Customer Experience

How to listen better to your customers

March 2019

As a decision maker or leader of a business listening to your customer’s voice is fundamental. Understanding your customers is also a vital part of improving your customer experience.

You might already have sources of customer research through customer satisfaction surveys, product feedback or feedback from sales and account teams. But whilst this sort of information can be analysed to help you determine trends, you should focus on ways to uncover elements that most influence the personal motivations and drivers of your customers including their needs, wants and aspirations in the context of their perceptions of your organisation and your industry. Armed with this knowledge, you can design more effective products, services and customer experiences, and increase the value you provide.

What method to use?

Which method you use to listen to your customers will depend on your customers, your relationships with them, the channels they utilise, the degree of loyalty they have with your organisation and the best environment to understand their needs. There are a wide variety to methods you can choose from, including:

How to get customer context?

We find it is rare to be able to be able to understand your customers (and develop a 'killer idea'?) without learning the problem space properly. By immersing yourself in the context of your customers'problems you may start to see patterns emerging and make a deeper level of connection. There is always value in looking backwards before you look forwards.

Once you identify the met or unmet needs of your customers, interpret how they go about making decisions and understand which channels they are inclined to use or interact with to engage with your organisation; you will greatly expand the range of opportunities you have for influencing the way those customers perceive your brand, your products or services and your company.

Getting perspective on your customers is grounded in an information-driven understanding of your customers and the problem you are hoping to address.

This might include the questions:

  • What is the big picture or context of this topic?
  • What previous ideas or opportunities have been addressed before?
  • What are the dimensions of the current perceived problems or opportunities?
  • How do macro, political, economic, social or technological trends shape the problem or opportunities?
  • What has led up to the current status quo and where do the future opportunities lie?

How to capitalise on your understanding

There is no hard and fast rule on which tools and techniques to use to gain a better understanding of your customer and their needs. Rather, any approaches you take will need to be multi-layered and holistic approach.

It is important to remember that your customers and users have experienced their context uniquely; they are the prime source of information about its many facets. Their knowledge may be hidden below the surface or be hard to understand immediately. Observation and discussion during workshops are invaluable but it is worth remembering that they can only portray the 'here and now' - i.e. the elements that the customer is prepared or able to express or display. Deeper layers of meaning, things that can be expected to be still valid in the future, will need to be understood by calling up memories from the past (often with associated positive and negative connotations).

Assembling the big picture of how and why your customers are interacting with different channels, touch points, products and services is where your customer experience journey begins. Conducting new research into your customers' needs takes more investment of time and money but is a critical step in the experience mapping process and should ideally be done iteratively. Never rely on just one data source. Triangulate your problem area to get the full picture and keep questioning any knowledge gaps that arise.

Getting feedback at source

From our experience, one of the most valuable ways to gather customer feedback is direct from source. We built On My Way to allow customers to see all the information they need to know about their planned service appointment. This includes appointment address, time and delivery window, technician name and their badge ID and photograph alongside the real-time location of the service engineer shown graphically on a live map.

On My Way also lets you get direct feedback from customers who have used the service. This feedback is taken during the service transaction itself, whilst the customer is viewing and interacting with On My Way and waiting for their service engineer to arrive. Feedback available includes customer satisfaction ratings and easy capture of any customer comments and any follow up actions relating to the service experience. Some of our clients also leverage net promoter scores and reviews for their customer rating sites such as Trustpilot.

All of the information is easily viewed within a dedicated portal, so you can see first hand how your customers really feel about their service interaction and the degree of engagement they have had with your business.

Why not take a look and speak to us for more information.

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We draw on over 16 years’ experience of working with 60+ leading industry brands to improve their service-based operations.