81% of customers are more likely to buy again after a friendly support service experience. No matter the size of your business, always strive to deliver quality customer experience. Failure to provide clients with positive customer experience has led firms to lose out on revenue.
Customers will quickly switch to a new brand if they feel unappreciated by the current brand. Today’s purchaser knows how to differentiate between exceptional and average experience. Big companies like Amazon, Apple, and Netflix have been keen on delivering high-quality service.
Unfortunately, many companies focus more on acquiring new purchasers than retaining existing ones. Yet, maintaining customer satisfaction is more rewarding. Enhancing the experience of clients remains a powerful marketing tool.
What’s Customer Experience?
Customer experience entails a lot of elements but boils down to the perception a customer holds about a brand. Many people hold the idea that their brand and customer experience are the same thing. This couldn’t be more wrong because the customer could think differently about your brand.
For example, you could have high-quality products and strong customer experience. However, if a customer gets a defective product and fails to get it fixed their perception of your brand is low-quality products. This becomes their reality, which they can easily pass on to other customers.
With this knowledge, you can see why it’s crucial to manage the perception of your customers. It’s an area that companies need to invest in if they’re to remain in business. Customer experience encompasses everything a company does.
Right from the messaging, it uses in content marketing to what happens after sales, customer experience should be a priority. Other internal actors like the leadership of the company, its leadership, and internal interworking also contribute to customer experience.
It’s worth noting that a company could be doing well in one area but be deficient in another. This can contribute to an overall poor experience for the customers. The overall perception is determined by things like product quality, store cleanliness, and ease of website navigation.
Strive to create a seamless flow at every step of a customer’s journey, and this will create positive perceptions. Every person in a company has the responsibility of contributing to managing the opinion of customers.
Perception is Reality
For you to deliver fantastic customer experience, you have to shape the perception customers have about your company. The perception they have forms their reality about your company. If they walk from your company feeling like their needs weren’t met, those are the feelings they’ll associate with your organization.
Companies can make customers’ eyes light up, or their blood boils as they interact. Experiences are a combination of perceptions, feelings, and emotions. If one of these aspects of experience is tampered with, it all boils down to negative customer experience.
Consistency is Crucial
Perception means nothing if a company lacks consistency. Today, a customer could be satisfied with a service. Tomorrow, things could change if they don’t receive the same quality of service. If a company is to build loyalty, it must deliver the same experience each time it interacts with its customers.
Redefining Customer Experience
One of the factors that largely contribute to the customer experience is customer service. A company should work on delivering seamless customer service at all times. In doing so, it can broadly impact the perception of its customers.
Customer service entails ensuring the delivery of high-quality services before, during, and after sales. It’s about putting your feet in the customer’s shoes and delivering what you’d want to be given to you. In the long run, it contributes to Customer Experience Management.
What are the specific strategies that companies can use to redefine customer experience? Let’s have a look.
1. Understand Who Your Customers Are
If you’re to create a positive customer experience, you must start by defining the category of your customers. Who are those people who will be interacting with your customer support teams? Your teams must be able to understand, connect, and empathize with the situations the clients face.
A good way of understanding your customers is to create customer personas and give them a name and personality. For example, John is 29 years old and likes new technology. He is tech savvy enough to follow a video on his own.
George is 42 years old and needs a lot of guidance in matters of technology. He does well with clear instructions outlined on the webpage.
Once you create such persons, you’re able to encompass the needs, abilities, and interests of your clients. It’s also a way that helps you become more customer-centric while understanding them better.
2. Define and Create a Precise Customer Experience Vision
The next step in creating a customer experience strategy is to have a clear vision. It should be more about the customers than it is about the company. The easiest way to define the concept should be to create a set of statements which act as guiding principles.
Your statements could define what you need to do to deliver excellent service. They could also revolve around embracing change and operating in integrity, humility, and upholding core values.
Once you’ve put these principles in place, they’ll be the driving force behind the behavior of your company. It’s essential that every member of the company learns the principles by heart. They also should be embedded in all areas of training.
3. Connect Emotionally with Your Clients
Customer experience is achieved when team members develop an emotional connection with the customers. An example of emotional connection is celebrating with your customers when they have something to celebrate.
Sending your customers a bouquet when they are celebrating their birthday creates an emotional connection. When customers are engaged emotionally, they’re likely to become loyal customers.
4. Respond to Customer Feedback Promptly
It’s recommendable to ask your customers how they feel about your services. An ideal way to find out is to capture feedback as soon as the services are delivered. For example, send up a follow-up email to customers after service delivery.
