Richard Hall and I were speaking a while back about business in general and customer service in particular as it relates to customer loyalty and recurring revenue. I shared with him an interesting exercise of sorts to identify potential weaknesses in the customer experience…purchase at least once from yourself. The idea isn’t as whacky as some might think.
The concept is simple and practical. Place an order from your company as any customer would – exercise whatever purchase agreement is standard, submit an order, accept the product or service, try any customer support offering, etc. Be careful to evaluate every action, reaction, and purchase experience as a customer would.
Following is a list of check-points to evaluate your customer experience. Grow this list to match your particular business. This process works equally as well for product and service offerings.
* Is your company easy to do business with?
* Are your terms favorable?
* Is your purchase agreement easy to understand and accept?
* Is it difficult to submit an order?
* Are there unnecessary steps in placing an order?
Delivery and Installation
* In the time between your order and delivery, did you get updates on delivery status?
* Does your packaging present the correct image of your company?
* Are your installation and configuration documents and materials easy to understand?
* If your product requires cables or other hardware, is it included?
* Is it obvious how to get installation support?
* Is it clear who you should call for assistance?
* Is there more than one way to reach your customer support?
* Before you contact customer support, is it clear what information you’ll need to have?
* If on hold, what is the experience like? Are you made to listen to irrelevant messages or advertising?
* Once you´ve called customer service, did anyone follow-up with you later to assure everything is okay?
* Did you receive any solicitation for feedback on how your customer service organization performed?
A start-up I worked with did this not long ago and found their packaging gave a negative impression of their company (The packaging their equipment shipped in were used and looked terrible!) and installation materials were incomplete and hard to understand. Everything we found was obvious however, until they actually roll-played the customer experience, several important things were overlooked. Correcting these simple things made their customer’s experience much better, lessened their need for customer support, and keep their customer on a “high” achieved at the time of purchase.
So, what do you think? Do you see value in buying from yourself once in a while? Is there a better way to check your customer systems and readiness to serve customers? Let me know.