Achieving Customer Happiness Even During Turbulent Times

Achieving Customer Happiness Even During Turbulent Times

What can energy suppliers and utilities learn from leading tech firms about driving customer happiness? Consumers are expecting the same speed and clarity of service and vendor responsiveness from their utility providers as they experience with their online shopping, taxi bookings, and fast food orders.

There are clear steps that Energy & Utility companies can take to improve customer happiness, which Sarah Nicastro and Stacy Sherman discuss on her Mindfuel podcast.

Even if you work in a different industry, the customer experience best practices and methodologies shared will benefit you.  At the end of the day, people buy from people they like and trust. And, happiness comes from authentic brand experiences.

 

Learn how to increase customer happiness fueled by engaged employees.

 

Listen Now to Mindfuel Podcast Below.

What are your views about creating customer and employee happiness? I’d love to hear.

 

If you like this interview, watch another one I had with Sarah Nicastro about “IS NPS is a good measurement of customer satisfaction?” Listen to Podcast HERE and access the show transcript.

How To Be Customer-Centric & Not Just Say It

How To Be Customer-Centric & Not Just Say It

It’s easy to talk about creating a customer-centric culture; there’s no doubt about that. But how it is actually done and put into practice is a different story. It requires a lot of community building and employee engagement initiatives to succeed. This topic is the theme of Crack The Customer Code podcast. I had the honor to join Adam Toporek and Jeannie Walters to talk about our favorite topics.

 

In this Customer Experience episode, you’ll learn:

 

  • What Stacy does in CX and her main focus
  • How she uses a different angle to improve customer experience
  • How Stacy overcomes resistance and gets everyone on the same page to create a customer-centric culture
  • Ways to get everyone to understand the importance of CX metrics
  • How she took advantage of CX Day

Stacy’s Quote About Customer-Centric Cultures:

 

“It takes a whole village for CX to work! Once everyone is accountable for the same objectives, that’s when the game changes.” ~Learn more about Stacy Sherman and how she helps people like you.

Listen To Stacy Sherman on "Crack The Customer Code" About How To Differentiate Your Brand By Being Customer-Centric

Diving Deep on Voice of the Customer

Diving Deep on Voice of the Customer

Are you incorporating voice of customer feedback into your business? Do you understand why it’s so important and how it can differentiate your brand? Amplified Customer Experience, led by Janelle Mansfield, interviewed me about customer experience trends and how to differentiate brands by DoingCXRight®‬.

During the CX podcast, you’ll hear talk about…

  • Best practices for building strong and sustainable Voice of Customer programs to achieve business results.
  • Why leaders need to include employee perspectives (VOE), especially the frontline staff, in combination with customer feedback.
  • Mistakes to avoid and lessons learned to fuel your success, and more.

Please share your views about the CX episode.

I’m interested to know what customer experience tips resonate most.  

 

Read more about how to make Voice of Customer your game changer.

How to Humanize Business From The Inside

How to Humanize Business From The Inside

What does it mean to humanize business?

How do you differentiate brands beyond price?

What are ways to ensure employee happiness so that they deliver customer excellence every day?

What does great leadership look like to build a customer-centric business culture?

I answer these questions and more on Engati’s podcast. Watch my video interview below.

I’m interested to know what you think and what resonates most.

Transcription shared from Engati’s Business Blog:

What role does the employee experience play in relation to fostering a great customer experience?

According to Stacy, it’s everything. Everything starts with the employees. Without motivated, engaged employees, there is no happy customer. At the end of the day, people buy from people, and people trust brands based on people.

She believes that we have to start from the inside. We have to provide our employees with the right training, the right coaching, and support. Only then will they service the customers and do the right thing.

What can a business do to make sure that their employees are more motivated and engaged?

There are a lot of different approaches so let’s start with the basics. As leaders, we have to take time and have a one-to-one with our employees. There shouldn’t ever be a reason why we can’t make time for our people. We really have to listen, empathize, and be there. We have to hear what they’re saying and what they’re not saying.

There’s no cookie cutter approach. We have to remember that celebrating successes is important. And it doesn’t have to be huge gigantic wins. These small acts add up. It’s important to recognize our employees and to say “thank you.”

It’s all about humanizing business, it really helps. Even though we have technology, we have to use it to enhance employee experience. After all, to deliver great customer experience, we can’t forget the human element of it all.

How crucial is it to build personas for the target audience? How can building personas lead to mass customization, increased sales, and better CX?

According to Stacy, it’s essential for customer experience, marketing, communications department, etc., Can’t create messages when we don’t know who we’re creating it for.

Persona development is the first step of the CX practice.

After that, we’re able to create journey maps of the ideal experience for specific segments. We can’t be everything for everyone so it’s crucial to identify personas.

We have to encourage our teams to learn how to do it. Developing personas helps in determining if a company’s profitable or not. It starts with going to the right people and understanding their needs.

And that’s the key.

We have to know who our audience is before we market and develop products. We have to know who they’re for, and what problems they face. Whether it’s selling, marketing, or communicating, we have to figure out the who, and that’s what humanizing business is really about. It’s about knowing people.

How To Make “Voice of Customer” Your Game Changer

How To Make “Voice of Customer” Your Game Changer

Who are your favorite companies, and what makes you brand loyal? People typically answer this question based on how well a business understands and meets their needs. Buying decisions go way beyond price as we often pay a higher cost to shop at a particular place.

