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Does Your Customer Experience Pass the Test?

How irritating is it to send an e-mail to the address listed on a Web site and get no response? Could it happen to someone visiting your Web site? You may think that you have the systems in place that make it easy for prospects and your existing customers to reach you, but when was the last time that you tested it?

In managing the day-to-day challenges of acquiring new customers and delivering services, it's easy to assume that all systems are working. If you haven't heard of any problems, it's probably OK. Until you get the irate call from a customer who has been trying to reach someone for days. Going proactive can help you avoid that call and the turmoil that would follow. 

Stand in Their Shoes
There are a number of ways to test your customer experience. It's an exercise that should be scheduled regularly and completed by someone who will be objective about the experience. Stand in your customers' shoes by:

  • Taking a walk through the Web site. Visit your Web site as if you were a new employee working for one of your customers. Is it easy to find a contact number and e-mail? Is there a differentiation between a sales contact and a support contact? It's not hard to imagine that a new employee might be told to call the IT provider about an issue: "Just call the number on their Web site."

  • Performing a realistic test of your customer response process. Engage one of your customers to help you by sending an e-mail or placing a call to customer support and providing you with a report on the results. Or you can call a sample of customers with recent support calls and ask how the process could be improved.

  • Testing your referral sites, like Microsoft Pinpoint. While you should update referral sites regularly, a specific check on the response process is easy to overlook. If inquiries route to a general marketing e-mail, multiple people should receive them.

  • Making a call to your office. Listen to the options on your automated answering system. Is it easy to understand what to do? Does it route you quickly? Can you get to a real person?

As your business grows with more solution sets and service options, you want to keep the lines open and simple. To make sure that you are covering all the bases, create a list of contact scenarios for both prospects and existing customers. Those scenarios could include:

  • A department manager for one of your existing clients who is interested in a new offering.
  • An e-mail received through the Web site that was a referral from a current client.  
  • A response to blog post, asking for someone to contact them.
  • A call from a journalist looking for a spokesperson.

Define the best routing that directs inquiries to someone who can handle the issue or get answers quickly. People expect fast response. If your automated response states that you will have a real person reply quickly, make sure that happens. If multiple people receive an alert, is it clear who will respond and in what timeframe? If others expect someone else to take care of it, responses could fall through the cracks.

Good customer service needs constant attention. To create a great impression from the moment that a prospect or customer hits the "send" button, you need to take a proactive approach -- and test often.

How do you make sure you provide a great customer experience? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on May 28, 2015


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