Questions are key to customer relationships. But before you can start nurturing better ones, you must turn the questions inwards. You must ask yourself some important questions about your organisation – and how you approach the customer relationship.Let’s get straight into it with five questions that you can start with:1. How well are you satisfying the ‘baseline’ needs of your customers?This is very important. If the basic expectations of customers are not met then, naturally, they are unsatisfied – which makes them litigious, they ask for refunds, have no loyalty, and will leave at the slightest hiccup. If you consistently meet ‘baseline’ expectations and needs, they will forgive you when things don’t go quite as planned.
2. Are you spending too much time on ‘baseline’ needs and not enough on creating delightful customer experiences?If you overspend on delivering a standardised, repeatable experience, but ignore individual focus and adaptability, this will result in a totally commoditized market; meaning that there will be no opportunity to charge a premium for your product or service.3. Have you mapped out each step of your customer’s journey?It’s important to fully understand the customer journey – from the moment they first hear about you until they arrive home again with your product or service (or interact online with you). Consider whether you are satisfying ‘baseline’ needs or delivering ‘delight’ at each of the customer touch-points, and make sure that your customer service people know the difference.4. What is the customer ‘narrative’ about your product or service?If the customer’s ‘narrative’ comes from having their ‘baseline’ expectations met, then it will most likely be described in similar terms to your competitors’ offerings. The aim is to make this narrative based on a majority of good (‘delightful’) experiences compared to bad experiences – it’s easy to check on social media what they’re saying about you; or (worse) if they’re not saying anything about you!
5. Are you using technology as an ‘enabler’ or a ‘definer’?Make sure that you use technology to enable and streamline the customer experience rather than disable or confuse it. Many companies use new software programs intended to track and record customer interaction and experience; however all they achieve is an erosion of goodwill as the buying experience becomes more difficult. Technology must be in the service of the customer experience.These five questions are the foundation stones for designing a strategy based on better customer experiences. They should get you thinking more about what your organisation stands for and what you are hoping to deliver.