Through our blog we've discussed examples and methods on how to improve your customer experience but every program needs a starting point. Your starting point is typically with training and education.
Jay Goltz for the New York Times published a great piece on reforming your customer experience program. Goltz boils it down to what we know is the key to improving customer service: employee training.
Customer experience programs are not simply great ideas drawn on the whiteboard or brainstormed in the boardroom. Solid customer experience programs are formed through training and education. The retail industry is constantly evolving. Our customers are changing their shopping behaviors, the economy dips and rises, and new technology regularly unfolds, all of which require ever vigilant attention to our customer experience.
Goltz summaries the three essential areas of customer service: Desire, Hiring, and Training. We've spoken in depth on the internal company desire, staff training, and customer experience program development in several blog posts. As Goltz points out, they are all interrelated to form a whole customer experience program. You cannot do one without the other. Great service is dependant on staff training. Staff training is dependant on measuring your customer experiences through metrics (mystery shopping) and knowing what improvements are needed. You cannot hire great staff unless your company values the customer experience as the primary focus. Customer experience programs are full circle development that continues on through the life cycleyou're your business.
The single most important aspect to take away from any customer experience article is the training aspect. It takes management training to understand where the customer experience metrics can be used to improve processes. Management needs a quality and knowledgeable industry leader to provide the proper metrics and mystery shopper program with valuable training on how to use the information. The training continues down the chain to the customer service staff. Superior customer service staff goes through continuous training that develops and hones their skills when dealing with customers. Training and education are the fundamental keys in having great customer service.
To go back to our original question "Where do I begin?", the answer is simple. You begin with educating and training staff. Knowledge is powerful, especially when it comes to knowing your customer and establishing great customer experience.