By Adam Toporek
Sometimes, the simplest things get lost in the sea of complexity that is modern business. In customer experience optimization, many initiatives are complicated, requiring challenges like increased budgets, executive sponsorship, and infrastructure overhauls to even get off the ground.
Occasionally, the quick, simple wins are the ones that are most obvious and most ignored.
Below are five communication methods that often present opportunities for quick wins in improving your customer’s experience.
Little you will read below is new, but here’s my challenge to you: How long has it been since you really took a moment to evaluate these channels?
Let’s take a few minutes to take the plane off auto-pilot and see where we can steer it.
Simple Customer Communication Wins
One positive to customer facing emails is that they are generally easy to change (assuming the approval process is not too onerous). Look at your organization’s email communications. Are customers getting too many emails? Too few? Are they getting them at the right points in the customer experience? Or is the timing off?
Is the language of the emails communicating what it should be? Are you choosing the most effective language for your subject lines to increase open rates?
Think about the design, look and feel of your emails. Does your email signature have your title, a logo, or your contact information? If your website isn’t listed in the signature, consider adding a link to your contact or about page. Is your brand promise or company mission statement mentioned?
And, of course, don’t forget the actual content of the emails.
I am not a big proponent of scripts, but I also believe them to be useful in narrow circumstances. (See these dueling blog posts between me and my buddy Jeff Toister on the subject.) The reality is almost every organization has some form of phone script – even if it is simply a uniform greeting when answering the line. When is the last time you evaluated these scripts?
We are looking for quick fixes, so test it yourself. Call your company with a common issue or ask several questions to see how the rep handles the call. Are they patient, friendly, and accommodating? Do they have an appropriate tone of voice? You may find that the way your scripts are worded makes a conversation inauthentic and can push your customers away.
If you find that simple questions pose a challenge to your reps, review your training and add some helpful language that reps can use to progress conversations with customers. Set your employees up for successful interactions with your customers over the phone.
When was the last time you edited or updated your in-store materials or mailing pieces?
If someone has never heard of your store, would they be able to tell what you do or sell simply by looking at your print collateral? What unnecessary information can you delete to make the presentation clearer? In what ways does the fine print restrict your customer, and have you prepared your teams for handling customer’s questions about these small details?
Are all of the details fresh — like the logo or the color scheme? How many more boxes of flyers do you have left before you have to reorder? When would you need to have the artwork changed to make that deadline?
We’ve discussed the importance of good signage before, and we want to provide more tips for improving customer-facing signage. Ultimately, you want external and internal signage to communicate important and timely information: new products or promotions, company news, or helpful instructions for things like where the sale items are located. Whatever signage you display in your business, make sure the language uses proper spelling, grammar and tone. You also want to display signs neatly in the location that is most relevant to the sign’s message.
Perform a quick walk through of your store or business and count how many different signs, tabletop displays or memo-style flyers you have displayed. If you realize that you have a lot of signage, take down any that is outdated or unnecessary. Other than signs like “Employees Must Wash Hands,” do you have other messages or memos directed to employees in places your customers can read? If so, utilize a break room or office bulletin board.
If you do have important information posted for customers, is it in the right place? Also, does it look professional and convey the right tone to your customers?
What in your business has changed since you last updated your website? Audit all your phone numbers, addresses, staff contact information (if you list it), and products and services that you currently carry. Your website is often the first channel your customers see and updating it is crucial to properly communicating information to your customers. Many of your customers will check your site before they even think about making the trip to your store.
Make sure the basics are correct and easy to find: address, phone number, hours of operation, promotions, and any other information customers might naturally look for. Take a look at the site structure. Is it designed the way your customers surf? Is information organized not only logically but also based on priorities?
The above list threw out a few random ideas for analyzing your communication channels. To take a more formal approach, you can look at each piece of communication in your organization and ask the following questions. Does the form and substance of the communication…
- represent our current brand promise?
- represent our current business model?
- convey the messages we want the customer to receive?
- anticipate customer questions?
- anticipate customer difficulties?
- preempt likely service issues?
Of course, not every piece of communication can accomplish all of the above; however, each one should be passed through these questions so that your organization understands what messages each piece of communication carries with it.
Use the ideas above to see what “quick wins” you can find in your communication. You’ll be surprised by the number of opportunities you discover.