10 Golden tips from customer experience leaders to exceed customer expectations

Customer engagement strategies

Customer experience leaders from Cath Kidston, DHL, Standard Life, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Riyad Bank, and more share their ultimate tips for delivering an exceptional customer experience.

1. Listen to Your Employees

James Leech, Head of Customer Service at Argos, said: "Be people and customer-centric; listen and act on the voices of colleagues and customers and you don’t go far wrong. It sounds simply but really this is about ensuring all your colleagues are working towards a compelling vision that drives great customer service. If everyone works towards this vision then all the other enablers, such as process and technology, will fall into place."

2. Create a Golden Thread Through Your Brand

"My advice would be to try to create a 'golden thread' that takes the brand positioning all the way through the organisation," Mark Evans, Marketing Director of Direct Line Group, explained. "If the whole organisation can rally behind a North Star thought from the brand then it can create great alignment and a rallying cry towards meeting target customers' needs."

3. Understand Your Customers

Ahmed El Badawi, Vice President – Head of Customer Insight at Riyad Bank, told us: "The most important aspect is to have a deep understanding of your customers’ needs to be able to integrate such findings into the design process. By doing so, you guarantee the delivery of a customer experience that is memorable and that is in line with what customers are expecting from you – maybe you will even exceed their expectations and deliver a WOW experience."

4. Ensure Diversity in the Business

"Think about the people you have in your business and make sure there is a high level of diversity," Stephen Ingledew, Managing Director, Customer and Marketing at Standard Life, said. "If you're trying to appeal to a broad section of the population and you're dominated by, let's say, men in their fifties they're not going to have the empathy and understanding of customers in the way you need to. So, the nature of your teams, in terms of background, their gender, their ethnicity, and their preferences is really important to have."

5. Genuinely Talk to You Customers

David Zimmerman, Director of Global Customer Experience at QVC, said: "Most of these will be obvious, but they serve as an experience north star for me. Engage your customers in a genuine dialogue, and fight the temptation to know the answer before being informed."

6 and 7. Live the Customer Journey and Be Honest

Adam Morghem, Head of Marketing at Premium Credit Limited, gave two great tips, he said: "Live it. Go on the same journey your customers are making everyday. And prove it. Be honest about what you can do, and make sure you communicate this back to the customer."

8. Align Digital With Your Brand

"Don’t use digital purely for utility. Instead, find the portions of your brand’s DNA where digital works to extend experiences through these emerging digital channels and not just for the sake of following digital trends," Brian Sawyer, Senior Managing Director – Digital at Build-A-Bear Workshop, explained.

9. Go Out in the Field

David St. John Richards, Commercial Systems Director for DHL Express Europe, said: "Really important, and something I use all the time, is to get out in the field. Go spend time with the agents, sit by them and look at their problems. What do they find hard? And what do they ask for? The customer is my end user and you can’t sit in your tower and know what is best unless you go out in the field."

10. Act on Customer Feedback

"Talk to your customers and act on that feedback. The most loyal customers are the ones we build that human connection with," Karl de Bruijn, IT Director at Cath Kidston, concluded.