In the spirit of the season, I am contributing to the burgeoning collection of New Year’s resolutions with a few recommendations to enhance and evolve your customer experience approach in 2015. Unlike a multitude of such resolutions that fall by the wayside come March, hopefully these suggestions will inspire new thinking that will continue throughout the year.
There are so many ways we touch our customers, across channels and functions, virtually and physically, that it is hard to know where to begin if you want to make a difference but don’t have the capacity to reinvent across the board. Here are a few focused ideas to consider to keep those resolutions.
1. Listen More
Resolve to spend two days a month listening, reviewing, and analyzing what your clients are already telling you. When it comes to listening to clients more often and more attentively, there are a myriad of programs and options to implement, from interviews to Councils to surveys and beyond. But the truth is no matter what programs you have in place, you are already gaining all sorts of input, insight and feedback. It is sitting in email inboxes, website comment areas, client reps’ minds and company files that no one is looking at or evaluating for what it can tell you about what clients need and want. Vow to take time to review and assess this more regularly—you’ll be way ahead of the game without implementing anything new.
2. Try Something New
Resolve to do one new innovative thing in your customer experience program. Rather than wrestling with a full scale reinvention, pick one thing you are going to do that is new and innovative in the way you engage with clients to extend your reach, enhance conversations, or deepen relationships. This can be something big, like launching a Client Advisory Council. Or it can be something small, like starting an effort to systematically include client input in building the content agenda for your major client events in 2015. Or take an engagement idea from a different industry that might even seem a bit out there and try it out.
3. Meet New People
Resolve to talk to one new client in depth every quarter. Even if you are a marketer who spends a lot of time at client events or conducting customer satisfaction surveys, you can learn a lot from spending quality time one-on-one with individual clients. This is not always easy, depending on who owns the client relationships in your company, but if you can find a way to talk by phone or in person, you will increase your insight and understanding significantly. This doesn’t have to be a full scale program. Make a plan to target four of your most important or interesting clients and meet or talk by phone with just one per quarter for a real conversation. If you plan out in advance what you want to discuss and learn, and schedule the session ahead of time, you will ensure a fruitful interaction and communicate clearly to your clients about the importance of their feedback to the company.
These are just three ideas – there are many others and if you can make the resolutions definable, doable and manageable you can make progress long after the new gym membership begins to languish.