7 things that make a great customer experience
Customer experience is more than just customer service. It includes everything that creates an impression of your business throughout your customers' whole journey, from research, to purchase, to using the product or service and any follow up maintenance or issues. You can gather customer feedback along this journey to see what’s working and what’s not by using customer feedback software.
The experiences your customers have with your business are a key factor in how they view it, whether they’ll continue to shop with you and whether they’ll recommend you to their family and friends. So how do you ensure a great customer experience?
What makes a great customer experience?
First of all you need to define what a “great customer experience” is for your business as all customers will have a different idea of what this means. Gathering information from them using a feedback tool will help establish how they rate your business and create an overview about the experience you’re currently providing.
People generally consider many variables when defining a great customer experience. They generally want things to be seamless from purchase through to delivery, they want the information they need easily accessible and more often they’re looking for something extra to help your business to stand out.
The benefit of ensuring great customer experiences is that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. They’re also more likely to stay loyal and recommend your business to their friends and family. So understanding what your customers think and want is a valuable investment.
1. Envision a clear and consistent customer experience strategy
Before you start off down the road of customer experience, you need to know where you’re going. This is why it’s so important to create a clear and consistent vision of what you want your customers to experience. If you imagine them excitedly rushing out to greet the courier delivering your goods or opening your email then you know what your strategy needs to be working towards.
Often this vision will tie back to your company values to create consistency across all areas of your business. It also needs to be clear enough that all team members know it and use it as a guide as to whether their actions and decisions are aligned with the customer experience strategy.
2. Know who your customers are to serve them better
To be able to really understand your customers needs and to ensure they’re having a great customer experience, you need to learn who they are. You can do this by creating personas of your average client or clients if you’re serving different segments. A women’s shoe shop might appeal to busy Mums with school children, young women entering the workforce and older women looking for comfortable everyday shoes.
Once you have an idea of the different profiles of your customers, you can understand their needs, empathize with their challenges and serve them better. How you do this will be tailored to each of the personas so it's an important step in your customer experience journey.
3. Pay attention to customers changing needs
Customer experience management recognizes that it’s not just customer service at point-of-sale that is important. Just like your business, your customers’ needs are constantly changing and evolving. As they move through their customer lifecycle, they will need different levels of support from your business, whether that’s pre-purchase research, payment processing or on-going maintenance.
Staying in regular contact with your customers allows you to know when their needs are changing. You can see trends within your different customer profiles to be able to predict the needs of various groups. Being able to spot these changes allows you to proactively offer solutions, increased customer communications or new products.
4. Keep a tab on why customers are leaving your store and address the issue
Although it’s wonderful hearing from your customers, you also need to hear from ex-customers. Within their feedback you’ll find the reasons for leaving, areas where you need to improve and potentially new products or services you can offer.
Learning why your customers are leaving and fixing these problems will hopefully reduce your customer churn rate (the number of people who stop being customers of your business). It’s estimated that the cost of customers switching due to poor service is $1.6 trillion in the US alone. Keeping your customers happy and with your business can help keep revenues flowing in and lower the amount you’re spending on acquiring new customers.
5. Constantly improving customer experience should be a top priority
Customer experience is not something that you make one adjustment to and then it’s done. It is an area of your business that needs constant work as customer expectations change, you acquire new customers and your team or technology changes.
This is why it's important that customer experience is a core metric across the business. That way you’ll be continuously finding ways to improve and additional products or services to offer which will lead to growth of your business. You’ll also keep your customers for longer, reducing costs which can be reinvested into the business.
6. The digital customer experience shouldn’t be overlooked upon (h3)
When you begin looking at customer experience, it’s normal to start with the customer service team as they have a big impact. But with 59% of everyday transactions being made via digital payment, the digital customer experience cannot be overlooked.
There is a lot of technology out there impacting the digital customer experience. Steps like providing answers to frequently asked questions via a chatbot and allowing self-service for actions like returns will speed up processes for your customers, rather than having to wait to speak with a person. This also frees up your customer service team to deal with more complex issues that technology cannot solve yet.
7. Monitoring and acting on customer pain points makes for a great customer experience
Once you know the areas where your customers are experiencing pain points, you know exactly what you need to work on. These are the moments where you’re likely to lose customers as some will stick with you through the pain and others will stop buying from you. By improving customer experience at these moments you can reduce your churn rate.
Dig into these moments and see the challenges each of your different customer personas face. It’s then up to you to flex your creative muscles to find innovative solutions. Don’t be scared to try something new, test it out on a few customers and follow up with them to see how they found the experience.
Although it can be hard to define exactly what are things that make a great customer experience, it’s important to begin a journey to create better experiences for your customers. Setting yourself up with a vision, diving into your existing customers and their experiences across all platforms and continual monitoring will help you to see your business from the eyes of your customers. This will prove invaluable as you test, implement, grow and improve as you bring your customer experience strategy to life.