Use post-interaction surveys and similar tools to automate the process. You may also make outbound calls for more insights into the feedback. For more results, consider trying customer feedback to a specific support service agent.
5. Develop Your Team Using a Quality Framework
With the steps above, you’ll be in a position to know what your customers think about your services. Compare this against the experience principles you’ve defined. Next, identify the training gaps that exist for each team member.
Some companies track phone conversations and email communication to assess the quality of customer service. A quality framework takes this further by scheduling development training, coaching, group training, and eLearning.
6. Use Customer Experience as a Marketing Tool
You would be on the right track to consider customer experience as the new marketing. By studying consumer behaviors and thought patterns today, you can change how you relate with customers. As people lose faith in mass marketing campaigns, they’re placing more emphasis on their experience with companies.
This means that if you’re able to handle every return seamlessly, you’ll be doing some form of marketing. For example, repairing a defective product even after the warranty has expired is a form of marketing. Assisting a customer’s family member who’s not a direct client is also marketing.
7. Embrace Customer Service
Sometimes, companies may feel reluctant to invest heavily in customer service. It may feel like a black hole in the company’s finances. Unfortunately, what these companies seem to ignore is that customer service pays for itself.
If you have a team that strives to keep customers happy and their perceptions right, loyalty is guaranteed. Loyalty means more sales, more referrals, and more growth for your company. Think of customer service as a form of marketing, which eventually pays off if done right.
8. Remember It’s Not Just About New Customers
Companies strive a lot to impress new customers. When they think of customer experience, in their mind it’s about how they make new customers happy to make them come back. The truth is, customer experience is more about the existing customers.
Companies are 60-70% more likely to sell to existing consumers as opposed to 5-20% likelihood of selling to a new customer. Acquiring a new customer is also seven times more expensive than maintaining a new one. This said you’d rather direct all efforts towards improving the experience of existing customers.
9. Add Value to Customers’ Experience
Through the internet and online marketplaces, anyone can put their goods and services out in the market. This means there’s a lot of competition and you’ve got to strive to stand out from the crowd. You can do this by going over and above what the competitors have to offer.
For example, if you sell products that need assembling, posting them with a video tutorial could improve customer experience. It cuts down on the frustration, time, and potential mistakes that would spoil the customer experience.
10. Digitalize In-Store Experiences
Companies have the best opportunity to wow their customers by offering them the most memorable in-store experiences. However, all the basics must be put in place first. For example, if you lack the right products or the process of transacting isn’t easy, you’ll miss out on creating a pleasant customer experience.
Retailers should focus on getting rid of all friction that inhibits purchasing in-store. If the conventions of online purchases are disrupted, it’s highly unlikely that customers will visit physical stores.
11. Embracing the Mobile Revolution
In 2008, there was a bold prediction that mobile would take over desktop usage by 2014. While the forecast was right, it failed to take into account the visit-to-conversion gap that would follow. While conversion on mobile is on the rise, it’s not as high as mobile traffic to retail websites.
Use of mobile is gaining prevalence across the globe. Unfortunately, most sales still happen on the desktop because mobile experiences are still subpar. A certain percentage of consumers find it easier to shop on desktops than on mobile.
There’s a need to adopt progressive web apps for e-commerce. They’ll mean a substantial increase in mobile conversions. PWAs enhance transactions, reduce cart abandonment, and ultimately increase profits.
Go for mobile technology with the best scanning technology, in-store maps, and wish list capability. These go far in creating the best in-store experience. They’ll also create potential to locate items more easily in stores and adjacent ones.
12. Measure the Returns on Investment for Great Customer Experience
Once you’ve adopted all the above strategies and tips, you need to know whether they’re paying off. You’ll find your answers in the business results. Measuring customer experience can be quite a challenge for many companies.
Luckily there are tools you can use to help you collect valuable information. One of them is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). It gathers information by asking customers whether they’d recommend the company to friends and family.
Customer expectations towards brands are now higher than any other time in history. As customers become more empowered, they expect to get the best customer experience from brands. This is an area that requires constant nurturing and care by brands.
The more companies enhance customer experience, the more they’ll realize higher retention, customer loyalty, and increased revenue.
For companies to realize these benefits, they must adopt specific growth strategies for better customer experience. Among the strategies is improved customer service. How you treat your customers determines how they perceive your brand.
Train your team to connect with your customers emotionally. Nothing draws a customer closer to a brand than knowing that the company values their relationship. Invest in tools and software that help you respond to customer feedback promptly and precisely.
Most importantly, empathize with your customers. You can only understand them and their needs better if you walk a mile in their shoes.