I’m often asked about which tools I use when evaluating customer experience issues for my clients. The answer, not surprisingly, is the classic consultant refrain: It depends. (Annoying, right!?)
There are, however, some tools anyone focused on their own customer experience can use. Of course, the size, structure and offerings of your company make a difference. Bigger companies need robust ways to interact with many customers. Service organizations rely on personal relationships which are often challenging to define. This list, I hope, is for anyone in any organization, especially if you’re just looking to start.
Want to evaluate your own customer experience in a way beyond metrics? Start here.
1. Social Media Listening Post
If you don’t already, set up some serious search to monitor what customers are saying (or not saying) about your brand. A few ideas:
- Your brand name(s)
- Public figures in your leadership team
- Competitors’ keywords
- Common search terms
- Verbs – what do customers do with your products?
Track the conversations to start seeing problems before they become major challenges. Notice trends. Watch for the positive – reward loyal and vocal customers before they ask!
2. Customer Experience Suggestion Box
This doesn’t always look like a box – sometimes it’s an Intranet section or email address. In any case, make sure there is somewhere employees can contribute to the larger conversation about the customer experience. Here’s the trick, though – it only works if it’s PROMOTED and if the suggestions are reviewed. Too often, good intentions start programs like this and lose steam quickly because the contributors never hear anything about the suggestions they make. Make reviewing the employee feedback part of your regular communications. Employees know what is working and what isn’t with the experience. Ask them first!
3. Customer Feedback Mechanisms
Guess who else knows what is working and what isn’t? That’s right, your very customers. Ensure they have many ways to tell you. It’s not just surveys – it’s simple techniques like calling random ones to find out about their experience; providing anonymous numbers to call to leave feedback or contact forms on web sites. Surveys are great, but are often lacking the questions customers REALLY want to discuss.
4. Behavioral Analytics
Happy customers are great, but only if they are actually becoming (and staying) customers. Tracking Facebook Likes doesn’t tell you as much about customer behavior as where they are clicking on your web site. What search terms are being used? Do sales increase online after a customer visits one of your stores? There are many ways to consider actual behavior, not just metrics. If customers are searching for a specific help term, that is a customer experience issue. It might be time to address it.
Notice I have this last. CRM = Customer Relationship Management and often it is sold as a software solution. I disagree. CRM itself is the idea of a centralized, accessible place to track individual customer relationships throughout the company. According to Wikipedia:
It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support.
Any company can (and should) have a CRM “system.” The system, however, doesn’t have to be a billion dollar software implementation as it often is for large companies. The system can be any type of tracking system (even a spreadsheet) that is accessible by all who would interact with the customer.
So there you have it. 5 “Tools” to help anyone with staying on top of their organization’s customer experience. This is no way exhaustive. What tools do you think are vital?