March 7, 2017

Adopting a Customer-First Approach to Business Decision-Making

At the start of 2017, there are a number of new technologies you may be considering adopting for your business. Maybe you’re thinking of investing in marketing automation, developing an IoT product, expanding your social media profiles, or using chatbots to help with customer service. All of these technologies can provide value, but only if you adopt them for the right reasons. It’s important to keep in mind that technology is a supportive tool that helps you execute your business objectives, not the only tool.

The most important question to ask before adopting new technology is “How does this technology benefit my customers?”

Technology and the Customer Experience Journey

When adopted for the right reasons, technology can attract new customers, enable exceptional customer service, and cater to individuals with different needs and preferences. Technology can also enable agility, allowing you to pivot easily to accommodate different client needs, changing industry standards, and even internal requirements. In short, technology enhances the customer experience journey when it’s adopted using a customer-first mindset.

Before adopting a new technology, it’s important to take a step back and consider the impact (or lack of impact) the technology will have on your customers and prospects. Will this new feature help customers? How? Will your customer experience journey be impacted if you don’t adopt the technology, or is your adoption of the technology geared more toward vanity and your bottom line?

The Golden Age of Customer Experience

In many ways, modern technology has enabled the golden age of customer experience. Customer service used to be inconvenient. Customers had two options: visit a customer service desk in store, or call a customer service hotline. Both generally meant long wait times, an interruption of daily life, and considerable frustration.

Today, there are a number of ways customers can get help when needed:

  • Companies post how-to and troubleshooting guides online so detailed help is only a search and click away. Forums, FAQs, and instructional videos are published as well to assist customers who want to solve issues on their own without reaching out to a live agent.

  • Customer service occurs through social media, email, and messaging applications. In some cases, the problems can be taken care of immediately through chat. When an agent isn’t available, the chat can happen over time, eliminating the need for spending time listening to hold music.

  • Chatbots can also help answer common questions instantly without even needing a real person on the other end to engage in real-time chat.

Modern customer service caters to a variety of engagement preferences. However, just because a touchpoint or technology is available, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should adopt it. Before adopting these customer service methods, consider how each will impact your customers. Will they be frustrated by interacting with a chatbot? Do you have enough frequently asked questions to justify using a chatbot to provide assistance?

Consider the customer experience before adopting these technologies. Otherwise, your efforts could backfire, leaving customers feeling as frustrated and alienated as they do when interacting with automated phone systems.

The Golden Rule of Customer Experience

Meaning is uncovered when we ask “why?”

Change begins with “what if?”

Innovation starts with “what’s next?”

Linked In, Attention is a Currency

The golden rule in a religious sense is to treat others as you want to be treated. In a business sense, this translates into treating your customers as you want to be treated as a customer in turn.

Think of the things other business do that frustrate you as a consumer. Do you tire of closing popups when trying to access content on websites? Do you unsubscribe from email newsletters that send irrelevant content? Do you hate waiting on hold for customer service? If so, your customers probably feel the same way.

Before adopting new technology, launching new campaigns, publishing new content, or making any changes that impact your customers, seriously consider why you’ve made the decision. Will the change benefit your customers? What if you didn’t implement the change? Would the customer experience suffer?

Make your customers the hero of your business’s story. By making customers feel valued and appreciated, they’ll feel more loyalty to your business—and they’ll share that sense of loyalty with others. With a customer-first mindset, you can avoid the pitfalls and expense of jumping on the bandwagon for the hot new technology or best practice, and, instead, you’ll enjoy the profitability of a loyal and satisfied audience.