How Do You Manage Your Customer Experience?
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at Microsoft in New York City. As a person that deals with customer facing technologies on a day to day basis I had been asked to discuss how small and medium size companies can make their businesses more like Amazon.com. The funny thing is that the things that make Amazon.com successful are their processes and the mandate to be “obsessive” about their customers. So their success is not about what goes right during their orders and shipments but how their systems enable them to manage challenges and overcome them. If you sat down your customers for a focus group what would they say about your “Customer Experience”. View my comments in the video below and/or read the transcript that follows.
What are people’s actions in relation to their transactions with any business?
Let’s take a look at Amazon, Mr. Estrada suggests. Amazon’s style of selling attracted a lot of customers.
In order to engage in customer relationship management, you don’t just need one thing but an entire DNA structure, created from you and everybody else that works for your company, Mr. Estrada says. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is. It is the approach toward your customers that really matters.
What about the customer’s experience? One of the things that Amazon understood early on was the fact that you need to be obsessive about the customers and what their needs and their wants are. The only way to do that is to develop a customer relationship management system.
In the world of online technology, the great thing is that you can present to your clients the desired best image of your company that doesn’t necessarily reflect the real situation in your real office.
The fact is that it doesn’t matter how your customer interacts with your company. What really matters is that your customer gets a common, predictable [and good – excellent] experience.
Your organization is only going to have the perception of customer relationship management with your customers as far as the weakest link in the performance on the service, sale or execution side.
Was Amazon’s biggest problem the way they should create their web-site or the way they should start selling products?
Is it about you and your partners in fulfilling customer expectations?
No! Actually their main issue is that when you’ve finished ordering from Amazon’s web-side you are no longer in a relationship with Amazon, but with the real product provider.
If your company is dealing with external providers, you need to make what your customers are feeling in relation to them as strong as what you do internally.
In this situation the external provider is becoming the weakest link for your organization.
Now your customer’s opinion stems from this as well.
In the end the people that you’ve satisfied will tell one person. If you make somebody angry, he or she will tell fifty.
Make sure your providers deliver the type of experience to customers that you want them to.
What does make Amazon successful?
You can always get in touch with Amazon – from home, from outside, or while visiting your friends. Accessibility is a great advantage. As a technology vendor, when you deliver products from your web site it should be user friendly and not requiring special software. Frustrating the customers with hard access to your goods doesn’t give you good points.
Michael Dell said that the people that are going to be most successful in the world are those who are going to bring together value and community. You should find a way to make it repeatable and gather a community out of this.
Beside accessibility, another advantage of Amazon is accountability. Their focus is on people and process, not on the actual technology delivery system. That’s what puts them over the top, Mr. Estrada says.
Something you should keep in mind is the mantra “if it’s not written, it’s not strategic.”
Whenever somebody calls you and reports an issue but it remains unlogged, or when you cannot obtain some customer experience information you have a customer management relationship problem.
As customers our expectations are that the provided tools give us the ability to do whatever we want, when we want, where we want. Providing your products anytime anywhere gives you a big boost.
The CEO of Zappos told his employees – find a way to say yes; do not find a way to say no. That’s the difference between a good organization that people love and one that is not so great.
Amazon knows that a good thing for them is providing convenience to their customers.
Their clients (or customers) feel like Amazon can predict their wishes. You have to know what it is that your customer needs and and what is their level of expectation.
What is it that provides you with competitive advantage?
Using the same technology that everybody is using makes it harder for you to pull away from the pack.
It is your people, it’s your process, it’s what you do and how you do it that ultimately provides that unique business value that gives you the ability to deliver something that others call profit, Mr. Estrada says.
How can I use my relationship to the customers and build it as an advantage. You should not let yourself get lost in the technology world and let software and apps control your communication with clients.
In organizational behavior you learn that you’ll never change the way that people behave over a long period of time until you change the way they think.
When you think about Amazon.com and about the way technologies perform as you expect them to, think about the last phone conversation you had with organizations like Amazon and Zappa.
They sound very similar.
They both have the right customer attitude and they have this culture of saying “yes”.
Whatever technology you are using, you should add a customer feedback mechanism.
Until the day you close the doors of your business, your CRM implementation is never going to be completed. It’s because the market, customers and technology keep changing.
What should you do to be successful?
First of all you should be clear about what your value is, what is it that you are trying to execute for the business. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end somewhere else.
Next you should ask yourself what technology do I have and what are my business’ objectives. You have to deploy technologies that’ll make your people better and don’t be afraid to invest in their training.
Always give a chance to the customers to express their opinion about your company and the way you interact with them. Never stop looking for the changes that happen around you.
Be who you are, let your customer experience be predictable, be sure that the technology you use works for you.
Be like Amazon – be obsessive about the customer.