We live in an experience economy, and this means that the customer has a significantly different idea of what their customer experience (CEX) should be than ever before, regardless of what business you’re in.
So I ask you, if you’re not talking about CEX with your customers, who is?
The most powerful tool during an implementation of my Agile Service Delivery (or any service process revamp) is a robust, ongoing communications campaign with your clients.
When I help a company implement my Agile Service Delivery, one of the first things I discuss is the need for an ongoing communications campaign with their clients. This ongoing communications campaign is the way that the service provider will inform their clients as to the changes coming their way, inform them how to adapt for best results and optimal CEX. Of the greatest value is that this also is how the provider will get the much needed feedback from their clients, in as close to real time as possible. Overall, it is how the provider can optimize their system while managing client expectations and adjusting as needed.
Without this ongoing campaign, your clients have no one to talk to and give feedback to except each other (within their company) and with complete strangers (outside their company). The internal discussions, without proper channeling to someone who cares, result in descent and despair because perception is everything. “They” just aren’t picking up, “they” aren’t calling us back, and “they” just don’t care. The external discussions are potentially twice as bad.
Why? Think of it this way: Your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/partner (insert appropriate term here) is feeling neglected, misunderstood, and not particularly taken care of. People who feel neglected, misunderstood, and not particularly taken care of tend to speak more openly about it with strangers.
So now your mate is sitting at the bar talking to someone who’s willing to listen and console… Not physically of course - I mean, it is 2020 with Covid-19 running rampant - but maybe!
All your competition needs is timing and opportunity and I promise you, they will sit down with your client and listen to them. They will pay attention to them and try to understand them, and they will promise to take care of them. They will ask, “What is missing from your CEX?” It’s a classic move for a hungry salesperson and other like-minded predators.
Even if you’re not changing your process significantly (but most certainly if you are), you need to be continuously having the ongoing and very candid conversations with your clients about CEX. You need to know more than simply, “Are you happy?” or, “Would you refer us to an associate?” You need to know exactly what is missing in your service from the expectations the clients have, not what level we’ve managed to live up to.
It’s the missing expectations that will cost you a client.
I know that referring to it as CEX can sound funny in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way. I actually think it’s downright hilarious because there are actually so many parallels between customer service and the dating/mating rituals. The same is true for marketing and dating/mating. It also makes it fun to talk about.
But the point is ironically the same for both customer service and dating/mating… If you’re not talking about CEX with your customers, who is?