Increasing revenue. Increasing profit. Improving customer service. Chances are, these goals are on your radar. How do you make them happen?

All of these goals are contingent on creating happy, well-served, loyal customers.

That begs the question: what is it like to be your customer today? Have you taken the time to step back and consider the experience your customers have with your brand, from their first Google search to their first invoice and beyond?

If you want to achieve your goals, you’ll have to walk a mile in your customers’ shoes. To do that, try answering the following questions:

  • Where is your customer coming from and what problems do they need to solve? Are they finding you off Google, social media, or by referral? How does a typical person end up on your website?
  • What is the very first impression they get of your company? They might not necessarily land on your homepage first. Take a glance at your website’s pages and your social media accounts. What do they look like? How much material is on there? Is it modern and up-to-date?
  • How valuable is their first interaction with you? Are they able to find what they need? Think about one of your most frequently asked questions. If a person really wanted the answer to that question, how hard would it be for them to find it? Is it easily available on your website? Or do they end up waiting on hold for 10 minutes to speak to a representative?
  • Could your site pass the 11 p.m. pajama test? If your customer is at home in their pajamas late at night looking for expert information, could they get that information from you? Or would they find nothing on your website and your phone line closed because it’s no longer “business hours”?
  • As they move through the sales process, which steps are easy? Which steps are challenging? Do they feel heard? When do they hear from you?
  • If they fill out a form or reach out on Facebook, how quickly will they receive a response? What is that response like?
  • If they’ve recently become a customer, what is the product point of purchase or service delivery experience like?
  • Are they thrilled with the results? Do they know all the details, features, functions, and/or value of what they’ve bought? Or are they missing part of the picture?
  • What are their relationships like with your staff?
  • Are they so happy about their product or service that they will refer you?
  • Do they have an outlet to provide feedback or receive assistance?
  • Does the experience of being your prospect or customer change significantly based on where the person lives or at what time they interact with you?

Now ask yourself: is it a pretty picture?

It’s no secret that business operations tend to come before customer experience, and the result is almost always decreased customer engagement. There’s a simple but powerful way to counteract this. Knowledge. Aside from the actual product or service, everything (and that’s quite a lot) else you offer prospects and customers is knowledge. Getting the right information in their hands at the right time is the key to increasing engagement, driving referrals, and increasing repeat business.

So, what next?

  1. If you don’t really know – ask! Take the time to connect with key players in your organization to better understand the experience customers receive throughout the customer lifecycle. Better still, ask your customers about their experiences past and present of working with you. How well do the pictures match? Be sure you’re operating with as realistic of a picture as possible.
  2. Determine the root cause of customer experience missteps. Your salespeople don’t have enough time to create meaningful relationships? Your customer service people aren’t up to speed on the new offerings? Your product or service isn’t differentiated enough from competitors? Your customers don’t know enough about your product or service to use it to its full capabilities? The root cause is almost always a knowledge gap somewhere in the funnel. It might be between your leadership team and your employees, which trickles down and affects how the staff deal with prospects and customers. Root it out and get the right information to the right people.
  3. Put a plan in place to improve. Tackle the real issues, not the symptoms here. Choose a solution that streamlines, standardizes, and adds value to your customers’ interactions with your company. Look for a solution that addresses all of your needs — online, offline and through all of the stages of your customer’s lifecycle.

What’s it like to be your customer? It’s vital that you have a clear picture of what your prospects and customers experience with your business. When you find the gaps in the knowledge or service they receive, it’s much easier to plan a solution that gives them what they want, so that you can get what you want. Happier, well-served, more engaged customers help you achieve your goals to increase profit and revenue and decrease complaints. It’s win-win!