13 tips on educating your employees to ensure a better customer experience.
Customer experience is crucial to the success and longevity of your business. If your company consistently receives negative reviews, the word will spread and your brand is likely to suffer. This can result in prospective and existing customers choosing competitors instead, which reduces your sales and profits.
Customer experience matters as much as the quality of your product. It is therefore important to educate your employees about customer experience and provide clear guidance on how to go about it. Here are 13 tips on educating your employees to ensure a better customer experience.
1. Collect Consumer Perception Data
The first step to educating your employees is to show them the current state of the customer experience provided by your business. Showing them how things are at the moment and placing that alongside your customer experience goals makes it easier to analyze the areas in need of improvement.
An even more valuable exercise is to set up a consumer perception data research project, to find out how your consumers are currently experiencing your service. Data collection can be in the form of surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, participant observation, or interviews. The data that you gather is helpful to share with your employees, and demonstrates ways in which your current services can be improved.
2. Share the Goal
Once you have collected data and agreed that there needs to be an improvement, you will have to make sure that you are on the same page regarding company goals. Take time to sit down with your employees and explain why positive customer experience is one of the key goals of the organization, and that it must be treated as a top priority in every interaction. This is an ideal moment to demonstrate the value of your corporate learning program by making the link between good-quality training and the ability of each team member to achieve company objectives.
3. Explain Why Customer Experience Is Important
Sharing the customer experience company goal is just the first step of the process. You then have to go into detail regarding the implications of customer experience, so that all team members appreciate the goal and are empowered by it. Here are a few reasons you can share why positive customer experience is important:
- Repeat Purchases
When consumers feel appreciated, they will make repeat purchases. In some cases, consumers choose to purchase from competitors not because their product is of better quality than yours, but because they may have not been treated the way that they expected. Consumers might not return to purchase products from a business where their queries were not addressed, where the tone of the staff members was rude, or where they felt as if they were generally not appreciated for bringing their custom. The result of such a scenario, particularly when the problem is chronic, is that sales can plunge, which means that your business may find it difficult to make a profit.
- Positive Branding
Positive branding is crucial for the success and longevity of the business. Your business is operating in the digital era, where consumers have the direct power to positively or negatively influence the reputation of your brand.In just a few taps, clicks, or swipes, a customer can leave a good or bad review for everyone to see. This means that negative customer experiences will be made known to a wide audience, and may sway others not to associate with your brand. Implementing a customer experience initiative helps you to ensure that the brand narrative being shared on social media is positive, because the success of your business depends on positive visibility.
- Competitive Edge
The quality of your customer experience can be a competitive edge that places your brand above others in the market. The fact that you are vying for the attention and business of the same target audience means that you constantly have to find ways to outdo your competitors. Explain to your employees that when they go the extra mile for customers, this can make the difference between the consumer purchasing from your competitor or supporting your business.
4. Guide Your Employees
Now that your employees understand why customer experience is important, it’s your responsibility to guide the team in the direction you wish to take. Customer experience strategy varies from one business to the next, but the common factor amongst successful businesses is that they have a system in place to manage this.
For example, if your business is one that sells cakes, you may have a specific sequence for your employees to follow to ensure a positive customer experience. You may expect your staff to always answer the phone within three rings, to greet formally, repeat the conversation to the consumer to make sure that he or she feels heard, to ask whether there is any other way that your company can assist, and to formally bid farewell. This single telephone conversation can either encourage or discourage a consumer to continue doing business with you.
It’s important for you to lead by example. You can take a couple of phone calls in that scenario so that your employees watch you and take note. Having taken those phone calls, you can then explain why you handled the conversation the way that you did, to make sure that the consumer feels appreciated and important when they put the phone down.
5. Work With Your Employees
Having watched what is expected of them, your employees may need to build confidence by working with you. You can dedicate a day to work alongside your team. This process will make it possible for them to continue following your lead, and you can observe as they play their part. Eventually, your employees will gain the confidence to take initiative, and your business will be well on its way to providing a better customer experience.
6. Don’t Micromanage
One of the dangers of training and educating your employees about providing better customer experience is that you may get too attached to the process, to the detriment of the autonomy of individual employees and the wider team.
Be confident in your people. Loosen your grip of the reigns and allow your employees to work on getting the hang of it. You can observe to see how progress is taking shape, as well as tweaking areas that you may not have noticed needed attention.
