There are many factors you need to get right in order to build a successful, well-functioning business. However, for all truly successful brands they have one key thing in common: always delivering great customer experience. Famed entrepreneurs, such as Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Henry Ford, have all acknowledged the importance of customer satisfaction in the overall success of a business. But how does a business go about making sure that they’re doing all they can to deliver the best possible experience?

While the wants and needs of the customer changes from industry to industry, I’ve found that there are certain areas you can improve to ensure your customers feel you’re going above and beyond for them. This is more important in today’s customer climate as a saturated market means plenty of competition, and as a result expectations in the standards of service are higher than ever before.

Develop a customer service culture

The first step to delivering a great customer service experience is to ensure that the leaders in your business share the same vision for customer satisfaction as you. Through championing the importance of customer service within the business, and inspiring and instilling this in your executives and managers, you can ensure that this vision is supported in all areas of the company. You can cultivate this drive across the business through investing in great staff training and induction programs to ensure that new employees fully understand what the organisation is trying to achieve, and its commitment to delivering great customer service.

Understand your customer

As well as maintaining a robust framework for customer service internally, you need to understand exactly who your target customer is, and what they need and want from your service. Conducting effective market research can provide you with detailed insight into the behaviours and trends which affect how customers react to your current service or product. This data is particularly useful when identifying new ways to improve your service.

In addition to customer landscape, companies should have a good knowledge and understanding of their market and competition. Through regularly evaluating what your competitors are doing, how your product and service compares this can help ensure you stay on-top of your industry.

New Product Development

Insight from customers and competitors can always help give you a push towards new innovation and improvement. Developing innovative new ideas and products based on customer demand is an essential requirement of on-going business success.

I have been involved in product development for many years, and can’t overstate the benefit of producing a steady stream of valuable, new products and services, based on the end-users needs.

Examples of developing a business model to keep up with customer demand and competition is particularly evident in the retail industry, where brands have had to adapt to online competition. An example of this is through retailers providing “click and collect” services in order to stay relevant in today’s increasingly digitised landscape.

Many companies have similarly had to expand their businesses technology offering. However, although investing in technology is now clearly an essential step, many IT businesses fail to fully understand the importance of good technology combined with human support, which are an essential part of delivering a great overall customer experience. In order to give customers the support they need and expect, companies should ensure they have a balance of technology and on-hand human support that ensures their customers have a streamlined, clear path to the service and support they need.

Today’s pace of change in business means that quality products and services need to be constantly developed to meet the demands of consumers. Whilst there is a lot of attention focused these days on staying innovative, keeping customers at the heart of your organisations will help deliver that quality experience they expect when using your services.

By John McCallion, CEO, GroundScope