To celebrate the launch of my brand-new blog, I’ve put together an exclusive list of customer experience (CX) quick tips. If you’re ready to improve customer experience in your company but are pressed for time, this blog is just for you!
I’ve divided the blog into 5 sections and will list 20 tips under each one. Grab a coffee and let’s get stuck in!
Section 1: Building a Customer-Centric Organisation
One of the most effective ways to improve CX is by focussing on your organisation’s culture. Here are 20 tips to help with a customer experience culture shift.
- Create a customer-centric vision – The vision of your company acts as a roadmap for both senior leadership and those in the trenches on the front line. Write out a vision that aims to serve your customers, inspire your employees and direct the efforts of your company.
- Create a set of values – Your company values act as a foundation to support your big mission. Think about 4 important behaviours which your company stands for that will support a customer-centric business model.
- Customer experience awards – Create a monthly award to recognise the efforts of team members who provide great customer experiences. This will place an emphasis on serving customers in excellence and contributes to a healthy customer focussed culture.
- Team Meetings – During team meetings create a focus, excitement and buzz around customer or client experience. Add CX to the conversation along with productivity, organisational updates and financial goals.
- Research – Get inspired by researching the culture and practices of customer focussed organisations. Here is a list from Forbes of 100 CX focussed companies across various industries.
- Wellbeing policy – Ensure your company has an up to date wellbeing policy. The healthier your team are the better service they will provide.
- Publication – Create a space for customer experience to be promoted. This can be a monthly newsletter or a space on your internal intranet. Invite employees from across the board to write for the publication.
- Customer feedback funnel – Set up a funnel for customers to leave valuable feedback about your service. You can hire a service to do this for you using technology or you can set one up yourself using email technology and a survey builder such as JotForm.
- Quality Framework – A quality framework is a set of policies and procedures designed to improve the quality of work being produced by employees. The framework should include quality checks of work, service standards and expectations from staff. No matter what industry you’re in, you must set up a quality framework to provide the best CX for your customers.
- Measure CX – Set up a way to measure customer experience performance. This can be tied into your quality framework.
- Staff training: Create a staff training program for new starters and existing staff members. Cover the technical aspects of the role and important soft skills like communication, confidence and time management.
- Technical ability: Ensure all employees know and understand their role fully. This ensures staff feel confident in doing their job leading to great customer experiences.
- Staff surveys: Create a survey where employees can express their opinion about the organisation and provide constructive feedback. Carry out the survey twice a year to stay in touch with how your employees are feeling.
- Innovation: Aim to be an organisation that innovates and pilots new ways of working and serving its customers. Create space for innovation and new idea meetings.
- The WOW factor: The most successful companies in the world have something special about them. Follow suit and think of ways to wow your customers. Focus on adding value and going the extra mile to stand out in your industry.
- Break the rules: Sometimes it’s necessary to break the company rules as they may not be suitable for every customer. For example, staying late to help a customer who works crazy hours or providing payment breaks during the pandemic.
- Company newsletter: Reach out to your customers with a monthly newsletter that provides free content and promotional offers relating to your organisation.
- Vouchers & discounts: Your customers like free stuff and money off – we all love a good deal! Think of some valuable deals you could offer your customers to boost loyalty.
- Mark CX on the agenda: Place customer experience as an agenda item for important senior meetings. Ensure to discuss, plan and execute measures to improve CX.
- Focus: It’s easy to get bogged down in productivity and sales numbers. The same focus should be put on customer satisfaction to become a truly customer-centric organisation.
Section 2: Professional Communication
A large aspect of creating wonderful customer experiences is professional, friendly and warm communication.
Here are 20 practical tips to help with your communication strategy and skills.
- Speak with a smile: When you are on the phone smile whilst speaking as it causes your tone to sound warm, friendly and approachable.
- Phonetic Alphabet: A is for alpha…..Use the phonetic alphabet when talking on the phone. This bumps up your professionalism and helps you to communicate in a more concise way.
- Verbal nods: Whilst on the phone with customers or clients, use subtle sounds to indicate you are listening and engaging. This builds rapport and is known as a “verbal nod.”
