So often in business, we take a lot of time and energy and we put it into customer service. And that is only really one component of the customer experience. And so, then what happens is we don’t really know to put our attention onto other areas of the business. And ultimately what happens is, you know, the good adage, what gets measured gets done. And because we’re not measuring these things, because we’re not paying attention and putting energy into these other areas of our experience in business, they fall to pieces. So, how you can tell in your business that it’s time to, in its crude terms, switch it off and turn it back on again?
So, what’s the first thing that you can look at in your business to help you understand whether your customer experience needs a kick in the arse or to turn it off and turn it back on again? And it takes a bit more than that. I wish it were that simple, to be honest, but the first thing that I want you to consider is and if you’re not paying attention to this metric, I want you to find a way to start looking into it.
1. Customer Retention.
Retention means how loyal your customers are to your business and what is hopefully you developing a brand because customer retention, the higher your customer retention, the lower so many other things end up. The lower your marketing spend is, the lower it is to keep customers cheaper. It is to keep customers. Do know then also the higher your customer retention, the higher your profits, because customers who are loyal to business are likely to spend twenty five to ninety five per cent more than a brand new customer.
So, who doesn’t want that? Now how do you measure customer retention? Well, basically, you figure out over a period how many of those customers came through your business and then how many of them returned. And it’s really that simple. I remember doing some consulting work for a small, not for profit community retail shop. Like an antiques dealer. And one of the things that we wanted to work out was two things. The first was customer draw. How far out was she drawing people in and if they had been returned customers or what was her retention? So, it was so simple that all I said to her was, I want you to ask them two things at the register. What’s their postcode? And have they shopped you before? And from those quite simple questions she wrote it down in an exercise book, so literally, if you’re sitting there thinking, well, I don’t have the systems to find out that stuff, it literally cost her a fifty five cent exercise book and the will to find out.
That’s what it cost her. What she learnt was that she had quite an extensive customer draw. That meant that she was becoming a destination, a travel destination for visitors outside of that local community. Right. So where was most of her marketing happening? Within a five kilometre radius of her business. What she learnt was she needed to increase her reach out to wider areas of Victoria because people saw her as a regional destination. She was in a small regional suburb called Koo Wee Rup and she had customers coming from half an hour plus away to visit her store because it was so unique. If she hadn’t gone and understood those metrics, she would have continued to market herself to that small base of customers within five km’s of her and pretty much excluded the potential sales and customers that she could have got from that wider market. And then to find out that they loved her so much that many of them had become returned customers because they were always curious, oh, what has she got in there now? I bet I could pick up a bag and I bet I could pick up something unique. She did a fantastic job at drawing the crowds, but not from where she thought she was getting them. Right. She presumed and assumed. And you know what they say about assumptions, they make an arse out of you and me that most of her customers were locals when in fact, they weren’t. So, customer retention is certainly one of the first things I want you to consider. How often are your customers coming back to you?
Because if they’re not coming back to you, then the reality is your costs involved in lead generation, customer acquisition and then trying to sustain keep them there go up or are being wasted all together. There’s probably a piece broken, or a few pieces broken in your customer journey. That is stopping them or challenging them from becoming loyal to your business, right? So, if you don’t have high customer retention, or you don’t know where your customers are coming to you from then there’s certainly the opportunity to go and check out your customer journey map or find a way to start asking those two questions.
As a business owner, you need to understand the journey that you are sending your customers on. And if they’re not getting to the end, which is the advocacy and loyalty piece, then there’s something back there that’s breaking that opportunity. So, the next thing, if you’re a little bit bigger and you have teams, one of the first things to create a broken customer experience is when your teams acts like they work in silos.
2. Working in Silos
Now, for some of you, you might not know what I mean by silo. They have those big concrete buildings that hold grain and wheat and flour and whatever else they hold. But essentially a silo is an individual and separated from everything else around it, and you might see six silos in a row and what happens is in business, our teams act like those silos, like they’re not connected, like they’re not integrated, like they have nothing to do with each other and they completely work as individuals or as separate teams.
Now, the reality is that if that is happening, you’re breaking your customer experience or you have broken your customer experience because your customer needs, in essence, for them to get from the beginning of the customer journey to the end of it, which is advocacy and loyalty. They need a streamlined process. They need a streamlined journey. Now, what happens if you have teams that they have to deal with, and the first team is here and second team is there and third and the fourth are separated again?
