As it appeared in the Daily Nation on January 5th 2016
Happy New Year! Does 2016 provide us with an opportunity to get better? Possibly yes. Every New Year is a new opportunity. The beginning of a new one particularly provides us with an opportunity to reflect deeply on the past year. During such reflections, we are able to identify what we did extremely well, what we need to improve and most importantly what we learnt along the way.
The customer experience is at the centre of our businesses’ existence and survival. At every opportunity a Smart Company must yearn to make their customers’ experiences better. Smart Companies know that the customer experience is critical in retaining the customers and even in attracting new ones. They as such pay attention to the overall customer experience. They serve their customers in a way that makes them feel important, appreciated, respected, cared for, happy etc. For the last 15 years that I have been in the world of business, I have learnt many lessons along the way. Most of these lessons have been on how to make the customer experience better. Today I share my top three lessons with the hope that they will help you make your customers’ experiences better in 2016.
The first lesson is on the need for the leadership to be fully committed, involved and held accountable. Their commitment must be seen in their decisions, and in their everyday actions and reactions. The leadership must make the desired customer experience clear, communicate it company-wide and allocate required resources. The experience needs to also be supported by appropriate policies and a fitting organizational structure. The leadership must take responsibility of the overall customer experience and be role models in living the desired experience every day.
The second lesson is on the people aspect. Several studies have shown that happy staff result to happy customers while others show that at the centre of the customer experience is the staff experience. It is for this reason that Smart Companies must ensure they have the right human resources practices with the right people doing the right things. Paying keen attention to aspects such as recruitment, on-boarding, learning and development and performance management contributes to improvement of the overall customer experience.
The third lesson is on the need to listen more keenly to our customers. It is important to know what they like and what they do not like. Positive customer feedback helps us know what customers value while negative feedback helps us to identify opportunities to improve. If we listen more to our customers, we will be amazed by how their feedback can help transform the customer experience for the better.
In this New Year, let us take up the challenge of making our customer experience better that it was in 2015. To do so we must look out for opportunities to improve our leadership perspective, our people aspects and our feedback mechanism. If we better our customers’ experiences, their loyalty will be evident; the customers will be happier, they will come back and bring others with them.
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org/old or via twitter @kiruthulucy