This approach is different to micromanaging, however. The minute you begin to micromanage, your employees may feel as if you don’t have confidence in them. Once your employees lose confidence, they may work in the fear of failing and as a result, might not put effort into following the process accurately.
7. Touch Base With Customers
Once your employees have adapted to the better customer experience strategies, you can then go back to your customers to ask their opinion. Ask whether customer service has actually improved, things that have gone well, and areas for improvement. This information is valuable for you and your employees, aiding refinement and consistency. Some of the questions that you can ask that result in quality feedback include:
- How would you rate your customer experience with us?
- When do you feel most appreciated by our team?
- Have there been instances where you didn’t experience the best service?
- How do you think the team can improve on providing customer experience?
8. Discuss Feedback with Employees
Having collected data from customers, you should discuss and analyze these with your employees as soon as possible. Point out where they have improved, as well as the areas that still require development. Letting your employees know how consumers are experiencing them is one of the ways that they will be motivated to improve and to remain consistent.
9. Ask For Employees’ Opinions
Your employees should feel empowered and confident about an improved customer experience initiative. And when it comes to the review process, let them know that their opinion matters. By asking them their thoughts about the process of improving customer experience, it opens up channels where you can further educate them about the process. The more they share their thoughts, the more you can correct any misunderstanding or misperceptions. It also allows them to offer process improvements, based upon their first-hand knowledge. This means that the process is refined, your brand provides better customer experience, and you increase sales. Some of the leading questions that you can pose to your employees include:
- What has been your general experience regarding customer experience services?
- Where do you think the process has a loophole?
- What has been the response from customers after interacting with you?
- Where do you think you can improve?
- How can we help you improve?
10. Let Them Solve Problems
When you initially begin the process of improving the consumer experience, you definitely want employees to touch base with you regarding queries and conflict. As time passes and as they improve their confidence, you must encourage them to solve problems on their own. One of the best ways to learn is through real-world experience, recognizing where any mistakes happened, and implementing action to make sure that they don’t re-occur. Autonomy is a successful motivational tool in itself.
An example of letting your employees solve problems is by observing how they handle a frustrated client. Suggested solutions, the implementation of those solutions, and follow up with the customer after having seen through the process will show you how things are really going. After having experienced this without your interference, they will be confident enough to tackle the next conflict effectively.
11. Compliment Your Team
If your team only receives feedback about where they are going wrong in following the customer experience protocol, they may become discouraged. You need to point out the areas that they are efficiently providing better customer experience. This is also a method of educating them, because they will then be inclined to repeat and improve the actions that resulted in praise.
Amongst other rewards, money is a major motivating factor for your employees. Incentivizing your employees with financial reward for better customer experience is one sure way of educating the importance of it all. Employees will realize that the fact that you are placing such emphasis, time to teach, and a financial incentive, means that they can’t afford to fail on delivering a high-quality customer experience. You can get creative and find ways of measuring customer experience and reward an employee for their achievements.
13. Walk the Walk
As the leader of the company, you have to treat your employees as if they are your customers. If you are not treating them in a way that they don’t feel motivated to work, you may just be teaching them to treat customers in a way that they won’t make repeat purchases. Constantly pointing out where they are going wrong and threats of job loss when they make mistakes demonstrate ineffective leadership. This will not educate employees about the importance of customer experience. Instead, they are at risk of passing on how you make them feel to the customers. Lead by example; create an environment in which employee experience mirrors customer experience.
Positive customer experience is crucial to the success of a business. There is always room for your employees to improve on this process. Consumer perception data is an excellent tool to help you educate your employees about the importance of improving customer experience. Your employees can use this data to analyze the current customer experience compared to how it should be.
Having collected the data, you should share company goals regarding consumer experience, and take time to explain why customer experience is so important to the success of the business. You will then guide your employees by showing them the ropes, whilst avoiding micromanagement.
Going back to the customers to analyze how they are experiencing your company’s customer service is important to help measure your team’s improvement. You will then share this feedback with your team so that they know where the process is working well, as well as suggester areas for improvement. All the while you need to ask for their opinions, let them solve problems, compliment and motivate them, incentivize, and lead by example.
Ivonne Meza is a full-time blogger who publishes content about the different trends in the business industry. Ivonne believes that a lot of people are interested to start their own businesses but just don’t know how to do it. Ivonne aims to solve this dilemma by publishing all sorts of business-related content on her blog.