This year we interviewed some of the leaders at HappyOrNot to gather their insights and wisdom from their many decades of business experience, much of which was spent delighting customers. They shared their views from the worlds of product development, interface design, customer service, marketing, sales, human resources, and business management. The result was the six-part CX3600 Leader Insight series. You can read all of the interviews and much more on the HappyOrNot Blog. From that collection we came up with a dozen critical questions you can use when reviewing your organization’s efforts to deliver industry-leading customer experiences.
How would you and your colleagues answer these questions?
1. Do you know what your customer is trying to accomplish?
Like a good hardware store associate, anyone who wishes to serve a customer or create a product they will love, they must strive to understand what the customer is trying to do. If they are trying to repair a leaky faucet don’t send them home with a chainsaw.
2. Do you know what your customer’s pain points are? From week to week? Hour to hour?
Find a solution that gives you actionable insights – the kind that help you make corrections in real time and that helps you make strategic adjustments over time. This will tell you where you need to focus and understand why your customers might feel frustrated at four o’clock.
3. Do you know what your customer thinks, feels and expects when they hear your name or see your logo?
You know what we’re talking about. When you see the logo of your favorite store or restaurant it makes you feel good inside. Much of that goodness comes – not only from how beautiful or delicious your product is – but from how your employees made them feel. Gather this information and share it far and wide, from bottom to top at your organization. Make good customer experience part of your brand identity.
4. Are you setting yourself up for failure and your customers for disenchantment?
Level set those expectations, then exceed them. Get rid of any customer “benefits” that merely raise expectations, only to disappoint customers when you don’t come through thoughtless. If it’s Taco Tuesday, remember to have plenty of guacamole.
5. Does your customer always know what solution they need?
Good customer experience professionals and product designers don’t only ask customers what they want. Organizations share what customers are trying to accomplish and what their pain points are with their frontline teams, their C-suites, and their engineers, cooks, designers, or sales teams. Get the story behind what the customer is asking for. Ten years ago, how many of us would have said we could really use a flying camera or one mounted to our heads?
6. Who at your company affects a customer’s experience?
Anyone (or anything) customers come into contact with helps writes the story of their experience. Make sure your employees know you hired them to delight customers. Make everyone accountable. Do not delegate customer experience to a single department. It’s not a project — it’s a never-ending mission.
7. Are your people capable of satisfying customers?
Do your customers think you exist to take their money and send them on their way? Are your teams interested in your products and services? Do they value them? Do they understand them and are well versed in their features? Make sure your folks are ready to engage customers who can’t wait to learn more about your great stuff.
8. Do you let your employees resolve problems in real time?
Do you have one of those companies where your staff has to check with a manager to make a customer happy? Make sure your employees have the freedom and resources to address customer dissatisfaction in real time. Frontline professionals must have the leeway and authority — even a dollar amount — to remedy a situation. Customers treated well when something goes wrong might just stay with you forever.
9. Can memorable customer experiences be created?
Yes! Seize opportunities to WOW your customers. Customer experience is the last bastion of competition. It can be more of a differentiator than price. If your employees see an opportunity to turn someone’s day around, make sure they seize it!
10. Is your customer rewards program really rewarding customers?
Dive into your reward program to make it is really producing happy and loyal customers. Think of it as you would products or services themselves. It’s better not to have a loyalty program than to promote a disappointing one. (See #4.)
11. Is product planning a race for a solution?
Organizations are often in a horse race to bring new products and services to market. We get that. But this can also lead to “solution bias” which is when we jump to a fix before we fully understand the need. Don’t skip over this step or you risk landing on your face.
12. Will customers really pay more for your product or service if they feel good about your service?
Quality and price matter to consumers. Sometimes we want the best; other times good enough will do. Sometimes we want the lowest price; other times we will pay whatever we must for high quality, or simply for bragging rights. Few of us will tolerate an unpleasant experience, though. It would be a rare scenario that your product is so superior, so advanced, so perfect that you don’t need to worry about happy customers.
Two bonus questions!
1. Do you think of your employees as customers?
Well, they are. Paying attention to a happy workplace pays dividends. And employee problems are made worse the longer they fester. Early warning systems and team insights can be invaluable to the long-term health of your business.
2. Does employee happiness matter to your bottom line?
Studies show that happy salespeople close more deals, as much as 30% more. Good employees are hard to find and expensive to replace. Retain them by paying attention to their satisfaction. Allow for anonymous input and encourage new ideas. Going to work with a crowd of happy people is far better than the alternative.
- Understand your customers’ objectives. Don’t just sell them what you’ve got. Hammers make lousy paint brushes. And even worse toothbrushes.
- Organizations with amazing products and lousy service are like airplanes without landing gear. You will get there fast but next time you will take the bus.
- “I left the store feeling so bad about myself I cannot wait to go back!” Said no one. Ever.
Did you miss out on any of our CX360 series? No sweat! You can read them here: