Andy Cullwick, head of marketing at First4Lawyers
Good customer service should be a priority for any business and, if you want to stay ahead of the competition, something that’s constantly under review. According to a recent Salesforce report, 80% of customers now consider their experience with a company to be as important as its products.
This is particularly important if you’re not able to compete on price.
Brands such as Ryanair may have built their business on being cheap, but if you can’t undercut competitors then you need to focus your efforts on making sure that your service stands out.
Reviews and feedback forms will help you gauge satisfaction levels, but if you want to take a more proactive approach then I’d recommend giving customer journey mapping a try.
If the process is new to you then Salesforce’s ‘State of the Connected Customer’ report is a good starting point. Now on its sixth annual edition, the global survey of more than 14,000 customers and business buyers provides a useful snapshot of behaviours and trends to watch out for.
Sixty-nine percent of consumers want to talk to a company in real time, for example, while 84% consider it crucial that they are treated like a human and not just a number.
Consumers’ number one frustration with organisations is disconnected experiences, it says, so isn’t it worth reviewing your own offering?
Customer journey mapping helps you to see your business through a customer’s eyes. The idea is that you map out the touchpoints and then create user journeys for each type of client, which helps you to see what happens and when and what you are missing.
There is software for this, but you can also do the mapping manually using a pen, a pack of Post-it notes and as much information about your customers as you can find. Google Analytics is a great place to start, but you should also gather any other available data such as from customer reviews, complaints, feedback forms and crucially colleagues, especially any in customer-facing roles who may have valuable insight to add.
Identify any pain points – a particular website page with a high drop-off rate, for example – potential solutions to the problem and next steps to put them into practice.
Finally, make sure you follow-up to see if the measures implemented have been effective and repeat the mapping exercise regularly as consumer habits can and do change.
What the common touchpoints are has changed significantly in the last few years and particularly since the Covid pandemic which saw more communications move online. Consumers want to interact on their terms with live chat, WhatsApp, Messenger and other social media channels increasingly becoming the chosen points of contact rather than traditional email or phone.
A common disconnect in many companies is that staff who handle new phone or email enquiries do not have access to social media accounts so that they can also respond to enquiries through those channels in real time.
Not only do you need to ensure you are using all your routes to market to attract prospective clients, but that when they do get in touch, you are ready to respond via whichever channel they prefer.
Consumers hold more power now than ever and if you are not backing up your marketing efforts by focusing just as much on what happens when people do contact you then you will learn this the hard way. You can read more about creating the ideal customer journey in our latest white paper here.