- Signpost: Ensure you and your team are able to signpost existing customers to other service and product providers when appropriate. This provides an extra level of service and builds trust – your customers will remember you for it.
- Demonstrate patience: Whether you’re on the phone or using a video call, patience is a sought after quality by most customers. Demonstrate patience by allowing customers plenty of time to speak and have their say.
- Zoom etiquette: Ensure your employees adopt professional etiquette over zoom. This includes having a clean clutter free workspace, dressing appropriately for work calls and having a full name displayed on the Zoom platform. This installs a high level of professionalism when staff are working from home which will spill over into their service delivery.
- Use a good structure: When composing an email, be sure to use short paragraphs and headings in bold to break up your text. Use plenty of white space as this helps your email to be more customer friendly and readable.
- Provide clarity: When speaking with customers always be clear on what you are saying. Focus on the purpose of the call, any action points for you or the customer and get to the point.
- Grow in confidence: A confident communicator is a great asset to any company. To become more confident with written and telephone communication, shadow others who are good at what they do. Take note of their style, tone, pace and pitch.
- Be knowledgeable: A sure fire way to improve your communication style is to know what you’re talking about. Whether it’s a customer call or email, the more you understand their needs and how you can help them the better your service delivery.
- Don’t rush: Before communicating whether on the phone or in writing, it’s really important not to rush through things. Take your time to plan ahead making notes and preparing for the call or to write your email.
- Be honest: Be honest with your customers about what you can and can’t do for them. Emphasis on how you CAN help them rather than all the things you can’t do.
- Show empathy: Sometimes customers or clients are having a hard time. In these situations, be proactive about showing empathy by pointing out their options and letting them know you are there to help.
- Be mindful of your tone: Tone is a huge aspect of effective communication. Prioritise an upbeat, friendly and welcoming tone both on the phone and in writing.
- Embrace pressure: Communicating on a professional level brings its own pressures. Acknowledge the pressure and lean into the feeling it brings by practising your communication with a colleague.
- Overcome fear: The fear around communication can come in many circumstances: making a call to a big client, emailing an angry customer or prepping for a promotion interview. To overcome your fear, take deep breaths, prepare your notes, and practice.
- Use white space: When writing emails or letters to customers, use lots of white space as this causes your text to be much easier to read and digest.
- Know your audience: Adapt your communication style depending on who you are communicating with. Aim to always be friendly, warm and welcoming but you can change the formality of your tone depending on who you are talking to.
- Hydration: If your job involves lots of communication daily, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If you are dehydrated your body can mistake this for being tired which can result in feelings of fatigue.
- Don’t take things personally: If a customer gets angry with you, don’t allow their frustrations to ruin your day. Take a break and refresh your mind, reminding yourself that you’re just doing your job!
Section 3: Happy Staff Provide Great Customer Experiences
The happier and healthier your staff are, the better they will perform at work.
Here are 20 useful tips to promote employee happiness resulting in the production of better customer experiences.
- Lunchtimes: Encourage employees to take at least 30 minutes of lunch away from their work activities. This will leave your team feeling refreshed and revived ready for the afternoon.
- Wellbeing community: Create a wellbeing group that will champion wellbeing in the office. The group should be responsible for wellbeing initiatives, addressing wellbeing concerns and promoting mental and physical wellness. If your company is small, you can have 1 person as a wellbeing champion instead of a whole group.
- Wellbeing newsletter: The wellbeing community should create a monthly internal newsletter to promote staff wellbeing.
- Provide water: If you want your employees to have an increased level of concentration, ensure to provide free drinking water in the office. If staff are not drinking enough, they can easily get dehydrated and feel fatigued.
- Provide fruit: Ditch the unhealthy vending machines and offer fruit to staff as a way to boost their energy levels. This will show employees that you value their physical health.
- Cultivate a praise culture: It’s easy to have a culture where managers are quick to point out the errors and faults of their team. This can be very counterproductive so foster a culture where employees are praised and celebrated often.
- Create communication platforms: Create space in your organisation for employees to have their say. This can be in the form of forums, lunchtime chats or just taking the time to have honest conversations with them.
