We live in an unprecedented age for businesses, the barriers to change have never been so low. Your customers can read reviews, compare and contrast your business with your competitors, without you ever knowing. Not only that, but your competitors can easily keep tabs on you. They work their hardest to target your customers and demonstrate how they can do the job better, as well as how changing to them is pain-free. Gaining competitive advantage is getting harder... but the battle isn't lost! There are still ways to wow your customers and ensure they stick around.
One of the answers implies reviewing the experiences you are providing to your customers.
If you are reading this post and work for an SME (like most of us in New Zealand), you sure would be challenging the idea at this point and probably thinking "where is the time to do all that?". So, we thought we would show you, the simple, yet effective tactics that we are applying in our IT business.
As a hint: a lot of our customer experience thinking comes from the framework, The 10 Principles Behind Great Customer Experience. You will notice this framework plays out in our examples below. If you are not familiar with Matt Watkinson's principles, put his book on your must read list!
Here's how we apply the methodologies of great customer experience to our client interactions at Lancom:
1. We help our customers have visibility of their IT support requests, and connect with us in an easy way
An important aspect of customer experience is putting the customer in control... and thats why we created
the "Lancom Button", an application that sits on every desktop or laptop we manage (and also is available via web browser).
With customised support request options that are relevant to each client we support, the ability to check and update service requests, along with being able to live chat to our engineers, we keep customers connected, helping them retain control of the process and reduce the stress which comes with technology support.
What does that mean for your business
Whether or not you are looking to create an app to help your customers connect with you, it is important to pay attention and refine your customers interaction experience with you.
Are they able to get in touch with someone in a timely manner, via a medium that suits them?
Are they able to follow up without having to rehash their prior conversation?
These are all important aspects to their experience, and how they feel about your ability to cater to their needs.
2. We give our customers an easy way to provide feedback (and so should you!)
Meeting expectations is often an overlooked, but highly important aspect of service provision.
To keep up to date with how our customers feel about the service we are delivering, we give them the opportunity to quickly tell us how they feel once their service request has been completed. This doesn't involve a lengthy questionnaire (that's not good customer experience!), but a quick click on an emoji to tell us how it went.
Most importantly, when we receive negative feedback, we take ACTION. What's worse, as a customer, than taking the time to give feedback on a sub-par service, then have nothing come of it?
Wanting to implement a similar system in your business? Check out Temper and start getting feedback!
3. Great customer experience works best as a team effort
When IT and business performance is as integrated as it is today, it's important to have context when implementing IT solutions. We take our customers on an IT journey which aligns with their business objectives, meaning each step counts towards a bigger picture.
That's why we give our customers the opportunity to come in and present to all of us about their business.
This helps increase in-house customer knowledge and bring a wider business context to the engineers who help with their day-to-day IT issues. This means that each IT solutions implemented takes into account the wider business context, which enhances our customers experience.
4. We use digital channels as a friend to leverage experiences
Technology helps us to connect like never before, which also provides opportunities for businesses to leverage digital communication platforms to enhance their customer's experience. Think personalized emails and video messages, chat messaging as well as promotion via social channels to name a few.
At Lancom, we leverage video to connect with our customers for important occasions, such as anniversaries. We get in front of the camera and record a message to celebrate and thank them for their support, recap on what we have achieved, and discuss what's to come. These small digital gestures help show your customers you value the relationship, and care about the future.
Don't take our word for it, check out the last client anniversary video we did here:
5. We show face
Just because technology gives you the chance to do all communication virtually, doesn’t mean it's the best option for your client, or your relationship. Having a personal relationships with your client's is important for growing both your client's business, and your own.
Besides showing up every month for a catch-up on common goals, we go one step further.
For example, we conduct cyber security training for our clients, to help educate their staff on how to conduct themselves safely online. Not only does this help to reduce their risk of being a victim in a cyber attack, but it also helps build our relationship with them, in person.
6. We dedicate resources to customer experience
Great customer experience requires empathy and understanding.
At Lancom, we have a dedicated Customer Experience team that ensures the customer's experience is not left to chance. A big part of this is having the inhouse talent that not only delivers a great service, but is looking for ways to provide a great experience through their abilities to contextualize situations and empathise. This combines strategy with execution, which in turn transcends every role within Lancom.
It can be overwhelming if you sit down and analyse your entire customer experience, often there's a never ending list of ways you could improve. Our advice? Focus on the little changes that you can action now, and that will create the biggest impact to your customers.
If you would like to experience our services first hand, register for our complementary, no obligation IT review. Discover how smart IT solutions matched to your business objectives can generate results that make a difference to your clients. Register here.