Nowadays, customers are granted power incomparable to what consumers of the past held – the ability to choose. If they don’t want to do business with you because of poor customer service, they will look for other providers who will better meet their expectations.
This is one of the reasons why you must understand and respond to their requests and make sure they’re always satisfied. Organizations seek help from customer experience (CX) experts.
Still, it’s not too late to start working on ways to improve the customer experience in your business. Here are some actionable steps you can take:
Internalize your CX vision.
It is said that for improvements to become visible, you must first change what’s inside, and work your way outward. The same thing goes for organizations who want to improve customer experience delivery – they must first cultivate internal processes in order to smoothly deliver the expected brand experience to their customers.
You can apply the same concept used in many self-help books to develop a customer experience improvement program for your own business. Knowing you are ‘why’ is the most vital step before you move on to the details of your ‘how’.
If you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve as a company, you must communicate it across your organization. Creating a set of principles that will drive company culture is a step towards embodying the vision you’re aspiring to achieve.
For example, if you want to promote the importance of quickly responding to email correspondences, practice this yourself. That way, you become the model whom employees can imitate. Eventually, they will develop confidence that their emails are being read and that the person on the other end is composing a reply as quickly as possible.
The overall outcome is faster communication across departments. Information arrives on time, which is important in formulating business decisions.
This culture will then naturally radiate outward towards your customers. Customer concerns and feedback will be addressed more quickly, leading to better customer service. A simple customer experience improvement program like this, which started internally, can have a significant effect on your business.
Start with something simple.
It has been said that the simplest solutions are often the best and most effective ones. This also holds true in improving the retail customer experience.
Begin conversations with customers by thanking them for choosing your service over others. After the conversation is complete, thank them again for spending the time to get to know your products, regardless of whether you made a sale or not.
Being courteous to your customers says a lot about how you conduct business. People love organizations who respect them and make them feel important. Who knows? It could be through something as simple as an email enticing customers to visit your store or an invitation to dine at your restaurant.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on hiring expensive marketing consultants to formulate ways to improve customer experience delivery. Think of simple ways that can be readily implemented across the organization, and master them.
Understand what customers want.
Customers are more than just another possible transaction for your business. Beyond the increased sales, they have individual characteristics you need to understand in order to improve customer experience.
Know what your customers really want. Many organizations fail to analyze the root cause of customer problems because they don’t understand the needs and expectations of their consumer base.
Identifying pain points and coming up with a solution to make everyone happy is a challenging task. There’s no single solution that can resolve all customer concerns. Applying the latest and most favored business strategy won’t necessarily solve your problems either.
Relying solely on numbers presented on reports is also not enough. To improve customer experiences like SeeLevel HX who addresses consumer issues and presents them with a customer experience improvement program designed to improve sales and brand retention. You have to talk to customers and take note of nuances in their behaviors as they are doing business with you.
Streamline your processes to reduce customer effort in resolving concerns. Oftentimes, simple issues blow up because organizations fail to create straightforward solutions to address minor hiccups.
Website FAQs and similar self-help solutions make it easy for users to address issues without having to rely on calling for help. But when they do pick up the phone, make sure they get the answers they need in the shortest time possible.
Lastly, don’t fight customer feedback to protect your brand. When a customer has had a bad experience doing business with you, don’t look for all the right things you did and shift the blame to them. Instead, handle the situation professionally even if you did nothing wrong.
Make good use of technology.
The internet and smartphones have provided a way for customers to get in touch with your business faster and in a more convenient manner. Websites, social media, and mobile devices have created an expectation for better connectivity between customers and businesses, and it’s up to you to leverage these platforms to your advantage.
Aside from receiving feedback and entertaining customers through chat, you could also develop a portal where they can place their own orders online. Nothing is more convenient to them than being able to buy whatever they want without leaving the comfort of their homes or making an in-person visit to the store.
Social media is another tool you can use to improve the customer experience. It’s probably one of the most effective tools to connect with customers, get to know them better, and start building a bond you can nurture.
It’s easy to make use of technology but not everything is beneficial to your cause to improve customer experience. Releasing a mobile app, deploying AI to handle issues, and using a multi-channel setup to extend business reach are all possible solutions that you should carefully consider. Many companies have made the mistake of assuming the solution they thought of is the answer that customers are expecting, only to find out later that they spent millions of dollars on something that customers don’t care about.
Before employing any tool or developing an app to address an issue, thoroughly assess if it’s the solution your customers are looking for or would appreciate. Always keep in mind that technology won’t give you an advantage if either your customers or employees can’t maximize its functions.
Strengthen rewards programs for existing customers.
Many rewards programs focus on getting new customers, unknowingly making existing regulars feel as though they’re being taken for granted.
Rewards programs should be balanced between new and existing customers. As a matter of fact, it might even be better to give greater incentives to loyal customers since they continue to support your business over time.
The reward shouldn’t necessarily be a loyalty card either. It can be a simple token of appreciation, a discount, a surprise gift or card on their birthdays, or whatever you can think of to thank them for being loyal to your brand.
Take care of your employees.
Before you think about things you can do to serve your customers better, consider taking care of your own employees first. Unsatisfied employees won’t make the effort to improve your business, connect with your customers or help you reach your objectives. Why would they root for something that they find unrewarding themselves?
The way you treat your employees affects how they deal with your customers. Happy employees will do more to make sure customers are happy and satisfied doing business with you. Empowered employees may even share with customers how happy they are to work for a company that supports and believes in them.
Customer experience is about more than just selling goods in an acceptable manner and answering queries about your offers. Customer experience refers to the entire process of interacting with your customers from the moment they ask about your products, through the purchase and up to the moment when you get feedback about their experience doing business with you.