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Impressing customers is significantly more challenging than it seems. How challenging? Research by Gartner shows that more than 70% of customer experience experts have trouble moving the buyer loyalty and engagement needle.
Increased consumer resistance is why putting a customer experience game plan in place makes sense for every company. In the wake of the Great Resignation and its resultant shortage of labor, your company may be unaware that overall customer experience is fraying around the edges. After all, every time an experienced employee walks out the door for good, they take their accumulated knowledge with them.
Today’s customers don’t sit still as we train up replacement personnel. Instead, they pull out their smartphone and go to search engines to find the knowledge, experience and information they want before making any purchase. Without a full-fledged strategy to follow, customer experience opportunities can fall by the wayside. And in a highly competitive environment, you can’t afford to let any options slip away.
If you’ve never fleshed out a customer experience road map, use the following seven suggestions as starting points. Remember: The customer experience is a multifaceted system. Therefore, having many initiatives in place will help bolster yourself from various angles.
1. Serve up seamless interactions.
Online consumers aren’t known for exhibiting vast amounts of patience. When dealing with brands, they want a simple, frictionless interface.
Take onboarding procedures such as logging into your system, for instance. Okta says 72% of users expect onboarding to take less than 60 seconds. Therefore, you must put a fast, reliable customer identity service tool in place. That way, new customers can enter their details, get what they need and enjoy a breezy customer experience.
Onboarding is just the tip of the iceberg, of course. Any interaction along the customer journey needs to be smooth. From time to time, test all your interaction points. Look for ways to maximize value by minimizing wait times. Your reward will be happier customers.
2. Offer the most robust, responsive customer support you can.
Even the best companies end up with frustrated customers from time to time. That’s a given. How you respond to those customers can determine whether they stick around or leave forever.
You might not think your customer support can measure up, especially if you’re running a startup or small venture. It can, and here’s why. Many customer support tools such as AI-based chatbots and advanced CRM systems are highly affordable and accessible. Consequently, you won’t have to stretch your budget too thin to measure up.
Remember, too, that excellent customer support will pay for itself. It still costs more to gain a new customer than retain a current one. Plus, the more customers who stick with your brand, the higher their lifetime purchases.
3. Keep your employees engaged.
When employees like what they do, they’re generally better champions for your company. As a result, they serve a secondary role as brand ambassadors. They may even talk about your organization on social media, further elevating your corporate identity and reputation.
Getting your employees to feel genuine engagement requires treating them how they prefer to be treated. You may want to rethink your policies around allowing telework. Or you might empower team members to make customer-facing decisions without consulting with a manager first.
Whatever you do, know that the more engaged your workers, the more they’ll add to the customer experience. Stated negatively, the less your employees feel appreciated, the more likely they are to join ranks with those in the Great Resignation.
4. Communicate frequently with buyers.
You’re overdue for a communications strategy if you don’t know the last time you got in touch with your customers. The longer you wait before connecting with customers, the less of a bond they’ll feel with you and your brand.
This doesn’t necessitate you getting in touch daily—unless daily exchanges make sense for the short-term or long-term. Nevertheless, you need to develop a communications cadence that works for each type of customer. The rhythm may change depending upon what stage the customer is in or what the last touchpoint was.
For example, pretend you’re an e-commerce retailer, and a new customer buys something from you. Right away, you text a personalized thank-you note. The next day, you send an email containing a special offer. Two days after that, you send a survey. When the customer’s package arrives, you check in to say congratulations. Each piece of communication makes sense for the moment. As such, it heightens the customer experience without seeming forced.
5. Identify and resolve what causes customers to complain.
Whether in a B2C or B2B environment, you’ll quickly know your customers’ biggest complaints. Maybe your product is hard to understand, at least at first. Perhaps your packaging always seems to arrive a little disheveled or damaged.
Keep a log of all your complaints for several weeks. Then, look for patterns.
After identifying the trends among your complaints, begin to find ways to fix the core issues. A better set of instructions sent along with a product could make using it more straightforward. A different packaging design could be better suited for the rigors of modern shipping. One by one, tackle the most common pain points related to buying from your brand.
It shouldn’t take long to see measurable results from this practice. Just be sure to treat it as a constant process since new complaints are bound to arise.
6. Let your customers use their preferred platforms to interact.
Customers tend to use different platforms to work with companies. One customer might want to make first contact with your business’s sales representatives on Facebook. Another customer may like the idea of being able to text with a service agent. This well-documented type of behavior begs for an omnichannel marketing and communications approach.
On which channels should you concentrate your attention? Profile your top customers or customer buckets. Find out how they like to shop. Knowing your buyers as much as possible will point you toward the right platforms.
The platforms you invest in don’t have to be external, though. Your website or branded app can become communication and exchange destinations, too.
7. Make it a no-brainer for customers to purchase from you.
If you’ve bought anything online lately, you’ve probably noticed that many stores offer more ways to pay than ever. These include paying with traditional credit cards to purchasing with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
Depending upon your product or service price point, you may want to expand your paying options. Many organizations now offer financing, even for items that cost less than $100. Experts predict the buy-now, pay-later movement will reach more than $3200 billion in eight years.
Although you don’t have to offer every payment method on the planet, ask yourself if it makes sense to add one or two choices. You might find that your conversions improve more than enough to cover any extra fees you incur.
Differentiating your company can be challenging, particularly if you’re in a saturated industry. By putting a premium on delivering an unparalleled customer experience, you can rise to the top of the leaderboard.