One common critical success factor is listening to the voice of the customers. It is crucial for the following reasons.
- The business exists to serve the customers.
- A change that has direct impacts on the customer needs to meet and beat the current customer experience.
- You need to ask the customers what they like and dislike—guessing doesn’t work in most cases.
- Customer input provides fresh ideas for improvement and innovation.
- Your priorities could be different from the customers’.
- While offering self-help solutions might be a trend, it might not work well for certain things.
- Be cognizant of implied assumptions made about your customers, not all the customers are the same.
- When customers acknowledge that you have their best interests in mind, they become more loyal and evangelistic.
- Internal customers are important too for they are part of the whole system.
- Help your internal customers do their work well as their deficiencies will affect the external customers.
- Be specific on what constitutes excellent customer experience, then align your processes and systems to deliver these important attributes.
- Most initiatives are initiated with a cost reduction objective, but it is the customer experience that matters most. It is counterproductive when the change causes customer defection.
- Train the front-line employees to appreciate the essence of customer complaints—complaints are signs of care because you have failed to meet their trust in doing business with you. The customer wants you to do better.
- When customers are unhappy, they are quick to spread their dissatisfaction which impacts the brand.
The voice of the customer carries the most weight in designing how products and services are delivered. As you transform your business for enhanced operational excellence, gathering customer input needs to be included as a key task for success.