Three techniques that can help your organisation deliver greater value to your customers
Most of what we do in life involves some form of customer interaction. From getting our daily caffeine fix, to getting takeaway on a Sunday night when you can’t be bothered cooking, to wrangling with your bank about an incorrect charge. Some of these interactions are more enjoyable than others; in fact, some are so enjoyable that you want to repeat them regularly. It’s the difference between the great, average and forgettable customer experiences that tell you how aligned organisations are to the needs of their customers.
Until quite recently, the concept of customer experience was not something that organisations in the health, disability and social sectors were concerned with. However, the challenges of customer acquisition, retention and experience are now firmly entrenched in the vernacular of organisations in these sectors. As a result, affected organisations must think, act and interact differently with their customers.
Drawing on our experience of working with start-ups and established organisations, below are 3 techniques that we’ve deployed to create immediate and effective improvements to the way organisations deliver value to their customers.
1. Develop customer personas (or avatars)
To build any relationship there are at least two, key ingredients: understanding and empathy. The challenge that we often encounter, however, is that organisations do not always genuinely understand or empathise with their customers.
We suggest developing personas for each of your customer segments to gain a deeper appreciation of the customers that you serve. A customer persona is a semi-fictional narrative that represents the key traits of the organisation’s primary customer segments.
In developing customer personas, the approach is pretty simple:
Demographic traits: List out your persona’s demographic traits (eg. age, sex, education level, income level, marital status, occupation, religion, etc.).
Psychographic traits: These traits define why your customer engages with your organisations. These are based on values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyle. Eg, wanting a healthy lifestyle, valuing time with family.
Name and visualise your persona: Naming and visualising your persona humanises the profile. If you are targeting both men and women, you'll want to create a male and female name.
Develop a story: Write a story that talks to your customers’ experience with your product or service. For example, what were they thinking before they engaged with your service? How were they feeling? Why were they feeling that way? What were they looking for? What were they hoping to solve or accomplish? How did they find you or hear about you? How did they feel once they purchased your product or service?
2. Create a customer charter
In addition to having a deeper understanding of your customers, it’s also critical to articulate how you want to treat them (and how customers should expect to be treated) – this can be defined in a Customer Charter. While there’s certainly no prescriptive way to develop a charter, the essence of such a document is to create a consistent approach for your organisation to think about, treat and interact with customers.
For example, a customer charter may define:
The values or principles that your organisation wants to demonstrate
The service levels that customers can expect
What customers can expect from any interaction with your organisation.
It is important that once the charter is created it is well understood and consistently applied by all in an organisation.
3. Change the processes that matter most
Inevitably once you have a better understanding of your customers and have also clearly defined how you want to work with them (and what their expectations should be), you’ll soon realise that there are a number of processes that may no longer suit.
For example, does your organisation’s intake process ask the right questions so that you gain a detailed understanding of your customer’s needs? Do you require your customers to retell their stories repeatedly to different members of your workforce?
Once you have identified those processes where the greatest misalignment exists, try and find ways to fix them. Customer involvement is instrumental in the solution development process. For an example of how Impact Co. refined a customer intake process to reflect the needs of customers, read here.
Creating a customer-centric organisation may require significant and major changes. However, we would suggest starting small, learning from your initial efforts and progressively iterating – a good place to start are the 3 techniques described in this article.
If you would like to learn more about how we support organisations to deliver better customer experiences, please get in touch.
Contact us at hello@Impactco.com.au and start making an impact on your business today.