- Progression routes: Each role in your company should have a clear route to progression for those who want to build their careers. This helps to motivate and encourage people to do their best.
- Staff engagement: Engage your people with fun leisure activities organised by a staff engagement team or champion. This can include daytime events, competitions and fun evening activities.
- Flexible working: In the U.K, All employees have the legal right to request a flexible working arrangement. It’s important that your employees feel supported and confident to make a flexible working request. To achieve this, set out a clear flexible working policy and support employees who need to make an arrangement.
- Update policy: As we enter the new normal, ensure all workplace policies are up to date and relevant. This includes updating or creating a work from home policy, a pandemic policy and communicating with employees to help them understand any new changes.
- Help working parents: Working parents are a great asset to any organisation. Ensure they feel supported and not isolated as they manage their careers and the demands of family life.
- Create shadowing opportunities: Open up departments for people to arrange shadowing. This helps your staff to experience different aspects of a company and exposes them a vision of what is possible.
- Open the board room: For too long, the board room has been a closed and exclusive place. Think about opening it up once in a while to different employees so they can have their say and experience leadership first-hand.
- Promote time outdoors: Encourage employees to take a walk or eat their lunch outside. This helps people to feel refreshed, energised and can boost productivity.
- Work on internal comms: Decide on the tone and style of internal communications and ensure leaders stick to it. I’d advise keeping internal comms very friendly and simple rather than complex and authoritative.
- Promote time off: We live in a culture that promotes a high level of hustle in order to succeed. This can lead to staff feeling burnt out and having days off sick. Counter this toxic culture by promoting annual leave and portraying time off it in a positive light.
- Express gratitude: Make an effort to thank teams and individuals when they do a good job. Thank them for their hard work even when targets are not being met.
- Provide perks: What perks do your employees get for working at your company? Offer a fun and valuable package that rewards staff for choosing to work for you.
- Staff survey: Conduct a survey at least twice a year to find out how employees are feeling and what needs to change for improvement.
Section 4: Complaint Handling
I spent 7 years at the U. K’s Financial Ombudsman Service dealing with financial service complaints, speaking to consumers and advising companies on best practice. Yes, it was intense in case you were wondering!
What I find now is that many companies lack infrastructure, polies and adequate training to equip their staff to deal with complaints effectively.
Don’t worry, I’m here to help with some quick tips.
Here are 20 to help your organisation thrive and succeed when it comes to complaint handling and management.
- Process: Your organisation must have a simplified process that details how complaints should be handled. The process should be documented and understood by all employees.
- Policy: Along with a process, you also need a complaint handling policy. This sets out the rules and approach to handling complaints in your organisation.
- Training: All customer facing staff and management should be equipped through training on how to handle complaints efficiently.
- Take notes: When dealing with a complaint always take notes about what has happened and why the customer is unhappy.
- Remain neutral: Remove all bias and take a neutral approach to handling complaints. Don’t take any sides but use the evidence you have to resolve the issue.
- Quick turnaround: Complaints should be dealt with promptly to help with restoring any broken customer relationships.
- Investigate thoroughly: All complaints should be investigated thoroughly by speaking to relevant parties, asking open and closed questions and taking time out to examine the evidence provided.
- Use evidence: The types of evidence you can use to investigate a complaint include: customer testimony’s, staff testimony’s, relevant documents, dates, times, bank statements, screenshots. Use everything that will assist you with coming to a fair conclusion.
- Make reasonable assumptions: Sometimes the evidence you have may be limited. In these cases, you can use reasonable assumptions based on the information you have.
- Provide a clear answer: When resolving a complaint, ensure your answer is clear. The complaint is either upheld in favour of the customer or rejected. There is no in between responses.
- Use the phone: Whenever possible use the phone to gather information and to communicate a complaint response.
- Provide referral rights: Referral rights are given to a complaining customer once they have been given the answer to their case. Customers should be given the right to refer their complaint to a senior manager or an external organisation such as an Ombudsman or trade body.
- Support employees: Dealing with complaints can be quite stressful. Provide support for employees by assisting them with complex complaints and giving them space to talk through any difficulties.
