Customer Experience Management
Of immeasurable importance to any business is the overall customer experience – if your customers or clients are in any way unhappy or dissatisfied with your service or products they will not ever come back for more and they certainly wont recommend your company to their friends so you will lose out on extremely valuable word-of-mouth marketing and your business will suffer substantially.
It is well known that it costs far less to keep existing customers than it does to attract whole new customers, so proper management of customer experience to keep them happy and to build and protect the reputation of your business is essential. You can also be sure that your competitors will be more than willing to step in and provide a better customer experience to poach away your hard won clients so you must make sure you do not give them any opportunity to do so.
It is of course easy to say “keep your customers happy” but the problem you will first face is how do you know if your customers are actually satisfied with whatever they purchased from you? Maybe they bought something and went away, were unhappy with it and never came back leaving you blissfully unaware of the problem. Clearly you need to put in place methods and tools to follow up with customers and to enable them to easily provide the valuable feedback you require. You need to plan such communication channels and systems in advance since trying to reach customers after the fact can be not only difficult, if not impossible, but also risks annoying them and further alienating them which is the last thing you want.
Communication channels these days naturally should include a very public and active presense on the major social networks such as Facebook and twitter as well as on relevant discussion forums and elsewhere, basically wherever your customers are likely to be found. Remember that any time you respond to your clients (or potential clients) on public social sites everything you say will be there for years to come and can influence how people perceive your company, one way or another, so of course you need to ensure you always provide an excellent customer experience there as well.
Feedback forms on your website are another popular way to get actionable info from your customers and you can even use a survey service such as Survey Monkey or Qualaroo which makes it very easy and the data you gather from that will be invaluable.
Of course you should not ignore ‘old school’ methods of communication and feedback such as by providing phone numbers (with actual people answering!), fax and even a physical mailing address so customers can contact you in whatever way they feel most comfortable with.
Gathering all this feedback is of little use however if you do not take appropriate corrective action when required but it is also important to not rush into things – take the necessary time to crunch the numbers and fully analyze the statistics over time to guide your future plans.
Whichever feedback channels and customer experience management systems you adopt, you should make sure to stick with them consistently, building a following and developing those channels over a long time which will further contribute to customer loyalty and satisfaction and ultimately to the long-term viability of your business.
Which customer feedback and management tools do you use in your business?