Unlock the secrets to a customer experience that's both innovative and effortless. On this episode of Experience Action, Jeannie Walters peels back the layers on how to introduce new features and services without overwhelming your customers. Discover how customer-centric design and clear communication can make all the difference, as she offers up actionable strategies rooted in understanding customer pain points and the art of incremental changes. Get ready to learn the importance of accessible tutorials, demos, and why fostering feedback loops is your ticket to continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.
Join the conversation as we tackle the challenge of balancing simplicity with cutting-edge innovation. With insights gathered from years of expertise and real-world examples, this episode is a treasure trove for those passionate about enhancing the customer journey. We're not just talking about customer experience—we're transforming ideas into impactful action. So, if you're ready to elevate your strategy and drive tangible business results, this is the episode you won't want to miss.
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Experience Action. Let's stop just talking about customer experience, employee experience and the experience of leaders. Let's turn ideas into action. Your host, Jeannie Walters, is an award-winning customer experience expert, international keynote speaker and founder of Experience Investigators, a strategic consulting firm helping companies increase sales and customer retention through elevated customer experiences. Ready, Set, Action. One, two, three, four.Jeannie Walters:
Hello, hello, it's Jeannie Walters. This is Experience Action, and you are out there leading the charge for customer experience. I can't wait to dive into this next one. You always send me great questions. This week is no different. Let's get into it.Guest:
Hey Jeannie, how can we strike the right balance between innovation and simplicity to ensure that our customers find it easy to adopt and understand our new features and services?Jeannie Walters:
Oh, such a good question, and I think this really showcases just the broad purview of customer experience work. Sometimes we're asked to just listen to customers and provide those insights. Other times we're really part of the design of the customer journey. We're working hand in hand with product teams and with different organizations within our organization so that we can really provide the best possible experience for our customers, and that, of course, leads to those business results that we're all looking for. So how can we introduce new features and services without overwhelming or confusing our customers? Let's unpack this today. So first, let's just put a blanket statement out there that you know what. It's essential to understand that innovation doesn't necessarily mean complexity. The best innovations are often those that simplify life for your customers. I mean, think about some of the most successful products and services out there. Their success often lies in their simplicity, according to their customers. So while the process on the inside of the organization or the systems or the technology to implement all of that might be complex, the customer actually appreciates simplicity. So how do we achieve this balance? I've got a few strategies for you today. Number one: we want to look at that customer centric design. We want to start by deeply understanding our customer needs and the pain points. This is where we innovate. We innovate with the purpose of solving these problems. This approach ensures that new features are not just fancy add-ons but are actually useful to your customers. So start with really understanding what are those pain points and how do we solve those problems. Number two: we want incremental changes. Sometimes we see, and I know we've all been customers of these things, where you're using a tool, maybe like a software or an app, and all of a sudden they say it's brand new and everything's different, and it feels very kind of unsettling, doesn't it, as a customer. So ideally, we want to introduce new features somewhat gradually. Big leaps can be intimidating even to the most tech savvy customers. So smaller, incremental changes can be easier for customers to digest and adopt. Number three: we want clear communication. Now, I've shared this before, but every single journey mapping workshop I've done, we end up with some pain point around communication, because this is key in anything we do, both internally and externally. If we are not communicating well within our organization, that creates problems with the customer journey. If we are not communicating well with our customers, that sets the wrong expectations for our customers and then disappoints them. Clear communication is absolutely a priority in any of the work we do around customer experience. So if you're rolling out a new feature, ensure that the communication is very clear and let's try to avoid jargon and acronyms and all those things that get tossed around internally. We want to use visuals, tutorials, demos, whatever we need to explain how these new features work. Now, the other thing I'll say here is that we don't want to put a time limit on this communication. I've seen something recently where they say come to our demo, we're going to show you how the new app works at this specific time. Well, if that time doesn't work for you, you want to be able to access that. You want to be able to find that easily. So, as you're introducing these new features, make sure that you are providing that communication throughout the journey, not just when you launch something. Number four: feedback loops. We need to keep those communication lines open. We want to encourage and actively seek feedback on the new features. This not only helps in fine tuning the innovation, but also makes customers feel involved and valued. We want them to have some ownership here. We want them to feel like they are being heard. There is an element of this where people are just uncomfortable with change. So sometimes we have to get through a little bit of time before we get feedback that's very meaningful. People often will scream and shout and stomp their feet and say why did you change this? This was working for me. And if you give it a little time, sometimes that's where you get the real meat of valuable feedback, because then they start getting used to it and saying you know, I appreciate this, but why did we lose this feature? Or