The way a business handles its customer experience can make or break a company. Negative experiences can shape the reputation of a business, regardless of how good the product or service is. However, without taking a close and thorough look at the customer experience, it may be hard to determine where they’ve gone wrong.
Below, 15 Forbes Business Council members share some ways businesses can critically look at their customer experience to make improvements for the better.
1. Do The Right Thing
You will always find someone who is unsatisfied, even without a valid reason. Make it a habit to always look at how you can genuinely improve your product and service. If you know that you have done your best to serve your customers, it would not get under your skin. When it does happen, do the right thing and address it, making sure you set things up so that it’s not a repeat experience. – Jean Paul De Silva Clauwaert, Web Content Development
2. Understand That Every Employee Is In Customer Service
My view on a business is that every person in the company is in customer service—from the secretary up front to the CEO. Anything that happens along the chain is customer service. Therefore, in my firm, we have adopted the A-Z business model in which we control all processes from A to Z. This can be anything from manufacturing, logistics, etc. with minimal third parties involved. That way, we also control the customer service outcome. – Rotem Eylor, Republic Floor
3. Find Opportunities To Learn
As a business owner, you never truly will be able to make everyone happy. When looking at your customer experience, take every opportunity as a learning experience. However, do not be overly harsh or critical, as there may be some customers that are just unhappy. Ask your team how your processes could be better as well. – Hani Anis, Kahani Digital Marketing
4. Offer A Transparent Feedback Channel
Especially in the early stages, a CEO should be the first Chief Customer Officer of your product. Sort out negative reviews, classify them into categories, resolve them one by one by giving clear responses and ensuring that there is a very clear feedback channel for users to submit feedback. This process should be transparent and efficient. – Edison Chen, Clapper Media Group Inc.
5. Optimize The Customer Experience For Each Market
Many businesses put all their attention into optimizing for customer experience in their home market, paying less attention to their international opportunities. A modern customer experience strategy must consider experiences throughout all the markets they operate in. It is never enough to just translate content and assume international customers will respond the same as your domestic customers. – Richard Delanty, Into23
6. Regularly Seek Feedback To Show Customers It Matters
Seek feedback often and early throughout the customer experience. This reinforces the idea in the customer’s mind that their feedback matters and is valued. Also, address complaints immediately through protocols that make complaints high-priority. This will help to avoid things spinning into a downward spiral online. – Clarence Lee, Jr., Exhort Health
7. Automate Your Reviews Process
In this day and age, combat negative reviews by using review catcher software. The software will continuously solicit reviews, most of which will be positive if you are a decent company. So, even if a negative review appears at some point, it will be surrounded by positivity. Automation is key. – Adelheid Waumboldt, ISET Agency
8. Improve Your Employee Experience
Your customer experience is closely aligned with your employee experience. The closer employees are to serving customers, the greater the impact. Improvement of your employee experience should connect to your customer experience, particularly when they can understand how their interactions shape that experience. Improving your customer experience without fixing your workplace culture is futile. – Dr. Donte Vaughn, CultureWorx
9. React Appropriately To A Bad Customer Experience
One bad customer experience doesn’t bring down a business; rather, how you react is what impacts the business’s reputation. We recently turned our customer support team into the department of customer love, and our satisfaction and response times have all improved massively. Actually listening, being flexible and owning mistakes is the way to always drive forward while placing the customer at the forefront. – Nicolas Vandenberghe, Chili Piper
10. Focus On The Culture And Core Values Of The Company
It starts from the top. The leader must focus on what the customer really wants and needs, and must believe that the customer’s experience is important. Then, they should instill that sentiment in their workforce. Typically, bad customer service points back to the culture and core values of an organization. Get your house in order and reward those that uphold the values. Develop those that don’t. – Natasha Miller, Entire Productions
11. Seek Out Issues And Turn Them into Assets
One way to critically look at your customer experience and make improvements is to aggressively seek out the biggest issues first and turn them into assets to be utilized by the business. If it’s an inefficient process, then add value throughout the point(s) of inefficiency, including leading into and following out of the pain point. Offense is always the best defense. – Matthew Davis, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc.
12. Experience The Customer Journey For Yourself
With some regularity, put yourself through your actual customer experience from beginning to end. Ask your employees to walk you through the entire process as if you’re the client or customer and role play. You now have the full picture and can fine-tune and adjust as necessary to ensure a positive customer journey. – Adam Povlitz, Anago Cleaning Systems
13. Ensure Employees Are Satisfied
Monitor both customer and employee satisfaction (e.g. through Net Promoter scores). There is a direct connection with employee satisfaction often being a leading indicator of customer satisfaction. When employees feel great about their jobs and are engaged in providing quality work to meet customers’ needs, that leads to superior customer experiences. Monitoring changes allows you to capture problems before they upset customers. – Jerry Cahn, Age Brilliantly
14. Use A Negative Customer Experience As A Learning Tool
Engage with consumers to understand where and why any breakdowns occurred, as this will allow you to make changes to your approach moving forward. It is also important to offer tangible solutions to solve the current problem so you can turn a negative experience into a positive one. – Kelley Higney, Bug Bite Thing
15. Put Yourself In The Customers’ Shoes
If you’re not the target audience, find a person you trust who is and have them go through the same process any other customer would. See where they stumble, what’s confusing them and fix those things. Also, understand you will have bad reviews no matter what, but as long as those are minimized, it’s not going to take you down. The customer isn’t always right. – Aviv Shalgi, Solar Simplified