork for your brand interactions by soliciting this kind of attitudinal feedback, even if it’s passively or in an unstructured manner, such as soliciting online reviews or asking customers face-to-face about their experiences. The feedback you gain lays the groundwork for how your customer experience improvement begins.