You can always turn a negative into a positive.– Dan Gingiss
We all know that running a business efficiently and smoothly is not an easy feat. We all face hardships and challenges but that doesn’t mean we step back or give up. Dedicated effort goes a long way; as Dan Gingiss explains, one can always turn a negative experience into a positive one.
Whether it is about business growth or customer experience, you can streamline both by creating proper plans and implementing the right CX strategies. There is a direct correlation between happy customers and the growth of your business. Hence, by streamlining customers’ journeys, businesses can leverage increased profits.
To leverage some useful CX insights, we interviewed Mr Dan Gingiss, an internationally recognised customer experience coach, author, keynote speaker, and podcaster with more than 20 years of experience in the field.
He has worked with various businesses and organisations to help them improve their customers’ journeys. In this interview, he shares practised insights for businesses that wish to drive their profits to the next level.
Here you will understand why CX is essential and how businesses can develop the right strategies to fulfil customers’ needs. Read the full interview to unveil the strategies and crucial takeaways for your business.
1. Can you tell us about your journey in the field of customer experience? How fulfilling has it been?
I started working in customer experience almost by accident. While working at Discover Card, a credit card company in the United States, I was recruited by the chief digital officer for a role where I would be leading digital customer experience and social media.
Oddly enough, I had never worked in this field, so I asked him why he thought of me for the position. He said that he noticed something about me that, frankly, I hadn’t even noticed about myself. He said that I always wore the customer hat in meetings and always thought of business decisions from the customer’s point of view. As soon as I heard that, a light bulb went off in my head. I knew that customer experience was what I needed to do with my career.
Competing on price is a loser’s game. Just ask the local gas station, which has its competitor right across the street selling gas at the same price. If both of them continue to lower the price, eventually they’ll be giving the gas away for free. It also makes it harder to compete on product. Take Uber, one of the most innovative companies in the world. Its concept was copied by several competitors. Let’s face it, as it is with most businesses, we’re selling the same thing as our competitors.
So what’s left? Customer experience. What’s great about customer experience is that it is delivered and driven by humans. Each of us operates and thinks differently, hence, what we can deliver as customer experience can also be truly unique. I believe that customer experience is the last true differentiator among companies.
2. What are the biggest obstacles that businesses face in the field of CX?
The two biggest obstacles are a lack of executive buy-in and a lack of resources. Customer experience is doomed to fail if the top executives in the company are not supportive. And resources are needed, both human and financial, to ensure that the entire customer journey is covered. That said, improving the customer experience does not need to be expensive. There are many simple, practical, and inexpensive ways to change an ordinary experience into extraordinary.
3. What does a perfect customer experience look like?
I’m not sure there’s such a thing as ‘perfect’ customer experience, but the best ones are easy, seamless, and convenient. Still, the challenge is to make the vast majority of experiences, which are usually pretty ordinary, remarkable. When something is remarkable, or literally, worthy of a remark, customers share it with their friends, family, and social media followers. This starts the elusive word-of-mouth marketing that so many companies seek. It is so much more powerful than any other marketing the brand does for itself.
4. What should businesses do to develop an understanding of the customers’ mindset?
Listen to your customers, and most importantly, talk to them! Often we try to guess what our customers want when simply speaking to them would give us the answer we need. Customers are more than willing to share their opinions when asked. This can be done at the macro-level (for instance, thoughts about the brand or a particular product) or the micro-level (for instance, thoughts about a particular feature or the navigation on a website).
5. As an internationally recognised CX speaker, what advice will you give to businesses who wish to streamline their customers’ journeys?
My best piece of advice is to become a customer of your own company. Go through all of the actions your customers need to go through to do business with you.
Is it difficult to sign up for your product or service? How complex are your password rules or what happens when you forget your password? Are your invoices clear and concise? Is it easy to make payments? What kinds of communication do you receive? Take a look at each of these from a customer’s point of view and evaluate how you can improve the experience. Just like the TV show Undercover Boss put executives in the shoes of their employees, we should also put ourselves in the shoes of our customers.
6. Is there any way to measure the customer experience?
There are a variety of ways to measure customer experience and to get a complete picture, brands should incorporate several of them. The first way is to simply ask your customers. Whether this is through traditional customer research like surveys and focus groups, or user testing of specific experiences; ask and you shall receive feedback.
Another way is essentially the converse of the first way; let customers come and measure their sentiment. This is also called Voice of the Customer. It can take the form of direct feedback through existing customer service channels, ratings, reviews, third-party discussion boards, or even social media.
Finally, brands can turn to third-party evaluators to measure customer experience. Companies like Forrester and J.D. Power have different proprietary methods for measuring satisfaction, which usually provides objective, quantifiable and actionable results, as well as valuable competitive data. Keep in mind, though, that a brand’s goal should not be to win an award or “beat” a survey. The goal should be to provide a best-in-class customer experience, which in turn will lead to positive results in third-party evaluations.
7. You were named in ‘30 Most Influential People in Social Customer Service’. Tell us how social customer service impacts customers’ journeys?
Recently, I heard a quote which I loved. “Customer service is what happens when the customer experience breaks.” Isn’t that the truth? Customer service is a subset of customer experience and an important one at that. When customers have a problem with a product or service, they want and deserve a resolution as quickly and easily as possible. Customer service is actually an excellent opportunity to demonstrate outstanding customer experience. A lot of studies have shown that customers who had an issue resolved, ended up being more loyal than customers who never had a problem in the first place!
8. Can you please share some tips from your book Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media?
The book walks through the eight steps needed to win at social customer care. They are: creating a social care philosophy, choosing the right technology, selecting the right team members, training those team members, developing a process, thoroughly reporting on success, integrating with the core business, and integrating with your CRM. For all of them, I give examples of companies that have been successful throughout their journey. I find that looking at other companies, and their success, is the best way to inspire people to create amazing experiences at their own companies.
9. Is there anything you want to add about the customer experience?
Don’t feel like you have to solve everything all at once. It’s okay to start small. Look for places in the customer journey that create pain points and try to resolve those first. They may seem small, but every time we annoy a customer, we risk them leaving us for a competitor. Then spend some time thinking about how you can enhance the rest of your experience to be just a step above what the customer expects. This doesn’t mean you have to shoot off fireworks or send all of your customers a huge gift card. It just means that you have to anticipate their needs and over-deliver on your promises.
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