Customer service: Three Ways to Get at What Your Customers Really Want
Getting back in touch with your customers isn’t always the easiest solution to a failing business model. But such was the case at Circuit City a few years ago. “We knew everything about a digital camera except for who the customer was for that product. We were product centric when we needed to be more customer centric,” said Dawn vonBechmann, vice president of multichannel experience for the electronics merchant, during a session at the recent eTail conference in Philadelphia. Following are the ways vonBechmann helped Circuit City become more customer centric:
* Talk directly to your customers. Whether it’s done through phone interviews, exit surveys or focus groups, sometimes it’s necessary to get honest customer feedback, vonBechmann said. In focus groups or interviews, pay attention to what your customers say, as well as what they don’t say, she suggested. If a particular piece of your business didn’t come up in conversation as a pet peeve, it probably doesn’t need to change. She cautioned that focus group and exit survey results should always be viewed in context. If the answers or results seem too good to be true, it’s possible the questions were leading customers to give positive responses.
* Shadow people who deal with customers every day. The folks who know your customers best are those who deal with them every day. If you have a retail store, talk with floor personnel about customer behavior. If you have a contact center, talk to customer service reps about the complaints they hear most often. If you host your own Web site, talk to the development team about common customer drop-off pages.
* Analyze how customers vote with their wallets. Your customers rarely will ask for features you don’t have, but you often can tell what they want by their actions, vonBechmann noted. If they don’t purchase on your site, where did they go to purchase? What do your competitors offer that you don’t? In which categories are you outselling your competitors? The answers to these questions show you where you can improve, she said.