If you own a business, then you know how difficult it is to stand out from competitors, especially if your company operates in a saturated market. Half of all businesses fail in their first five years, and for many, this comes from being unable to develop brand awareness.
One of the best ways to attract new customers while retaining existing ones is to provide a fantastic customer experience. But what is customer experience, and what are some of the different ways you can use it to your advantage?
Keep reading for a guide that will teach you how to create the ultimate customer experience.
What Is Customer Experience?
Before learning how to improve customer experiences, you should first have an understanding of what it is.
Customer experience, or CX, is a representation of every experience and interaction customers have with your company. It covers everything from the first phone call, to Product Experience Management (PXM), to long after when they’re (hopefully) a satisfied and loyal customer.
Happy customers are loyal customers, which makes CX an essential area for businesses to take into account. Happier customers are more likely to return to buy more, as well as tell their friends and family. That’s why companies that deliver a solid CX outperform those that don’t.
Customer Service vs Customer Experience
If customer experience sounds a lot like customer service, that’s because they are similar. However, the primary difference between the two is the scope. Customer service is a part of the customer experience.
As mentioned, CX starts the moment a customer first interacts with a company. In most cases, this happens over the phone or in a store with an employee. Once this interaction begins, you then have the chance to provide excellent customer service.
For example, if a sales associate apologizes to a customer for having to wait in line for so long, then that’s good customer service. But if the staff is apologetic, the store is clean and fragrant, and the shopper finds exactly what they’re looking for, then that’s a good customer experience.
Ideas to Improve Customer Experience
So customer experience is important, that much is obvious. But what can you do to make it as strong as possible?
Here are five tips to improve your company’s customer experience.
1. Know Your Customers
Your company can have the friendliest employees in the world, but if you don’t understand who your customers are, then it won’t matter. Your business as a whole will be unable to fulfill the needs of the people buying your products or service.
One strategy that many companies use to help them emphasize and connect with their clients is to create customer profiles that help segment their customer base.
For example, you might have a customer profile for Amy, a 30-year old female who enjoys shopping online and talking about her purchases on social media. You might also have a Lucille, who is 65 years old and only shops in person.
2. Make It an Emotional Relationship
Remember that the customers are human. By being empathetic and treating them like people, you’ll find them more inclined to buy more of your products or service in the future.
For example, let’s say that a customer misses a deadline to return a product they were unhappy with. When talking to the customer, you then find out that’s because someone they know died. Covering return shipping costs and sending them a personalized note is a sure way to create an emotional connection.
3. Capture and Respond to Customer Feedback
Many companies provide their customers with satisfaction surveys, but these often don’t give as accurate of results as you want. Look for ways to capture customer feedback in real-time.
When customers are online shopping, giving them live chat tools can help address any questions, concerns, or problems they have at that exact moment. You can also send follow up emails to ensure that you resolved their problems.
Make sure that customer feedback links back to specific employees. That way, you’ll be able to tell that Terry was friendly and helpful, while David was a bit apathetic and unhelpful.
4. Develop Your Team
Aside from figuring out how your customers feel about your current customer experience, make sure that you also get to work developing your team.
Look at each member of your team and assess which skills you need to help develop in which individuals. Aside from assessing their performance via emails, phone calls, and in-person conversations, you can also look into regular group training and coaching programs.
5. Pay Attention to the ROI
If you’re ever uncertain as to whether or not your customer experience strategy is working, pay attention to the results.
One way to measure the ROI, or return on investment, is to use the NPS, or Net Promoter Score. This system asks customers a simple question: whether or not they’d recommend your business to a friend or colleague. It then takes the responses and creates an aggregated score.
This system is simple to implement but can be an effective indicator to learn how your customers feel.
Stand Out From the Crowd With the Ultimate Customer Experience
If you’re looking to make your business a household name, you need to create and grow a base of loyal customers. The best way to do that is by crafting a solid customer experience, and by following the tips laid out in this guide, you’ll be able to do that.
Do you now have a better idea of the importance of customer experience and how to improve it? If you do, make sure to check out some of our other blog posts for more helpful guides and tips.
Infographic created by Clover Network, a retail POS system company