How to improve the customer experience

Seth Godin wrote this morning about a terrible user experience calling the KitchenAid IVR service line.

The automated phone system is an easy target and one that many (arguably most) companies do a poor job of. It may be the most blatant customer experiences flaw your company is inflicting, but probably not the only one.

As I’ve written about before, identifying opportunities to improve your customer experience doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. The easiest way is to try being your own customer.

Want to identify high ROI improvements quickly?

Start with these idea-generation steps:
1. Try completing a conversion action on your own site
If you’re a retailer, try buying a product; if you’re a software vendor, try finding, downloading and installing your trial version; if have a b2c lead generation funnel, try finding and signing up for your offer.

2. Find the answer to a common question
What are the common question you hear about your products? Try finding an answer to them from your website home page.

3. Call your own customer service line
How many buttons do you have to push to get a live person?

4. Try emailing a question
How many clicks does it take to find an email address? How long does it take before you get a response (note: make sure you use an unidentifiable email address to get the real answer)?

5. Search the web for reviews about your products
Your customers are looking for clues using social tools before they buy. What are people saying on Amazon, epinions, Twitter and niche forums?

6. Try the above with your fastest-growing competitor
Note that I didn’t say ‘largest’ competitor. The fast movers are the ones that are probably most tuned-in to customer needs. Learn anything you can from them. But, remember that your competitors are not the benchmark to compare yourself with. Your benchmark is your customer expectations, which is higher than you may think.

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