How to Wow Your Customers: Top Tips from Rebecca Brown
Every business needs to appreciate the importance of customer experience. And at this year’s UK Business Awards, we’ll be hearing several companies share their story of CX Transformation in the Best Customer Experience category. But no matter what type of business you’re in, or which category you’re entering this year, learning more about CX is a real business imperative.
On the latest episode of the Building Back Better podcast, Luke Murfitt spoke to Rebecca Brown, Founder and Lead Consultant at Think Wow, an organisation helping SMEs and start- ups create satisfied, loyal customers.
She first met Luke when she was judging at the UK Complaint Handling Awards and he was delivering the keynote speech. Both remember the event fondly.
“Awards International really level the playing field,” Rebecca explains. “There’s at least 4 judges for each category, who compile their scores without speaking to each other about them.” And it’s so important for her that there’s an awards programme that focuses on complaints: “they [complaints] are like gold dust. They need to be welcomed into the business.”
“No company gets everything right,” says Rebecca. “The beauty of CX, and the hard part, is that it’s a continuing journey. Some companies that stand out, though, are people like Octopus Energy, who approach everything with a really different perspective. They don’t have an HR team, because they didn’t want it to seem like “them and us”. Everybody helps look after each other in the organisation. They publish their complaint statistics on their website so people can see what customers have been complaining about. And they just have a really open approach to customer service.”
“I also really like Zappos and the way they flipped call handling on its head. A lot of businesses target their staff to get their calls done within a certain amount of time so they can move onto the next call and make the queue as small as possible. Zappos want to deliver good quality experiences to our clients, so agents are targeted to have minimum call times. They want them on the phone for at least as long as this, so they’ve really asked the questions, so they’ve really met the customer’s needs. It doesn’t have to be complex: you just have to focus on your customer’s needs as well as your business needs.”
This is the crucial thing for business leaders to understand. They may well have a high level of expertise in their chosen area, but without appreciating changing customer needs, that expertise could easily be outdated. As Rebecca explains, “Lots of businesses can fall into the trap of considering themselves an expert, but if you stop thinking about CX as something that evolves, you can easily be blind to a new need that arises. The last year has really shown us that can happen drastically: with covid, customer expectations changed so muchovernight, and those businesses who were already working in an agile way, who were already used to reviewing their customer experience and making changes based on recent feedback were able to adapt far quicker than businesses that were very set in their ways.”
With categories at this year’s awards focusing on SMEs and start-ups, Luke was keen to ask Rebecca for any advice about improving customer experience within those smaller organisations.
“For larger SMEs, we do tend to start right at the beginning,” says Rebecca. “We’ll look at their values, their culture, how ready they are for change, and start underpinning any change that might happen. We do this by getting the staff involved as much as possible so they feel bought in, engaged: they feel excited about the change rather than feeling it’s being rolled down from the top.”
“We also map out that customer journey end-to-end, and figure out how they feel about each touchpoint. We use that mapping to highlight the good and the bad. Our aim is to ensure that from the start to the finish, nothing is left to chance.”
There’s some great lessons here for business leaders looking to gain that competitive edge. After all, if you can build greater loyalty with your customers, they’ll spend more money and be a brand advocate for you. Customer experience can’t just be considered a part of business; it is your business.
The key takeaways here are:
- Start by appreciating your employee’s needs, and figure out their pain points
- Apply that same process to your customers, leaving no stone unturned in mapping out the customer journey
- Continually refine this process based on evolving customer needs
- Sharing that story for an awards programme is very beneficial: as Rebecca puts it, “There’s nothing better to brings things into sharp focus than a bit of competition.”
Founder and Lead Consultant at Think Wow