February 5, 2016

Walk A Mile In Their Shoes

customer service experienceThere’s an old saying about how you can’t really understand someone until you walk a mile in their shoes.  Interestingly, the same thought holds true in business too with regards to how we treat our customers.  When was the last time you put yourself in your customers’ shoes to see what its like to interact with your business?

As business owners, we are undoubtably focused on good customer service, but how do we know that we’re actually delivering it?   How do you know that what you’ve put into place, or try to put into place, is working?   Put yourself in your customers’ shoes by checking the following in your business (as they apply to your business model):

  • If you have an employee or answering service taking your calls, call your own business.  What’s it like to deal with the person on the other end of the phone?  How do they sound when they answer the phone and how does that reflect on your business?
  • Even if you answer your own calls, give yourself a call and see what your voice message sounds like.  Does it project the image that you want for customers?  Do you outline in your message other ways customers can get ahold of you and how quickly they can expect a response?
  • Similarly, if you have other folks helping you with customer service emails, send an email to your business and gauge the response that you receive.  Is the branding in the email inline with what you want?  Is the messaging and tone appropriate for your business?
  • If you sell products wholesale, send some marketing material and samples to your home address.  What do they look like when they arrive?  Does this fit with the impression you want to give buyers?  Evaluate everything from the outer packaging to the contents inside.
  • Do you sell online (either through your own website or a separate site like Etsy)?  When was the last time you walked through a product purchase experience and bought something from yourself?  How easy or hard was it to purchase from you?  Was the customer kept up to date throughout the process with regards to when the product would ship, it’s tracking information (as applicable), and other relevant information?
  • Have you tried to subscribe or unsubscribe from your own newsletter.  How hard is it to do that?  Might someone get frustrated with the process?
  • Do you sell directly to customers?  Ask a friend or family member to send someone you don’t know to ‘secret shop’ from you and share their experiences.  Listen for the high points and the low points in their experience and see if you can make adjustments as needed.

Every customer interaction with you and your company says something to them about your business.  Naturally, you want them to become loyal customers of yours and walking a mile in their shoes, understanding their pain points when it comes to dealing with your business, and trying to smooth out the process as much as possible will go a long way in helping you get there.

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