Moving in 2020, customer experience should be on top of your list.
With stiff competition and customers being able to interact with brands at the snap of a finger, customer experience is what will set you apart from your competitors.
Customers are getting smarter and therefore also quicker to walk away when you don’t meet their expectations.
So, as a business owner, what can you do to elevate your customer experience game? How to give customers an experience that will go down in history?
Here are some ways you can elevate customer experience:
1. Set clear expectations
As a business owner, you want to make sure to give customers a good experience when they shop with you.
However, there might be a gap between what the customers may expect from you and what you aim to deliver.
For example, maybe the customer expects a free hotel stay because it is his wedding anniversary. However, your anniversary promotion is rose petals on the bed with complimentary champagne.
To avoid any dissatisfaction, it’s best to communicate all your prices, offers and promotions upfront. Make sure customers are aware of your policies and regulations.
When all the information is transparent and readily available, customers can manage their expectations better as they know what they are going to get from you. You can also protect your brand and employees in case of any confusion or altercation.
Brands with superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that lag in customer experience.Forbes
2. Integrate your channels
In 2020, customers can reach your brand through various channels. They can call you on the phone, email you, text you on WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, send you a Tweet, and many more.
While all that makes it easier for you to acquire more customers and double your revenue, it can also be your downfall if not managed properly.
You need to make sure that all your channels are integrated and are saying the same thing.
Imagine if a customer emails you about an order and employee A agrees to help them change their order. However, employee B is unaware of this and sends them the initial order. When they call customer service, employee C has no idea what they are talking about.
You need to make sure that every channel and department in your business are aware of what each other are doing and are all saying the same thing.
3. Be very responsive to phone calls, messages and emails
Almost everyone has a computer and smartphone these days.
When customers want to buy something, it is very likely that they will check out a few brands at the same time to compare prices and specifications.
When they have a question, they will drop you a message on Facebook or give you a call.
Like the famous rapper Eminem once said, “You only get one shot,”
If you don’t pick up that phone call or reply to that message before someone else does, you will have lost that customer to your competitor.
People want quick and efficient responses – so make sure you’re always on top of your game. You snooze, you lose.
💡Pro tip: Consider using chatbots or other AI solutions if you’re understaffed. Chatbots work 24/7!
4. If customers make a mistake, help them fix it
Customers are always right. That still holds true till today and it is more relevant than ever. Berating your customers will send them running into the arms of your competitor.
Maybe they forgot to tell you they don’t want sugar in their tea. Maybe they forgot to tell you that they want low fat milk instead of full cream milk.
Don’t lash out at them and say they should have said it sooner. As a business owner, you need to be prepared for situations like this.
Come up with a way to handle these situations so customers don’t feel like a kid who just got berated by their parents.
Solve their problem in a way that they can’t wait post to post about it on Facebook.
5. Treat customers like a friend
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone back to a cafe or a bar simply because the bartender, waiters, and waitresses, knew me by name.
Likewise, I’ve also stopped frequenting certain places because I’ve been there a million times and yet they treat me like a new customer every time.
One of my friends loves going to this Arabic restaurant – not only because they remember her name, they also know where exactly she likes to sit. They even keep that place unoccupied for her because they know what time she usually comes by. Because of that, she brings all of us there with her too.
That’s exactly how loyalty can drive more customers and increase your sales.
73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties.PWC
Another one of my friends loves going to this cafe down the building where he works. It’s not because they remember his name, but because of two words they always say to him: the usual?
He would cheerfully reply with “Yes, the usual!”
They remember exactly how he likes his coffee and always make it the same way. Those two powerful words bring him back there every day – and he loves boasting about it.
6. Improve your products and services
If you already have a good product and a decent base of customers, it doesn’t mean that you should stop there. Never stop refining your products and services.
Don’t just meet customers expectations – exceed them.
Delivering expectations will give customers value for their money. But exceeding expectations is what will turn them into loyal customers and drive repeat sales for you.
Be more than good. Be the best. Increase your goals if you’re achieving them too easily.
7. Take care of your employees
Richard Branson once said, “Look after your employees, and they will look after your clients,”
There are many variations to that quote – but they’re all saying the same thing.
While you’re busy investing in customer retention programs, do not forget to take care of your employees too.
In many cases, they are the first touch-point for your customers and you want contact to be excellent.
Train your employees to smile and greet customers. They should also be able to solve problems if you’re unreachable.
Empower them to work independently and trust them to make decisions.
Teach them not to take customers’ comments personally. Instead, take any criticism as a way to improve services and products.