At the 2020 Startup Grind Global, I had the opportunity to sit down with Amy Pressman, Founder of Medallia, a customer experience company. We discussed some of the mistakes that companies have made with customers as well as best practices that have helped them enhance the customer experience they provide.

A Company Built on Personal Experience

It was Amy’s own painful experience as a hotel customer and the lack of non-smoking rooms that led to the creation of Medallia. As a customer, she wanted to tell someone within the hotel chain at an executive level about her customer experience and what needed to change.

At that higher level, Amy knew that it was unlikely that the hotel executives ever heard about specific customer experiences and feedback. If they could know about these experiences, however, Amy believed they would see customer experience strategy differently and actually be able to do something like add more non-smoking rooms.

Although her original pain point came from the hospitality industry, Amy related that she could see how including C-suite executives in customer experience activity across many industries could help make significant strides in improving all types of customer experiences.

Listen to Others, But Go With Your Gut

One of the best practices Amy shared that not only applies for customer experiences, but that is also good for any founder or company leader is that it is best to own your decisions. It’s easy to defer to someone who you think has more experience, assuming that they have the best perspective on t he decisions you have to make.

Although it is good to talk to as many people as possible and solicit their expert opinion, you still need to make your own call. Go with your gut. Even if you are wrong, it’s a learning experience for you and you owned the decision. If you are wrong because you went with someone else’s decision, then you regret the wrong and that you listened to someone else.

Stay Connected to the Customer No Matter How Big You Get

As Amy noted, and I and many other founders can attest to, it’s easier to stay connected to customers and give them that one-on-one experience when you are small. The customers are the lifeblood of your company so you do everything in your power to keep them.

Then, you grow and and add layers that suddenly you are disconnected from your customers. This is where the customer experience can change for the bad if you don’t continue to do everything you can to stay connected.

Involve Leadership in Customer Relations

Best practices for fighting to keep this connection include wiring the entire company with the information that is relevant for their role so they regularly have the word of the customer in their ear. It’s so much better to hear and see customer comments than look at a report.

For me, I have gotten involved in reading and handling customer tickets that come through our support software. Others, like Amy’s company, offer other ways for C-suite executives to be involved at this level with customer experiences. This may even involve executives calling customers and listening to what they have to say.

While it’s easy to fear that every customer will be angry, you may find that most are grateful that they are being heard. They can feel the difference when someone takes the time to listen this intently.

Move Decisions to the Front Lines

Another best practice is to give those in your organization the room and ability to work on customer problems directly and solve them. Don’t limit that call center person to a narrow script.

You are limiting the ability of the one person that could ideally improve your company’s customer experiences. Those on the front lines often have smart ideas and can help stop bad customer experiences in their tracks.

Stay Focused, Yet Open

Finally, Amy recommenders that you stay true to your company mission while being open to new technologies, channels, and signals where customers want to interact with you.

These new opportunities are also beneficial for engaging with your customers and sharing feedback with those higher up in your company.

Learn More

To learn more about customer experiences best practices, click on the video below.