A great customer experience is not something that magically happens. It’s a mindset that’s built and reinforced by optimized processes and easy-to-use systems.
In terms of optimized processes, we’re not just talking about customer-facing processes, as customer-facing employees don’t spend all their time speaking with customers. We’re also talking about the transactional processes that happen behind the scenes.
These processes should be optimized, too. This is essential because when employees are frustrated with poorly designed processes and technology, customers notice. In addition, customers experience this frustration themselves when self-service portals are not optimized.
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The key to customer experience transformation is designing optimized business processes and implementing digital technology that supports these processes. More specifically, here are five tips for improving the customer experience at your company:
5 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience
1. Streamline the Processes of Customer-facing Employees
In many companies, customer-facing employees interact with a bevy of different enterprise systems, some of which are decades old or cobbled together. As you can imagine, trying to navigate through legacy software with inflexible options can cause significant frustration.
Many companies also have inefficient processes. While employees often become complacent with these processes, frustration inevitably arises during busy periods. For example, if a task takes days instead of hours, this inefficiency becomes more noticeable with a heavy workload.
Inefficiency is a problem that can be solved by focusing on business process management and allowing employees to provide input. This shows employees that you care about their pain points, and that organizational changes are meant to make their lives easier.
Giving employees the opportunity to suggest improvements is important not just for morale but for successful process improvement. After all, the employees who complete processes day-to-day are more familiar with the pain points than their manager is.
2. Eliminate Organizational Silos
The dream of many business owners is to lead a company that works together to achieve the same goals. The sad reality is that many companies have departments that operate in silos.
Silos generally manifest as companies create new teams around critical business functions. This effort often neglects the customer experience in favor of achieving a financial goal. As a result, different teams have different goals and benchmarks.
Ironically, when the customer experience at a company begins to suffer, the company often creates a new team called the “Customer Experience Team.” This team is just another silo.
What’s a better approach? Instead of making an individual team responsible for the entire company’s customer experience, consider making customer experience a priority for all business units. We recommend creating customer-focused metrics for every department and designating process owners to hold people accountable. This is the first step towards abolishing silos that damage the customer experience.
Abolishing silos improves trust and increases employees’ willingness to share important information. As a result, you will uncover more opportunities to improve the customer experience.
3. Empower Customer-facing Employees
A frustration that many employees have is the feeling that they must ask permission before acting. To address this frustration, it’s important to create a culture that encourages decision-making and process improvements at an individual level.
One of the best ways to empower employees to be proactive is to create incentives. In other words, consider rewarding employees for actionable suggestions.
In addition, your company should encourage employees to troubleshoot errors and solve inefficiencies on their own. Overtime, hundreds of incremental process improvements can result in significant cost savings.
While employees have many insights that mangers don’t have, they are bound to make mistakes. Not every improvement will be beneficial. It’s important not to punish these mistakes or you may dissuade employees from being innovative.
Instead of punishing the employee, make it a learning experience. Analyze what happened, why the problem occurred and what safeguards can be put in place to prevent a similar issue from happening.
Another reason to empower employees to suggest or make changes is that they hear the most customer feedback. This feedback is especially valuable when it comes to improving customer experience online.
In particular, it’s important to listen for feedback pertaining to the ease-of-use of the various channels customers use to interact with you. In addition, you should seek to understand the types of channels customers prefer to use.
4. Improve Employee Training
When was the last time your company’s new employee training book was updated? While it may not be feasible to update this resource in real-time, it is feasible to review and update your end-user training on a quarterly or annual basis.
During these reviews, you should assess what employees are doing in the field versus what they are being taught. This is important because there could be better processes being used in the field. When new employees understand these better processes, they are more likely to exceed customer expectations.
You should consider updating not just the content of your training but your training methods. One especially effective method is facilitating mock sessions with fake customers. This creates a safe environment where new employees can practice answering questions or running through scenarios.
5. Leverage Analytics
One of the most important aspects of providing a positive customer experience is ensuring employees have access to accurate data. In fact, analyzing customer data gives you the opportunity to provide customers with a more personalized digital customer experience.
For example, understanding the services most valuable to customers can give you a reason to expand upon a particular service offering. In other instances, you can use customer data to craft more successful promotions and better-targeted advertisements.
Accurate data is also useful to managers, as it allows them to monitor the performance of their employees. If one employee routinely belittles clients, then removing them can prevent poor reviews and the loss of customers. On the other hand, if one employee is consistently outperforming their peers, then it’s important to understand what they’re doing, so you can improve your processes.
Obtaining accurate, real-time data can be difficult without a modern ERP system. We recommend carefully evaluating ERP vendors’ customer relationship management (CRM) functionality to find the system that best supports your needs.
Optimized Processes can Improve the Customer Experience
Positive customer experiences are the result of integrated, optimized business processes. This means processes that make both employees’ and customers’ lives easier.
While business process reengineering is an arduous project, the good news is that employees can help suggest solutions. Customer data and feedback also is helpful when improving processes.
Panorama’s digital transformation consultants regularly use their process improvement expertise to enable companies to anticipate customer needs faster than their competitors. We take the time to understand customer journeys, and we can help your company create a customer experience that is memorable – for the right reasons.