Successful businesses are constantly evolving, changing and innovating, it feels as though there has been a shift in the market place as the boundaries of innovation are stretched due to customer expectations being higher than ever before.
This post credit crunch era is a very different corporate landscape to the ‘BOOM TIME’ in 2006/7 with major changes in consumer’s expectations raising the service delivery bar higher than before. The financial downturn succeeded in getting rid of the businesses that just were not prepared to adapt and change and I believe now we are left with higher customer expectations, and better quality service delivery from firms which have improved in all areas simply to stay ahead of the crash.
It is almost as though we are out of the information age and in to the customer experience age. So how do businesses ensure that their service or product offering meets and exceeds their customer’s expectations? The first thing you must commit to doing is, getting to know your customers. Take time to truly understand their needs, ask them what their expectations are, talk to them, engage with them, involve them in the process! This is so simple but often overlooked.
Next deliver what it is they like, and stop delivering the things they don’t like. How do you know which systems, processes or products work well for your customer? What about the areas that frustrate the customers, or the systems or service that consistently fails to deliver? In order to know this you must ask your customer for feedback. Acting quickly to address your customer’s problems is a great way to show your appreciation of their feedback and also allow you to make strategic changes to your business which will ultimately delight your customers.
Finally remember to celebrate excellence within your teams. Ultimately those on the front line are the people that are going to delight your customers. Share good news stories, positive reviews and thank you notes from customers with the team. Demonstrating how grateful you are for their service delivery will reinforce this behaviour, it is a self perpetuating cycle of improvement. People naturally seek recognition and will be more inclined to repeat these positive behaviours following genuine praise and appreciation, this can only benefit your customers.
In summary, give your customers a voice, their opinion is invaluable, and not only given freely but often graciously and could give you insights into your business which will help you make positive changes.