where did this go? Or why are we doing it this way? Really, make sure that you have kind of a nuanced approach to these feedback loops. But that does not mean that you do not acknowledge and recognize the people who are giving you feedback, even if it's not super valuable in the beginning. If they're just saying I don't like change, we still want to acknowledge that and say we heard you. What about this? You might want to try this. Help them along the journey in a proactive way. Number five: we want that training and support. We want to provide ample support and training resources. This kind of goes back to that clear communication point, whether it's, you know, a dedicated helpline. Sometimes we see this: Online resources, digital guidance as you're going through the app, make sure it is readily available. Now, if your innovation is not necessarily around a digital experience for your customers which is kind of what I've been focusing on, just because that's what I see a lot, we still have to provide this, and I'll give you an example. In B2B, sometimes we change things like how a contract is signed or how somebody is supposed to pay an invoice or submit an invoice, and when those changes happen, a lot of times the communication around that is basically like this has changed, you're going to have to deal with it. Here's how you do it, and it's very detailed and heavy and it feels kind of academic. If we can look at those touch points where we are making changes for people and really think about how can we make it friendlier, how can we make it easier, how can we gamify it a little bit? Now that's where we get into some really powerful innovative thinking around the customer journey. If our goal is simply to say you're going to do it this way from here on out, we're missing an opportunity to build something with that customer. So they feel like, wow, this is a great change and I'm getting the support I need. We cannot assume that our customers are thinking about our products, are thinking about our brands, are interacting with our services on a regular enough basis so that they're going to remember next time how to do it. We need to make sure that that ample support and training is provided along the journey and it's accessible along the journey. So if somebody submits that invoice the old way let's say, we want to make sure we have communication at the ready that says, hey, thank you so much for submitting this. Here's how we're going to do it. Now I want to show you a few things. I want to provide a video. I want to whatever. I'm going to do it for you this time. Next month. I hope you'll do it this way." Whatever it is, depending on scale and scope and all of those things. But we want to make sure that we're thinking about this not as one launch or one change, but an ongoing journey with the customer. This last point is really for, this happens a lot in tech, frankly, but it happens elsewhere too, and this is where we get so excited about the innovation. We've spent so much time on it inside our organizations and we want everybody to know about the features. We want everybody to know that you know what the technical background here is so cool. We want to share that with you. We want you to know about all the neat things you could do with this tool if you really dove into it and made it your primary tool. But the customer cares about benefits, so we want to make sure that we are really highlighting how this new feature or innovation will make their life easier or better. How will we help them achieve their goal in a more efficient, delightful way? We want to focus our messaging on the benefits. So if you find that you're reviewing the innovation communication to customers and it's all about the bells and whistles and it's really not about them, we need to flip that script, just like we do in other areas of customer experience, and focus on them. And frankly, I love this question because I think this is something where we have to do this. We have to balance innovation with simplicity, but it's an ongoing process. So it's really about kind of being bold in innovation and you know, part of our framework and part of what we do with clients is around experiential innovation. I think this is a huge area of untapped potential in customer experience and so I love that we're focused on innovation. But in order to do this well, we have to be bold here. We have to have those experiential innovation efforts. We have to make sure that we are doing that in a way that is empathetic to our customer's journey and understanding that change is hard for everybody. So how can we help them adopt new features, new ideas? We have to keep iterating and stay customer focused, and then we'll find that sweet spot where innovation meets simplicity. So I hope that these strategies help you think about innovation in ways that really are focused on your customers. We are making the world a better place through customer experience efforts. I truly believe this, and so, as we're introducing these things, we wanna think about how are we making our customers' lives easier? How can we help them be more successful? How can we provide them with something that maybe gets it done faster or simpler, or any of those things? But communication is key, listening to customers is key and, of course, we wanna work hand in hand with the other folks in our organization with that cross-functional perspective that you've heard me talk about several times. So thank you so much. This was a fantastic question, and I really appreciate all of you who are sending in these questions. This one we got through LinkedIn and so you heard it from Shawn on our team, but it was actually sent to us in a message and I encourage you all to really take advantage of this. Leave me a voicemail. You can go to askjeannie. vip. Now, Jeannie is spelled with two Ns, which most people know, but figured, I'd mention it again. So keep up the good work and keep really focusing on the customer, like you're doing, because guess what? Together we make this world a better place and we live up to the mission of my organization, which is To Create Fewer Ruined Days For Customers. How cool is that? We do really cool stuff. So keep it up. I can't wait to hear your next one and I'll talk to you next week. To learn more about our strategic approach to experience. Check out free resources at experienceinvestigators. com, where you can sign up for our newsletter, our Year of CX program and more, and please follow me, Jeannie Walters, on LinkedIn.