- Why you want to proactively communicate with your customers through change and the benefits it can have for your customer experience (1:32)
- How to utilize data to help support changes to support your customers throughout a change (5:34)
- Creating tools to help your customers navigate a change with you decreasing their frustration and increasing their loyalty (7:25)
Interesting Links & Resources:
- Visit our Blog to learn 8 Steps for Creating a Great CustomerExperience.
- Visit our Blog to learn 7 Ways you Can Create a Great Customer Experience Strategy.
Want to improve your customer experience? Learn more how we can help you better connect with your customers and clients
Related Episodes: Refocusing your organization around your customer
Listen to Episode 8
Luis: Welcome to Building Teams with TEAMES & CO. I'm Luis Wilson and I'm sitting down today with Tracy Eames. Hey, Tracy, how are you?
Tracy: I'm doing well, Luis. How are you doing this week?
Luis: I'm doing great. Happy to be back. So for this week's episode we're going to talk about continuing the conversation on change. We have the episode on dealing with unprecedented change, and then from there we went on to how to lead your team through a digital transformation, and today we want to zero in and focus on the communication aspect of that, all right? Specifically with the customers. So, how to have customer communications through change. I know that we're going to talk about it in terms of what type of communications you want to have when the change first happens, and then we're going to go into what communications you want to have with your customers through the evolution of that change, and as you adjust. But to get started, Tracy, what are some things to keep in mind when you're having customer communications after a large change has happened?
Tracy: You're absolutely correct, Luis. When we're facing change, one of the key stakeholder groups that we want to be in constant communication with is our customers. As we've said many times, delivering value to our customers is the key way that we align our strategy and our goals. So when you're facing change there's a couple of reasons you want to stay in touch with your customer. First and foremost, you want to make sure you're delivering value to them. And what's valuable to your customers may also be changing as there's a large-scale shift. The second reason is it helps you support your teams. And as we talk about often, making sure that we have communication across our teams and our customers is going to help us with that feedback loop and continue to improve our processes. So those are the two main reasons that you want to keep in conversation with your customers.
In terms of the ways that you do that, that can vary based on your organization. When you sense a change is happening, you may want to start to ask your customers proactive questions when they call in. So if a customer calls in to let you know that there's been an issue or ask you to update a process, you can ask some followup questions to them around that topic, or even if it's a tangential topic, in terms of, hey, we all are facing this change together. Is there anything else that you think would be valuable for us to offer during this time period? Getting that feedback, then when you come together for your team meetings, you and your team can start to talk about that qualitative feedback and start to adjust. And you can even then go back to your customers who answered those questions and say, "Hey, based on your feedback, we've come up with a few options. Do any of these options sound compelling to you? Do you find them valuable? Would you think about this in a different way?" And again, this can help us understand if the things that are valuable to our customers are changing.
The reason we say this is, if we all put ourselves in the shoes of a customer, because we're all customers too, there's a lot of things that we purchase today, or services that we look for, that potentially we weren't looking for nine months ago, right? There's a lot of things that if you would've asked me nine months ago, would you find this valuable, I may have said no. But today, given all of the changes that we've been going through in 2020, there are new services and new products that I find extremely valuable.
Luis: Thank you, Tracy. Can you share an example of a product of a service maybe that you're purchasing now that maybe eight months ago you would've never thought of?
Tracy: Sure. I think for me, one of the things that I use much more often now than I ever did before is grocery delivery. In the past I would go to the grocery store. It was actually one of the things that I really enjoyed doing. But in the shift that we've seen in 2020, I personally use grocery delivery a lot more often, and as my primary way that I get groceries. Again, if you would've asked me nine months ago what the primary way that I would've gone grocery shopping was, I would've probably answered in person. And now that shifted to a new value that the grocery stores offer, which is delivery to our homes.
Luis: That's funny. I'll share with our listeners. I also have a really similar example. I used to always go into the store, and I don't necessarily do delivery now, but I'll do in-store pickup. So I'll drive right up to the grocery store and they'll come out to the car and load my car, which is funny. I started it because of the pandemic and the situation that's going on currently, but now it's just such a convenient thing, I could never see me going back to walking through the store. So yeah, it's just funny how I made an adjustment in my behavior through COVID, and now I'm thinking that's going to be something on sticky and it's going to remain thereafter. And as our listeners and companies are looking to communicate with their customers, I just want to make the point that how they're purchasing, interacting with our brand, so all the data that we're gathering from them is also a way that we can kind of make our adjustments and our plan for dealing with that change. Can you talk about how to use data in that way?
