Overcoming the Overwhelm

Last week, the talented Valeria Maltoni delivered an outstanding blog post on customer experience, titled Customer Experience More Important Than Ever.

I commented there to describe what I think is the biggest challenge of any customer experience endeavor – overcoming the overwhelm. And this got me thinking. How do you, as the change agent you are reading this, convince whoever you need to that NOW is the time not only to focus on your own customers’ experiences but to IMPROVE them?

The biggest obstacle I see, time and again, is inertia. It’s easier to continue to do what you’re doing, day in and day out, making enough profits to keep everyone working, without rocking the boat. I have to encourage my clients to think in baby steps. Here’s a typical situation:

“We know our experience is terrible, but I’m only able to change the <call center/renewal communications/online customer area>. And that won’t matter since then the customer will get the <renewal letter/ call from the call center/ terrible login instructions for the online customer site.>”

It’s easy to point the other way, keep your head down, and keep to the status quo. Here’s what I’m suggesting you consider TODAY.

1. Listen in on your call center calls.

Do they represent your company the way they should? Are your representatives helping SOLVE customer issues? Or are they just interested in getting the customer off the phone?

2. Review a handful of communications.

Take a gander at your email newsletter, your company blog (if you have one), an invoice and a renewal letter. Is the tone consistent with your company’s brand? Do you say thank you to your customers? Do you offer them ways to continue to do business with you in ways that are about THEM and not you?

3. Peek over the fence.

Do some quick searches on competitors. What are they saying to customers? How are they saying it? Is it better?Are you offering more or less compelling messages?

4. Listen up.

Social media opens up very easy ways to tap into what your customers, prospects and former customers are saying about you. Look up the last several brand mentions and investigate what happened. Did anyone respond? What if there are NO mentions of your brand? Is that what you want – to be forgettable?

5. Walk through your online process as if you’re a customer.

What happens if you get stuck? Is help available? Is the help truly helpful?

These 5 steps won’t transform your company into a Customer Experience juggernaut overnight, but becoming aware of what issues you face is the first step. If you find all of these areas are struggling, focus on the one you can change the easiest, and start there.

Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the Chief Customer Experience Investigatorâ„¢ and founder of 360Connext, a global consulting firm specializing in the cornerstones of customer experience: customer engagement, employee engagement and connections like social media. 360Connext serves mid-market companies and larger by helping them evaluate their true customer experience. The evaluations always lead to improvements which then lead to results like increased online conversions or loyalty.

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Tim Sanchez
Tim Sanchez

You're right about inertia. The momentum of the customer experience is something that I'm exploring (and will be writing about) on my site. As you said, shifting that momentum from negative to positive is very hard, but once you get it rolling in the right direction, it can snowball into something remarkable.

Jeannie Walters
Jeannie Walters

Great point about the snowball effect. Thanks for the comment, Tim!