Bill Gates once said, “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Of course, an unhappy customer is what one would call a customer experience mistake, and there is indeed a great deal to learn from them. But first you need to know how to determine what those mistakes are – usually by deciphering customer complaints, which can often be quite cryptic – so you can avoid them in the future.
Here are 5 common customer experience mistakes and how to steer clear of them:
1. Customer Neglect
Customer-company interactions are what businesses are built on, but in today’s customer-centric and options-heavy economy, businesses don’t have the luxury of defining the parameters and channels of those communications.
Long gone are the days of one hotline that customers can call. Successful companies offer a single-point-of-contact (SPOC) on every platform their customers are using. So the primary customer mistake is not having that SPOC for your customers. Otherwise, you’re not there to hear their complaints, you’re not there to answer their questions, you’re not there to get them the information they need when they need it, and you’re not there to influence their purchasing decisions.
Be available to your customers, and they will show their gratitude in sales.
2. Brand/Product Decoupling
It’s no longer enough to sell people a thing; you’ve got to sell them an experience, a feeling, an identity. In other words, you’ve got to make sure your products and your brand are inherently linked. Spending money to advertise how awesome your brand is and then delivering a product that doesn’t deliver on that awesomeness is just another way to make customers question your integrity, let alone the value of your products.
Make your brand the soul of your product, and when someone buys the latter, make sure they really feel the former.
3. Not Speaking Their Language
When we talk about knowing your customer, one of the most important ways to know them is to know how they communicate. Do they prefer things formal and serious, or casual and humorous? Are they going to be turned on or put off by a highly technical language? Do they respond more to visuals or text?
For instance, Iflexion has built a crowdfunding social media network for a client who had a good understanding of the way charity institutions function and an idea of leveraging modern technical capabilities in order to make the process of fundraising easier. In designing the app, Iflexion knew they were dealing with a customer base that knew a lot about technology and appreciated a crisp, cutting-edge design. So they built all that into the app.
Your customers speak a specific language, and if you can learn and listen to that language, you’ll gain their trust, admiration, and business.
4. Ignoring Feedback
A recent report found that about 70% of customer complaints on Twitter – a growing platform for the airing of customer grievances – are ignored by the sources of those complaints. But the problem can run much deeper than not having your company’s social media game up to snuff. It’s simply not enough to have data collection and customer satisfaction measures in place; you’ve got to respond to them. Your company literally needs to change course in conjunction with what your customers are telling you, or they’re simply going to stop coming around.
In essence, your customer service should be the result of, not the resistance to, listening to customer feedback.
5. Missing the Whole Feedback Picture
If your company is up to listening to only negative customer feedback, then it’s going to miss a big opportunity. Sure, people like to complain when something goes wrong, but they also like to voice their satisfaction when something goes right. Too many companies spend a lot of time trying to gather any expression of dissatisfaction and respond to it, but they then fail to persist in practices that are actually quite admired by the vast majority of customers.
Know the whole feedback picture to avoid changing things that some customers feel negative about but most customers actually really prefer.
To look in the nutshell at what it means to avoid customer service mistakes, consider the world of mobile app development. An app is like a small store where all the customer experience mistakes can be made or avoided. If the app doesn’t offer a seamless, integrated customer communication mechanism, it’s going to lose loyalty because customers are going to feel lost and ignored.
If it doesn’t offer a product that conjures its brand, the disconnect is going to disillusion its users. If it isn’t filled with content and design that speaks in the native tongue of its users, they’re going to feel alienated and run to something more “like them.” If the app collects feedback but doesn’t change in response to it, then customers will eventually give up and go elsewhere. And if the business only listens to one kind of feedback, what it considers to be improvements could actually be quite the opposite.
Every company, like every person, is going to make mistakes. But when it comes to customer experience, the challenge is to see these mistakes as major learning opportunities. They are the very highways along which your company should be steering its course towards improvement. Meet your customers, talk to them in their language, respond to their concerns, and gather the entire data image, and you’ll go a long way toward effectively developing into a more responsive, and more profitable, enterprise.