Tracy: 100%, you're correct. So, there's going to be a lot of things that you learn from your customers from having conversations, sending them surveys, asking them followup questions. There's also going to be things that maybe necessarily people, as we've mentioned, wouldn't have predicted as valuable for them or wouldn't have predicted as an immediate need. And so you want to make sure that you are also watching your data because the data will show you what products maybe people are shifting into buying more of, maybe what products they're buying less of. That gives you a good indication of potentially what's shifting in terms of value for them. And then also with your services, or the data from your customer support teams, if you have a CRM and you're tracking the reasons why people are calling in, it'll give you a good way to prioritize the things that your customers find valuable, and then you can offer as extra services.
So again, there's going to be a really high value in terms of the qualitative discussions and staying close to your customers, but also tracking data and tracking trends will help you understand if there's new buying patterns, if there's new products or services that are valuable, and it will help you and your team continuously adjust. So we're not always talking about our goals and our success versus those goals. When we think about metrics and data, we're also trying to track data that would help us provide that exceptional customer experience.
Luis: Got it. So, really highlighting that leaders not just put importance into the qualitative discussions they're having with their customers, but also that quantitative data to be able to spot trends and really inform their decisions as they move forward. We've talked about really two big types of communication, really. It's building that feedback loop with the customers, and then also looking at the data. Are there other ways that we should think about communicating through change?
Tracy: I would say there's two additional ways that we should communicate through change. One, as you're changing the process, we just talked about two examples about how we as consumers have changed what we perceive to be valuable in our purchase process, and how things potentially have changed. I think one of the other things that we'll see in the data is potentially those dynamics being confirmed. And so as you're going through change, you also want to provide your customers the tools to navigate that change. The same way that you set up a communication cadence with your teams, you want to set up a communication cadence with your customers. And so this could include a few things. One, it could include training or resources that will help them navigate that change in terms of kind of new ways of working. And again, we talk about this a lot with our teams. But with customers, if you take the example of retail, so as we've shifted to more of an online shopping experience and moved away from in person a little bit, there's a lot of things that've changed about the customer experience.
The customer experience used to be primarily in person, so you'd have the opportunity to demo a product or try it on, and kind of be in person talking to a salesperson. So as companies are moving to more of an online experience, then the question becomes, what communication tools do you provide to make that experience seamless for the customers? Are there ways that you can give them product information that they normally wouldn't have online, whether it be fit guides or short little videos about the product, about how it works, screen shots? What's that extra level of communication you can provide to them to improve that buying experience, even though the context of that buying experience has changed? So second to this is the idea of helping our customers understand the new way of doing business, and helping them navigate that. I'm sure just like me, you've received a lot of information from different companies that you do business with around how do we navigate this change together, and what should be our shared expectations.
Again, a lot of times like with our teams, sharing information and creating those shared expectations creates alignment and allows us to move faster, and it also allows everybody to give feedback on the change and understand how to be best prepared for it. So for example, there's been a lot of businesses who will share, these are the expectations if you're coming to our store. Or, if you're traveling, here's the travel requirements. All of these things help our customers understand what the changes are going to be, and how we should navigate them together so it creates a shared experience from day one, versus somebody showing up and then being surprised by the fact that something has changed.
Luis: Right, and having that consistency and building that one, the communication cadence, and then building in about giving that information really helps to deliver that exceptional customer experience, and I'm sure builds loyalty of the customers.
Tracy: As I say, exactly. I think you touch on a good point there, which is being consistent, and I think that's really important, and also giving them the information in lots of different ways, right? Some of us love email, some people like videos, some people want to go to our website. So I think having different information in different places, but I think you're exactly spot on, which is consistency is going to win the day in terms of communications because people know that you're taking a proactive approach to keep them informed.
Luis: Right. And I see a lot of parallels in this discussion from when we talked about how to have our team communications. I really see a lot of alignment between the team communications approach and the external communication with the customers approach. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts this week, Tracy.
Tracy: Thank you, Luis. This has been a great week, and I think it was a great suggestion by you to link and have a discussion around how customer communications support our teams and our overall success through change.
Luis: Absolutely. Thank you.