Now, what happens when your customer has to speak to every part of your business, like they’re a separate part of your business to you, how frustrating is that? As a customer, you probably have had the situation where you have contacted a business or brand and you’ve had to explain your circumstances or your situation, three, four, five separate times to two, three, four, five different people. In essence, what you’ve done is you’ve broken the potential for an optimum experience if this is what your customers go through when dealing with you as your team aren’t acting like one team. They are behaving like silos.
Consider your team under a dome. That’s how they need to work. Like there is just one piece of glass over the top. It is transparent and everything underneath it works and integrates together as one. So how can you build a customer experience that is more like a dome? For your customers, so it is transparent and visible, and it is clear to understand how it all works, but ultimately also from an employee experience that they’re not working separately, running the risk of errors, poor culture, double handling and so many more risks that come with teams working in a silo environment.
In consulting to a building company, I found they had gone from a small builder to quite a large builder quite quickly. And their teams didn’t understand the impact that their work had on the very next team that worked on the project. And so ultimately, there was an extremely poor culture. Nobody really cared about the next team. They cared about getting “their” job done. But there was no clear transition or comprehension for the next part of the job let alone the previous. So, if they didn’t do the job properly, then that impacted the next team. But because they had this siloed way of doing business, it was all care, no responsibility. They didn’t see the impact that the work had on the next group or individual. And then equally for the customer, when the customer would have to deal with this organisation often dealing with a different team member every single time, the customer would be inconvenienced because nobody that I spoke to understood the roles and responsibilities of the team before them or the team after them. This could have been massively alleviated had they used the systems in place to help them manage their customer touchpoints however the teams didn’t like the system so they refused to consistently use it therefore customers and the employee experience suffered with all of the above issues that come from a siloed workforce.
So the customer would walk away wanting to bash their head against a brick wall because they were so frustrated, trust me, I had many a lengthy conversation with many of their customers and the stories were generally quite frustrating to listen to let alone experience. So, if that sounds like something that is potentially happening in your business, that you have a culture of siloed teams who don’t interact with each other, who don’t understand the impact that their work has on the team before them or the team after them, then I want you to consider how you can create an inclusive culture where your team interact with each other and completely integrate their work and the way they do things, knowing how that project will that work, that they complete impacts their team mates whether they’re in the same team or not.
And the customer experience, because ultimately we’re talking about the employee experience as well. And surprisingly, we might be surprised the team don’t really like it. They don’t like working in silos. They might do it because it’s habitual and that’s kind of the culture that they came into. But when you change it up and you give them the opportunity to work together and share goals together and achieve together, that’s the culture that creates a brand. Right. That’s the way to go about leading a group of people to achieve a vision.
The quicker you can make that change, the less time you’re going to waste spending, putting out fires on issues that keep coming up time and time again. How much would that be in savings of money, energy, and time? How nice would it be to just get one step closer to a value driven brand, to a value driven life? All right, the last one I want you to think about is whether your customer experience touch points are just a copy and paste? Does every single customer get exactly the same treatment no matter the situation?
3. Bespoke Customer Experiences
When you are dealing with humans and we talk about the human experience (HX), I want you to consider the customer journey that you take your customers on and how that differs for each person. How do you personalise your experience, considering you work with humans, whether you are a B2B or B2C? It doesn’t matter. I’m reminded of a funny story where every now and then I used to stand on the front door at Bunnings when I worked in the stores and the job of the door person is literally that, the role is called the Door Greeter. One day I was standing on the door and greeting customers as they entered and as they walk through the door, I would say “hi, how are you going”? They’re usual response was a simple “Good” as they strolled past me. This day though, a customer comes in and I ask him the same question. He replies, “I’m going shit”. Now in this moment, I had the opportunity to personalise that experience.
How would you do it? Would you turn around and copy and paste and reply with the usual “Oh great”. Clearly, it’s not. Or would you say, oh, that’s not good? Can I help with anything in particular? How would you change it up? And even the smallest customisation matters, because what it tells your customers is that they matter and that you’re listening and you’re paying attention to them.
It doesn’t mean that you need to document or script something that says and if a customer comes in and they’re not happy, make sure you say this. Encourage and develop that human experience. Just be a human being, showing empathy and understand that not every situation can be made the same for every customer. So if you are a leader of a business and you’re observing the way your team and you do business and you think to yourself, huh, that’s starting to look like a bit of control C and control V. It’s time to re-boot your customer’s experience.
If you observe the goings on in your organisation and an inkling of any of these symptoms rears its head, then your CX is in need of a re-boot… now, before it’s too late.