- Compensate: Provide financial compensation when your company has caused a financial loss or distress to a customer.
- Apologise: Ensure employees apologise with a genuine tone when a customer brings a complaint to them.
- Ask what the complainant wants: At the beginning of a complaint, the complaint handler should ask the customer what they want to resolve the complaint. This can save time as sometimes they may just want an apology.
- Keep a record: Create a record management system for all complaints and store them electronically.
- Share best practice: Encourage staff to share tips, success stories and their wins in relation to complaint management.
- Learn from complaints: Use the data from complaints to improve your products, services and overall customer experiences.
- Stay positive: Complaints are a part of any customer facing organisation. Stay positive and always aim to do better. See every complaint as an opportunity for growth and to learn.
Section 5: Customer Centric Leadership
“Everything rises and falls on leadership.”John C Maxwell
If you want to build a customer centric organisation, the change must come from the top. It’s your responsibility to model a customer first attitude and cultivate a a positive customer culture through your leadership style, voice and actions.
Here are 20 quick tips to show you how:
- Listen: Listen to your staff, listen to your customers and listen to your inner self. These three voices will guide you on how to lead your company into being truly customer centric.
- Model behaviours: Model a focus on customer satisfaction by putting CX on meeting agendas and placing it at the same level of importance as productivity and sales.
- Time management: Allocate specific times in your calendar to review customer satisfaction, to think of new ways to delight customers and plan ways to improve customer experience.
- Rewards: Champion a culture of rewarding your staff for excellent customer service as well as meeting their other objectives.
- The trenches: Get in the trenches on the front line with your staff. Whether that means taking customers calls or responding personally to some customer complaints.
- Reading: Read helpful articles about customer experience to improve your knowledge. A great place to start is mycustomer.
- Build relationships: Work on building strong connections with your employees so they feel comfortable in sharing their brilliant ideas to improve CX.
- Attend conferences: There are various virtual conferences and talks designed to educate attendees about customer experience. You can find great events by searching customer experience on LinkedIn or by visiting CXmagazine, mycustomer or The Institute of Customer Service.
- Take time off: Taking time off from work is a great way to recharge and reenergise. Hand over all your responsibilities to a trusted colleague so that you have a great sense of peace whilst your away.
- Focus on culture: You are responsible for the culture of your company or team. To cultivate a customer focussed culture, ensure to implement policies, working practices and standards that promote a great employee and customer experience.
- 360 feedback: Ask the people directly under you to provide feedback on your leadership approach and style. Ask a specific question in relation to how much you focus on customer experiences.
- Touch base regularly: Touch base with all your employees on a regular basis to create a sense of unity in the organisation. This creates a great platform you can use when casting a new vision or instilling an existing one.
- Cast a customer centric vision: Casting a vision involves telling your people where the company is going and how it’s going to get there. Do this on a regular basis to inspire, motivate and educate your team.
- Produce a publication: Create an employee newsletter or internal blog that focusses on customer and employee experience. Update it regularly with customer wins, staff recognition and your personal tips and advice on how to move the organisation forwards.
- Implement values: Focus on implementing a set of values that will move your organisation towards becoming customer centric.
- Plan & execute: Make actionable plans to improve customer experience and build teams to execute them.
- Annual review: Review your organisations CX performance once a year and share your findings with all staff.
- Christmas party: Have a big party at the end of the year to celebrate the achievements of your company including customer experience wins.
- Step by step: Fix one thing at a time. Start on your mission, then move on to your values, customer feedback and employee experience ect….
- Hire an expert: Last but not least, hire an expert to come in and speak with your employees about customer experience. This is a great way to motivate, encourage and equip your people to become customer experience champions.
Tip 101: The Experience Academy
Here at The Experience Corporation, we are super passionate about helping your organisation to become customer centric.
We’re obsessed about equipping teams with the training and skills they need to provide outstanding and professional customer experiences.
The most efficient way we can do this is through The Experience Academy our exclusive corporate membership.
Join our waiting list to be the first to know when enrolment opens and to receive 10% off your company’s joining fee.