By Fergus Miskelly, EMEA Advisory Director, Cloud Sherpas

Now that you know why improving the customer experience is so valuable and what the customer journey that shapes that experience entails, how can you actually put this information to use? Here’s what it takes to deliver on your goal of an optimised customer experience.

Don’t limit your efforts to improve

The most important thing you need to know as you seek to improve your customer experience is that you don’t have to (and definitely shouldn’t) focus only on improving your direct interactions with customers.

An optimised customer experience is the product of both effective customer engagements and supporting productivity capabilities. To get the results you want, you need to focus on both sides of this equation.

Pay internal processes the attention they deserve

Let’s start by looking at those supporting productivity capabilities because (a) they’re overlooked far too often and (b) you need to take an inside-out approach to your improvements.

Every time customers interact with your business, there are any number of internal processes that have to happen behind the scenes to bring that interaction to life. The speed, efficiency and accuracy of those processes can truly make or break the customer experience. As a result, even though these processes may only indirectly impact the customer experience, the impact is very real and of the utmost importance.

To improve these internal processes, you need to focus on workplace productivity, including how employees collaborate with one another, find information and get work done. By making improvements in these areas, you can improve the efficiency and value of direct customer interactions as a result.

In addition to focusing on how you can improve these processes, you also need to make a point of helping your employees understand how what they do connects with other processes and ultimately, any direct interactions with customers. The clearer this connection, the more your team will understand the impact of their work.

Make direct customer interactions more effective

Although improving internal processes can go a long way to improving the customer experience, you still need to focus on what happens during direct customer interactions. The best place to start when it comes to improving the quality of these interactions is to focus on channels of engagement.

As the number of channel options grows, you need to pay particular attention to customer preference in order to allow customers to engage with you on the channel that is most convenient for them. In doing so, you need to take the time to learn exactly how each channel operates and pay close attention to the quality of experience on each channel. You also need to pay equal attention to each channel, regardless of how small or inexpensive it may be.

Beyond offering multiple channels so that customers can engage with you in different ways according to preference, you also need to make it easy for customers to switch between channels. By taking an omnichannel approach that connects customer information across each of these channels, you can make any switches seamless – which will go a long way in improving the customer experience.

Listen to your customers

Listen to what your customers say. As simple as this may sound, it’s an important ingredient of customer experience success. Your customers are speaking because they want to be heard, so it’s up to your business to listen, understand and respond.

Your customers will share both good and bad feedback on social media and review sites, and you need to make clear to them that you’re there to accept that feedback. When it comes to negative feedback, a response that demonstrates a true understanding of customers’ problems and needs can go a long way towards turning an issue around or even stemming negative feelings before they become over-communicated. On the other hand, be sure to recognise and reward positive feedback in order to encourage customers to continue to share good things and spread the word.

Lastly, whether customers share negative or positive feedback, pay attention to what they’re saying and use it as a chance to improve. After all, what better way to enhance your customer experience than doing exactly what your customers tell you they want?