Six rules to help companies create better customer experiences

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Customer satisfaction is critical to business success. We know that positive customer experiences lead to long-term brand loyalty, and negative ones can impede revenue growth. Creating great customer experiences hinges as much on your listening skills as it does on your product, as well as on several other factors. Follow these six rules to build better customer experiences:

1. Make an easy-to-use product

Maybe this sounds obvious, but if your company can’t get past this first rule, the others won’t help you patch over a poorly designed product. Companies need to demonstrate their understanding of customer pain points and ways to solve them with an intuitive solution. A valuable, easy-to-use tool can have your customers up and running in a short period of time and help you earn customer trust.

2. Map out the customer journey

With a stellar product as your starting point, map out a step-by-step journey for customers that gets them started and continually encourages them to use more features in the product. Create a checklist to help customers identify the actions you want them to take from day one to day 10 and so on.

This will help customers create successful outcomes when using your product. Make sure that you make adoption of new features and functions easy for customers, and point them toward new ways they can leverage your solution to meet their business goals.

3. Educate early and often

Education is a critical part of the customer journey. Early on in your relationship with customers, you should offer to help get them started. Identify two or three core features that you want customers to leverage and then identify which features drive success. Keep an eye out for those markers and help customers achieve them. That help can come in the form of in-product messages, education webinars, videos, FAQ documents, emails, chat sessions or one-on-one phone calls. Figure out how individual customer contacts prefer to learn, and tailor education and outreach to their preferences as much as possible.

4. Focus on building long-term relationships with the help of a customer success team.   

Build out a customer success team dedicated to helping customers learn all there is to know about your product – from getting started to learning a new feature – to improve retention rates. The customer success team can provide crucial one-to-one help to those customers who want to learn a new feature, and then the team can monitor usage of that feature to see how customers are using it. This team can also provide feedback about what’s working and what’s not to improve the feature and ultimately provide a better experience for customers. The team can also be tasked with handling in-app chat inquiries and implementing campaigns with emails, webinars and blogs to educate customers about using different features to achieve business goals and improve processes.

5. Pay attention to the customers who leave and the ones who stay

Look at data–usage patterns, exit survey feedback, focus groups, Net Promoter Scores, survey data from existing customers – from both lost customers and current customers. You’ll always get new information from customer conversations, which is great, but be wary of making significant changes based on anecdotal feedback. Product usage patterns, a conversation, a general survey or any other feedback mechanism can teach you a lot about what your customers need, whether they feel you’re delivering it and how to bridge any gaps to ensure your customers stay happy – and stay with your company.

6. The ultimate rule: K.I.S.S.

As mentioned above, having a solution that is simple and easy to use is very important. Yet, at some point in a customer’s journey, many customers will want and need help. When you deliver a product or service that makes your customers’ goals easier to achieve and you give them support that is easy to access with educational resources that are easy to understand, you make it easy for them to stick with you. Clearly, there’s a pattern there. Keeping it simple, whether it’s the solution itself, helping customers get started using a new feature or resolving a technical issue, can create better customer experiences.

To create customer experiences that build loyalty and long-term customer relationships, analyse your data to learn what your customers really use, need and then evaluate whether you’re providing them with the experience for their business to succeed and adjust as needed.

Lynn Tsoflias is vice president of customer success, at Insightly.                                                                                    

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