Consider coffee, for example. Customers, including me, spend triple the price at Starbucks compared to other local coffee shops. Why would we pay more money on purpose? The reason is that the most reputable brands, like Starbucks, proactively LISTEN to the voice of customer (also referred to as VoC) and use feedback to deliver personalized experiences that exceed customer expectations. 

Research  prove the value of doing CX right, such as a study  conducted by PWC. People were asked: “How much would you pay for the following product  or service if the company provides a great customer experience?” As shown in the image below, the answer is a lot, and getting it right is real!

The price premium for great customer experience:

Price Premium for Customer Experiences and Customer ServiceSource: PWC Future of Customer Experience Survey

Best in class companies also care about employee views and empowers their staff to deliver customer excellence. Their competitive edge comes from humanizing business, and you can apply the same principles no matter where you work. 

 

THREE WAYS TO DIFFERENTIATE YOUR BRAND 

 

#1. Leverage Voice of Customer (VoC) In Everything You Do   

VoC is a valuable research method that enables you to understand the difference between customer expectations and how well you deliver what they need. Even if you believe there is no gap, your customer may think differently, and you must know that to adapt your strategies. Customer perception is YOUR reality. 

 Asking customers about their overall satisfaction level helps you gauge the likelihood of them continuing to purchase and recommend your products and services. Getting high-level feedback is good, but the magic happens when you dig deep into the customer journey. I highly recommend you ask customers to rate their experiences and provide comments about EVERY interaction point, commonly referred to as “moments of truth.” 

If you have not launched a business and do not have customers yet, then co-create a journey map with your target audiences (also referred to as personas). There are plenty of resources on the internet to guide you through the process, including my blog, DoingCXRight. My point is that getting Voice of Customer feedback in the right way and at the right time is essential for business success.   

 Most people rely on surveys as their Voice fo Customer source. While valuable, it must not be your only method of getting customer feedback. Additional useful data comes from: 

  • Website contact forms 
  • Interviews (online and in-person)
  • Social media
  • Ratings and Reviews (on your site & external rating pages)
  • Website visitor behavior analytics
  • Customer Care Call Data
  • Website Live Chat

I recommend aggregating and centralizing all VoC insights to understand your customers’ views from a holistic perspective. It’s a critical job function, so either assign the role in your organization to someone who has the right skill sets, or outsource the work. 

 

Step 2: Turn Voice of Customer Data Into Actionable Insights. 

 Obtaining customer feedback and analyzing the data takes time, but it is well worth it. You can’t possibly develop products, services, and market messages without understanding what your customers think and feel. 

 There are tools to help you compile, analyze, and prioritize data so that you know where to focus your improvement efforts. Some reputable time-saving platforms include Qualtrics. Medallia. Hubspot. Clarabridge, and more. They vary in capabilities and costs. If you have minimal or no budget, then start with manual methods of collecting customer feedback and using the data to inform your business decisions and changes.   

#3: Close The Loop With Customers 

If you ask customers what they think, then inform them what actions you took because of their feedback. For example, if you lead a focus group to design a new product, follow up with participants to show what you created because of their input. Even better, offer a discount that is not available to the public to express appreciation. If you have a centralized survey team, who calls customers share recordings and notes with your sales teams so they can contact customers, rectify issues, and thank them, too. 

 

THE GAME CHANGER 

Top performing companies combine Voice of Employee (VoE) and Voice of Customer (VoC) as part of their decision-making process. Asking employees for feedback makes them feel heard and valued. And, when that happens, their commitment and engagement to deliver customer satisfaction increases. Happy employees fuel happy customers. That is the formula for Customer Experience (CX) success. 

 

15 Customer Experience Best Practices:

  1. Ask employees for feedback as it serves as a valuable data source, but VoE must never replace VoC. 
  2. Respect customer intelligence. People know when companies are claiming to be customer-centric but are actually “checking a box.” 
  3. Make the feedback process easy and convenient. Provide options such as calling, texting, or emailing. 
  4. Improve your customer journey based on both qualitative and quantitative data. A smile or frown by itself does not reveal much. Learn the “WHY” and “WHO” factors. 
  5. Thank people for their time in giving feedback. Inform what you’ll do with their input. Communication and gratitude go a long way. 
  6. Actively listen. Do not sound like a robot or reading from a survey script.  
  7. Personalize your customer communications. You will gain better response rates. 
  8. Choose your questions wisely. If you don’t ask correctly, you won’t get actionable answers.     
  9. Capture feedback often. Customer and employee needs are changing rapidly.  
  10. Listen to what customers say across different channels. Improve experiences based on a 360 view. 
  11. Share feedback results with internal stakeholders. It helps drive a culture where everyone owns CX.
  12. Knowledge is power. Do not let the fear of responses be a reason you do not ask for feedback.  
  13. Assess satisfaction & establish benchmarks for year over year comparisons. You cannot fix what you do not measure. 
  14. Recruit and hire customer-centric individuals to achieve your CX mission. It’s all about people! 
  15. Create a culture where EVERYONE owns CX and is accountable for customer excellence, not just leaders at the top.

REMEMBER: 

Proactively ask for feedback and use the insights to improve customer and employee experiences. Let them know of what changes occurred because of their input, as that is how you gain loyal brand advocates. On the contrary, if you do not follow CX best practices, people will switch to a competitor. According to PWC,

1 in 3 will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience. 92% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions.”

It costs a lot of time and resources to make up for one unhappy experience.  

It Takes 12 positive great experiences to make up for one bad. Are you DoingCXRight?

I can’t say it enough….

Customer Experience must be intentional and never an afterthought.  Make sure you are NOT just TALKING about it but actually DOING CX RIGHT!