To kick off 2018, Standing on Giants is sponsoring the Customer Experience Management in Telecoms Global Summit. This is exciting for us, because the event focuses precisely on what we love most – great customer experiences!
Companies approaching Standing on Giants face a variety of problems. But underlying all of them is a common question, which, in anticipation of next week’s event, I’ve been mulling over: “How can we manage a customer’s experience when we know so little about them and their daily experience of our product?”
But I know, like anyone who’s actually tried to run these initiatives, it’s incredibly hard. Hard to capture customer information, hard to properly listen to that information, and hard to act on that information.
Pedalling hard, but getting nowhere
Often, businesses grasp the importance of customer experience, but don’t know how to manage it. Even those who put customer experience at the forefront of their strategy often struggle to get continuous insight. For example…
Market research gives you a pulse, but how often… once a quarter? Social listening gives you snippets of conversation – but just snippets. Customer panels are better, but offer very small sample sizes. Feedback forms tend to invite complaints rather than constructive conversation. Customer service tracking enables analytics, but does it demonstrate how your product is being used? One-to-one feedback is fantastic, but how often does it change a company’s focus?
These insights are all helpful, but they’re often used to dictate customer experience, rather than to simply understand it better.
Real conversations matter
Look at the speed with which companies are evolving! Isn’t it surprising to see how little they converse with their customers? Stopping, talking and listening – really listening – are the little things that can make a big difference. In today’s brand-aware world, lip service simply doesn’t cut it.
So… foster conversations between your company and your customers. Then take it a step further – foster conversations between your different customers about your products and services. Even better yet, tap into the insightful conversations between existing and potential customers.
Finding a way to engage in these key conversations is the single most beneficial thing a company can do. Why? Because if you find out how customers use your products or services, what features they love and what frustrates the hell out of them, you can tweak your offering accordingly. Your customers get exactly what they want, and therefore so do you.
Get customers involved
It often surprises me how little involvement customers have in the changes businesses make, since it is the customers who are affected by these changes. From deciding which materials are best for your product, to where these materials are sourced, right through to changing your sales journey, adding or removing features or even letting customers speak to AI robots in lieu of customer service professionals – these are things that can make a big difference.
Businesses make hundreds of decisions every day. But how often do customers directly influence these decisions? Not too often, I’ll bet. Obviously you can’t run every small query past them, but having direct access to the thoughts and feedback of your customers is priceless. With your finger on the pulse, you can create small changes to ensure you evolve with your customers’ needs.
A community approach
Nothing allows companies to do all this quite like branded online communities. They combine the insightful conversations and measurement approaches described above with the unique exception that it all takes place in real time. This means you have a daily flow of information that never stops! Of course, do measure big data and implement efficient new changes if you can. But when it comes to the crunch, there’s one thing your customers will remember you for. You guessed it… it’s the little things.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vincent is Standing on Giants in-house community guru, futurist and troubleshooter. The source of our methodology he’s a fiery advocate for genuine customer-centric business.