In the second of three articles, Susannah Hewson, owner of cxchange.ie will introduce you to Customer Experience and share some tips on where you need to focus your efforts in order to improve your bottom line.
Customer Experience (CX) is how customers feel about all the interactions they have with your brand and is the key differentiator and driver for business growth. In this article, I’ll explain what really matters to your customers and how you can
improve your customer experience.
When training staff I use one of the most effective and robust CX frameworks developed by KPMG Nunwood in the UK. This is based on six key emotional drivers for customers in all business sectors:
Design the experience for each specific customer. You can connect with your customers emotionally when they feel that you know them and understand their needs and circumstances. Staff should ask diagnostic questions, listen and show that they’ve understood. Depending on the product, ask questions e.g. for a lawnmower: Will you use it yourself? How big is your garden? How often will you use it? What did you have before? What did you like/dislike about it etc.? Then when you make a recommendation, it’s much more personal as it’s based on their
Without trust, your customers won’t do business with you. Trust is built in many ways but two key areas are: 1) Product knowledge: If your staff know their stuff, customers will trust their recommendations and 2) Doing what you say you will e.g. if you order something in for a customer and say you’ll call them, making sure that you do, not waiting for them to call you. It seems like a small thing but it’s really important for building trust.
Setting and managing expectations is important, particularly if you trade online. Look to experts such as Amazon. They weave room into their delivery timelines so at worst, the customer gets their order on time, and at best, it comes early. If things change along the way, the customer is instantly updated. People don’t
necessarily mind when delivery times change, they mind when they’re not told, and have to chase you. They’ve paid already so their money is gone, and they don’t yet have a product in exchange so negative emotions can surface very quickly. This is also vital if your store supplies to businesses. Think of the impact
on a business if their order is delayed without any warning.
Time & Effort
Removing unnecessary obstacles and making things easy is also essential. In-store, making it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for (or someone to help them) and to get through the checkout. Online, we need to ensure that the journey is very clear and simple – particularly when a customer is trying to find a
specific product or process an order.
Empathy is about understanding what it’s like to be in your customer’s shoes. Looking at each customer as an individual and imagining what things might be like from their perspective e.g. a parent trying to shop with small children can be really stressful. If we can recognise that, we can give them a better experience
e.g. help them find what they need quickly, carrying things for them if they’ve a buggy, trying to engage with their children to make it easier for the parent to concentrate on what they’re there to buy.
Things go wrong in every business. How a business resolves an issue determines a future relationship. Resolution enables you to show customers just how much you care. Staff tend to fear the complaining customer instead of seeing it as an opportunity to turn them into a fan! CX leaders offer ‘no quibble’ returns, which shows the customer that you trust them, rather than making them feel like they need to prove themselves. When a customer returns a faulty item, do your staff apologise that it has happened, or acknowledge that they had to come back to the
store to return it?
If you can model how you deliver customer experience around these six drivers, you’ll not only lock in your customers for longer (and spending more), you’ll also get new ones. In the next edition of The Hardware Journal, I’ll look at some of
the common barriers to great customer experience in Ireland and give you some tips on how you can empower your staff to deliver superb customer experiences.