Why Customers (Don’t) Choose You!

I recently supported the Awards International CX Awards as a judge for the second time. It’s great to see the ongoing focus on customer experience of the entrants and seeing some of their reactions to Covid impacts. Some of them however stood out more. Those that have truly brought their employees with them and created solutions together.

Recent months have affected us all in different ways from both a business and personal perspective. Habits have changed. I’m shopping more locally but also thinking more about what I need and what I don’t and more consciously trying to keep in touch with friends and family as it’s easy to lose that when there are no gatherings. I for one miss that interaction.

So let’s put this into customer thinking….

Are you in touch with your customers?

Ask yourself the following (honestly):

  • Are you keeping in touch with your customers?
  • In a way that they want you to?
  • About the things they want from you?
  • Are you making it easy for them to get in touch?
  • Ae you monitoring their needs and expectations?
  • Are you considering emotions – how your interaction makes them feel? (Don’t forget this as it’s a key element to engagement)

Or

  • When they contact, is Covid being used as an excuse for long wait times or lower levels of service?

Are there things you instantly think you could do better now you think about it?

Can your own experiences shape your approach to customers?

This is something I feel is a great way to drive improvement. I often think about what I like / don’t about the service I receive and how I would support the improvement given the opportunity…..

Here are some examples of my recent experiences:

  • Car service booking – long wait time to answer with a Covid message being played (many times!) to justify the holding. I sat there thinking – is there a staffing issues, are they trying to save costs, are there really many more calls etc and of course – I could be doing something better!
  • Delivery due between 3&5pm. Changed on the day to between 1&3. That’s fine. Never arrived or attempted & received an email that I’m not in (I was sat in the window!!) and then tracking stated there was a problem (really!!). I then had to contact the retailer – who would accept my query 7 days after the product was due. Trying to find contact details was equally frustrating – anyone would think they did not want me to complain!!!
  • Telecomms company – received an email regarding my package a couple of weeks before renewal. Sent messages prior to renewal date for more information and followed up twice – still no response weeks on!!! If I knew others were better, I would have moved. I have contacted them to offer support!

I don’t know about you, but with some many things on the go – isolation, home schooling, work, entertaining children – I want other things to be easy.

How fast are expectations changing?

So are my expectations greater now than in the past – yes. The leaders in service set our expectations and we expect others to follow – across all sectors.

I’m not asking for same day delivery – I’m asking for the product I want, to be right, to be delivered on time. Or for a services – for my contact response time to be minimal and my query answered first time ideally. That’s not a lot to ask.

Expectations are changing as fast as the leaders are driving them. You only have to look at Amazon this year, accounting for around 47% of retail sales I believe. It’s not the cheapest anymore, but it’s simple, convenient and reliable.

If you’re not doing the basics well, you won’t be chosen.

People don’t want to spend more time than they have to – if it takes too long, they won’t come back – unless they have to. But once they don’t, they will leave.

Meeting or exceeding expectations is the way to retain. So now for the great things I’ve seen over recent weeks – I’ve spent much more time remembering these (key point!)

  • Co-op App – I received a leaflet to ask me to sign up. It was quick and easy and I receive weekly offers to choose from (relevant to me) so I now make savings most time I shop. The other thing I love is that I am reminded to choose a local charity that I will support by shopping at the Co-op. The charity changes and this week I needed to choose again. I feel that shopping locally is helping others locally too.
  • Local Retailers – In my local town, a number of stores have taken to thanking you for shopping with them, every time you visit. Again building your engagement with them. Linked to this I ordered some personalised notebooks for a gift and received a personalised message on the box and inside thanking me also. Nice touch!

So what can we learn from our own experiences?

  • I feel it is the recognition of brands of what we are going through, of being nice, of saying thank you, you’re making a difference of making it easier. We can all do this in some way.
  • Know your customers and their needs and follow their experience with you and think about what you know could be better and make it happen.

I could go on – but I think you get the idea.

Think outside in….

  • follow the journey your customers do, use your own experience to improve theirs
  • find their needs and their frustrations (colleagues can help here),
  • fix what you can now
  • plan for the rest

and you’ll be on the right track

Beverley Stag - Custerian Outcome Creation Specialist www.custerian.com