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An Executive’s Guide to Understanding the Customer Experience

| | TEC

Every customer goes through a unique and personal journey when dealing with businesses. Understanding their experience and connecting with them on a meaningful level is the fastest pathway to success. Yet many executives have become blinded by their analytic data and are failing to connect on a real level with their customer base. To achieve success, modern leaders must be willing to investigate the needs of their customers and actively work to understand them.

A closer understanding of the customer experience will ultimately lead to future-proofed, long-term success. An organisation that can meet its customer’s needs and provides a valuable overall experience is an organisation that customers will return to. By understanding the needs of their customers, an executive is better able to understand the rises and falls of their company’s profit, and understand how customer interactions impact their company’s operations.

Look for Customer Journeys, Not Just Touch Points

What really defines a customer’s journey? Many organisations define their customer journeys based on individual touch points — data aggregated from individual engagements. However, a customer’s true journey goes beyond their individual interactions with a company. Defining a customer’s experience based on touch points delivers insights which lack context.

A single customer can have a multitude of positive engagements with a company and still walk away with a negative impression of the company, depending on how the customer’s experience with the company has been overall.

This is commonly found in service-related industries, in which customers may have a positive experience with customer support each time, but be frustrated that they need to keep calling customer support. If the company is only tracking satisfaction based on customer service surveys, the company will be at a loss as to why customers are leaving.

Executives must understand the customer journey from their point-of-view, by walking themselves through the experience of interacting with their own organisation and by identifying potential flaws in the greater architecture of their organisation.

Reverse Engineer the Customer Experience

Where do you start when improving your customer experience? Executives may first explore the areas in which they already know their customer experience isn’t working. Complaints, bottlenecks, and other negative issues all represent pain points that can be fixed.

It may not always be obvious how an organisation can improve upon already successful solutions — but it is usually obvious how an organisation can improve upon its flawed onesClick to Tweet

Customer experiences are changing dramatically due to the proliferation of new customer service management technologies. In a dynamic and shifting world, finding ways in which new technologies can resolve existing customer experience issues is a straightforward way in which organisations can improve upon their overall customer experience.

Get in Touch with Real Customers — Not Just Data

Data can both reveal and obscure, and the results of data often rely upon how the data has been analysed. Rather than making assumptions based on datasets, connect with real customers. You may find that real customers have a dramatically different point of view from what reports indicate — and that sometimes their overall experiences can’t be consolidated into a report.

An executive must never lose sight of the customer. Data is extremely useful on the macro scale, but it can also be misleading on the micro scale. Rather than relying on paper reports, executives should take a look at reviews, testimonials, complaints, and concerns. Executives should reach out and make sure that customers are still satisfied, and should do their best to address issues as they arise.

[dpsp tweet=”By dealing with lower-level issues that customers experience in the company, an executive will acquire a better understanding of their company’s operations and the experience that their customers have with them.” username=”better_leaders”]

Of course, that doesn’t make data unimportant. In business, it’s high-level data that first reveals problems and trends. If customers aren’t being retained or profits are shrinking, executives will learn this through their data. However, the reality of the situation must be explored to determine what is causing the data that the organisation is seeing.

Use Personas Based on Empathetic Insights.

It’s tempting for organisations to build out generic buyer personas based on the buyers that they are interested in having, demographics that show up on their reports, or projected buyers developed by marketing teams. But buyer personas are much more personal than that. They are intended to encapsulate a unique individual as well as their experience with the organisation’s products and services.

By building out better, more detailed buyer personas, an organisation can fine-tune and improve upon its customer experience and its strategies. An executive can improve user experience based on the experience that real individuals would have with the company, rather than a hypothetical and generalised persona that may not experience the same doubts or concerns that a real individual might.

Executives who fail to understand their customer experience will eventually become out-of-touch with their organisation’s demographics and business processes and will not be able to provide valuable insights into the company’s direction. Executives who do not properly understand their customers will not be able to make the best decisions for those customers and may find themselves mystified as to why their company is experiencing losses.

Being a successful executive means being in a constant process of learning, growing, and improving.

For more information about the way that the business and customer relationship is shifting, contact the experts at TEC.

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