Customer experience improvement is all about finding those places in the experience where pain exists, and where customers feel that their expectations aren’t met. The art of finding these places and fixing them is at the heart of the discipline of customer experience improvement.
Not surprisingly, we hear common themes when customers tell us their expectations aren’t being met. Across different industries, customer segments, customer journeys, channels, and devices, we see these trends play out in the things dissatisfied customers say—and how they feel as a result.
So ask yourself: Where in your current customer experience do your processes, systems, technology, and people or the ways you manage data make it so that your customer:
1. Feels she’s wasted her time: How many times have we, as consumers, felt as if a company believes its time is more important than ours? Perhaps you’re given a half-day window of time for a company to come to your home to perform a repair—and it never shows up. One solution is to consider the value of customer time as a design criteria when you’re designing a new experience or fixing an existing one. Another (number 4 below) is to find and eliminate needless steps.
2. Can’t accomplish her goals: After trying and being unable to solve a product order-related issue online, one of our employees called support. However, the rep told her he couldn’t access the information required and that she had to go back to the website. Not surprisingly, she cancelled the order (which she could do online) and purchased elsewhere. The lessons here are myriad. Bottom line, your customers need to be able to accomplish their goals. If they can’t, you’ll lose them.
3. Isn’t remembered: We’ve each experienced the phone call to customer service that starts with an automated request to enter our account number or some other personally identifiable information. When we finally get to a service rep, what’s the first thing the person asks us? Yup. Or we’ve all seen the website that doesn’t store our preferences or order information. The answer is for companies who gather customer information to do so intentionally, with the customer in mind, then actually use it for the customer’s benefit.
4. Encounters needless steps: Needless steps occur across channels. Any time a customer has to do two things when they could do one, you’re making life harder. For example, in a retail store where returns have to go to a different counter, which customers discover after waiting in the wrong line. Then consider Amazon “1-Click” ordering; your order is automatically charged and shipped, based on your preferences. No carts, payment pages, or confirmations required. Ask the question, where can you eliminate needless steps for your customers?
5. Finds decision criteria is unclear: When’s the last time you tried to compare credit card offers or cellular service plans on a one-to-one basis? Even pricing on fabric options for furniture at a retail store can be confusing. As a customer, the correct answer can be exceedingly hard to determine. It shouldn’t be. In any situation with more than one possible solution, the right option for your customer and her particular circumstance should be crystal clear.
6. Knows it’s harder than it has to be: We have all experienced interactions that just aren’t easy. To succeed with customer experience, interacting with your company can’t be difficult for your customers. At all. Which means that the information they want is easy to access. Your products and services are easy to purchase. And when needed, customer service—regardless of the channel—is easy to access, and problems are quickly resolved.
Consider these six common customer experience obstacles as a lens through which you and your organization can view the experiences your customers have today and the ways they feel as a result.
In almost any part of your business, you can ask yourself if your customers are feeling pain or if their expectations aren’t being met. If you find the answer is yes and you can resolve these issues in ways that better align to your customer’s wants and needs, you’ll find you have the ability to develop and deliver a radically better customer experience.