4 Ways to Deliver Great Customer Experiences Today

Customer Strategy
Customer Experience
In today's highly competitive economy, great customer experiences are vital to the ongoing success of any organization.

In today's highly competitive economy, great customer experiences are vital to the ongoing success of any organization. But change takes time. Implementing new corporate initiatives can be a slow process that requires jumping through numerous hoops before igniting a major transformation.However, it's possible to introduce minor changes that build up to significant improvements. Here are four quick-wins for improving the customer experience.

1. Turn reports into actionable steps.
It's easy to fall into a habit of tracking the customer experience while failing to act on the report's findings. Reports are delivered every day, week, or month and discussions are held, but few changes are put into place. Does this sound familiar? Shake things up by looking for patterns or issues that can be acted upon that day or week. And if it's an issue that can't be fixed immediately, follow up with an apology and possibly a refund or voucher as a courtesy.

2. Group customer needs under personas.
Customers aren't created equal, so a "quick win" for one customer may not be relevant for someone else. For example, an email educating new users on how to get the most value from a product's features could appear out-of-touch to a long-time customer. Successful customer engagement lies in understanding your customer's preferences and needs. Creating customer segments based on different purchases, pricing levels, or other data points will make it easier to quickly identify opportunities to personalize and improve the customer experience.

3. Actively listen to your customers.
Letting your customers know their opinions matter builds trust. While you can't implement every customer suggestion, it's important to show your customers that their feedback is important. For example, Starbucks created MyStarbucksIdea.com as a place where customers can submit ideas and see which ones have been put into action. Short videos, blog posts, or emails are another way to communicate with your customers and show them how you're taking their suggestions seriously.

4. Strategically surpass customer expectations.
When you exceed a customer's expectations, you create positive associations with your brand. These positive associations add up and contribute to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth. Over-delivering across all touch points can get expensive, though, and eventually you'll reach a point of diminishing returns. Instead, focus on one touch point and do the best you can to improve it.

If research shows that customers in your industry are accustomed to waiting on long lines, for example, find a way to provide quicker service. Consider offering better self-service options, hiring more staff, or using another time-saving approach. Strategic improvements like these will go a long way in differentiating your brand.

And of course, once you deliver one great experience, keep building on those experiences. Think of excellent customer experience as a steady stream of small, but continuous quick wins that keep the momentum going in between huge initiatives.

This post is part of the Customer Experience Professionals Association's Blog Carnival "Celebrating Customer Experience." It is part of a broader celebration of Customer Experience Day. Check out posts from other bloggers here.