Customer experience (abbreviated “CX” by those in the design and marketing fields) has emerged as a core component of both large and small business success. The truth is that most small business owners are already customer experience experts. This deep understanding of your customer’s needs, and the experiences that keep them satisfied, is what keeps your business alive.
The problem is, amidst the daily grind of managing a business (or team), it’s easy to forget to spend time assessing how well the business understands the ever-evolving needs of its customers. Over time, the best owners, managers, and leaders slip away from active customer engagement. As this happens, re-engaging customers can feel (temporarily) uncomfortable.
While uncomfortable, a changing customer base is never a threat. It’s always an opportunity for increasing customer loyalty and improving market strategy. What follows is a step-by-step process for reactivating your customer experience routine.
Listen with a Beginner’s Mind
Develop a method for listening to your customers. The key here is to adopt a beginner’s mindset. A great way to do this is to ask customers questions about how their own businesses are changing.
Collect Customer Comments
Take notes on the things your customers say. This can be as simple as writing down important phrases during business meetings or phone calls.
Organize Notes by Topic
Organize your notes by topics related to your customer’s comments. If paper folders work for you, great. If you take notes digitally, create digital folders. Act!’s Notes and History tools work great for this.
Schedule Regular Reviews
Look through recent and past notes. Taking time to reflect is key to developing new insights. As you do this, pay attention to recurring comments and themes. Identify the who, what, where, when and why of each customer comment.
Identify Important Patterns
Customer feedback, when collected, organized, and reviewed, reveals the key patterns of customer engagement that define customer experience. As you notice them, document these patterns in a list, flow chart, or sketch.
Name the “Moments of Truth”
Having identified patterns of customer interaction, it’s important to name the “moments of truth” that shape the overall customer experience. These are the make-or-break moments that leave customers feeling satisfied or unhappy with your product or service.
Design Your Customer’s Experience
Meet the needs of your customer by getting creative. As an expert in both your business and the expectations of your customers, engage customer feedback head-on with proactive solutions derived from your own insight.
Its the presence of a process that gets results and this process for engaging customers is open-ended by design. Each step plays a crucial part in the process, but can be adapted to fit your industry or specific role. What’s more important is that customer feedback is at the core of shaping your customer experience.