GUEST POST from Shep Hyken
It’s not uncommon to hear leaders say, “We must put the customer at the core of everything we do.” What does that really mean? I had a chance to interview Howard Moodycliffe for Amazing Business Radio. Moodycliffe is the CEO of TimeToReply, a SAAS company that empowers employees to deliver fast, efficient, consistent responses through email. In our interview, he gave his take on the “customer at the core of your business” comment and more. Below are some of what he believes goes into a successful customer experience, followed by my commentary.
1. Put the Customer First – According to Moodycliffe, this is the most important strategy. Here’s his advice. Answer the question, “What experience do you want your customers to have?,” and then create it. Customers must feel valued and respected, and their needs must always be at the forefront of anything you design—both the product or service and the process of doing business with you.
2. Be Proactive and Respond Quickly – A fast response is good, but proactive communication is better. Moodycliffe can look at customers’ data and determine if they should receive a proactive email. He’s also quick to point out that email is just one channel. His concept applies to customer communication regardless of the channel. In our interview, I shared that one of my clients in the internet/cable industry gathers all of the ways a customer can be contacted: email, phone, social channels, WhatsApp, etc. If there is a problem, they send announcements to all channels, hoping to reach the customer on one of them. As for responding quickly, knowing what the customer expects is essential. He quotes Jay Baer, who says, “Response time should be just a little faster than the customer expected.” And realize that each channel has different expectations. You probably won’t be happy if you call customer support and are put on hold for fifteen (15) minutes. But you would be elated if you sent an email and received a response within two hours.
3. Personalize the Experience – Moodycliffe says, “Customers want to feel like they are more than just a number.” Our customer experience research found that 71% of customers believe a personalized experience from an agent or company employee is important. However, making a customer feel as if they are an account or a number could be worse than a generic, un-personalized experience.
4. Use Technology to Your Advantage – Tech in customer service can be used to automate tasks, provide self-service options, and collect/analyze feedback. Moodycliffe emphasizes that technology should empower employees when they interact with customers. If you bring in a new program that is cumbersome and difficult for employees, that pain will eventually be felt by customers on the outside.
5. Empower Your Employees – While this has been preached by many (including myself), we all need to be reminded of the importance of letting your employees do what they are being paid to do: take care of customers (or other employees). In addition, another advantage of using technology is that it empowers users (employees) to be more effective and efficient at what they do.
6. Measure and Improve – The first thing that came to mind when Moodycliffe mentioned this was the quote often attributed to Peter Drucker: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” You can’t assume that you’re delivering a great customer experience. You must measure your performance and use feedback to create a better experience.
In today’s competitive landscape, the notion of putting customers at the core of your business isn’t a cliché — it’s a mandate for success. From Moodycliffe’s insights to research-backed strategies, it’s clear that proactive, personalized, and technology-empowered strategies are not an option but essential.
Image Credit: Pexels
Sign up here to join 17,000+ leaders getting Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to their inbox every week.