Deliver an exceptional customer experienceYou may have heard a lot of business experts talking about customer experience, and yes, you should think about it for your brand, if you haven't done so. We have five points to focus on if you are serious about delivering exceptional customer experience.
Every business is different but there is one common factor – customers have an opinion on the service and products of every business. And today, more than ever customers are vocal about these opinions. Technology today allows these comments in forums, review pages, social media, and much more, 24/7. Savvy business owners can use, hopefully, positive comments to help engage with customers and gain more sales.
Who is responsible for Customer Experience? The truth is the entire organisation is, but putting a framework and strategy together often falls into the marketing team or person responsible for marketing. In larger organisations you might see an entire Customer Experience division set up – it really is this important to get it right.
Forty-two percent of consumers across the world would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience. And in the USA 65% of customers find exceptional customer experience more likely to increase the brand attraction over great advertising. Source PWC
Customer experience explained
Customer experience is a much talked about topic. But what does it actually mean? If you google it, you might find several explanations. Some would say it is the perception customers have of a brand based on their interactions. Others say it’s the service and the user experience the customer receives, which tends to influence customer sentiment the most. But neither definition captures the full meaning of modern customer relationships. It’s true that brand perception is influenced by the customer experience, but there is more than just how a customer feels. While service quality and user experience play a major factor in customer satisfaction, they’re not everything.
It’s the sum of every touchpoint and interaction with a brand including before sales and building the brand in the customer’s mind. Each one of these interactions impacts the overall outcome of the customer relationship. This means everyone in the business from sales reps through to the delivery person can affect the customer experience of a brand. To ensure success everyone must deliver an excellent experience to every customer – new and returning. A seamless level of service throughout the customer’s journey from acquisition through to retention is critical.
Businesses that deliver a consistent and high level of customer experience will see higher satisfaction rates, increased sales, returning customers, lower overheads, and less wondering about why the phones are not ringing. So what can you start doing today to achieve this?
Five focus points to gain great customer experience
1 - Define your customer experience strategy.
As with any business function, building a strategy before you begin is going to set you up for success. Workshop with your crew and find out what really makes you tick. Look at your company values and examine how they affect the perception of the customer – they’re not just there for internal use. What makes your business so special? Why do your customers use your services and products? Plot your current customers’ experience – is it working? What messages do you send out? Do you communicate clearly and effectively? Do customers understand your business and what you are selling? Are there any friction points for customers to come unstuck on? Once you have a clear understanding of who you are and what your customers think it is much easier to fix any issues and create a better experience.
2 - Understand what your customers need and want.
Your customers are as unique as your business. You need to understand that each customer has different wants and needs from your brand. You should tailor the experience to their needs. Listen to your customer’s feedback, whether directly through a survey or based on reviews. Engage with your customers and let them tell you what they need. Then deliver it. This will create a strong affiliation with your brand. You should conduct this research often and adapt your services and products to suit any changing environment outside of your control. Listen to and understand your customers, deliver what they want, and need – without them where would your business be?
3 - Map out your customers’ journey.
Now you know your business and what your customers’ needs are, you can identify any gaps and start to address them. Start to map out your customer’s journey to track all the touchpoints and interactions and ensure there are no areas you have overlooked. Ensure the level of experience in all these touchpoints is consistent and up to scratch with each and every touchpoint. Fix the issues and continue to research to find out if there are other issues faced on their journey.
4 - Be customer-centric.
Using all the data you have gathered about your customer you should be able to find service issues easily. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and make any glaring problems disappear. Talk to all members of your business who have direct contact with your customers. Get them to talk to customers find out where you can be better at doing and make improvements. If you have certain VIP customers, ensure they are continually given consistently high levels of service. Find out why these VIP customers constantly use your business and ensure you can offer the same to all customers. Make the experience for the customer as good as you would expect for yourself.
5 - Make small changes and measure them.
Don’t reinvent your business if you don’t have to. If you already have loyal customers don’t go making sweeping changes that could drive them away. Use research and make a list of changes and prioritise them, from urgent down to simple material changes. You can also measure the small changes easier and refine them if need be, until they are no longer issues. Then once you have these areas set, move onto the next set of issues to be addressed. Document everything you do so you can see the effect and learn more about your customer’s experiences.
At the end of the day, your business is probably one of many a customer can turn to. Most customers are only one click away from being lost after a poor experience. It may not come down to you being cheaper than the other brand. It may not be the range of products you have on offer. Customers, while interacting with you, are buying an EXPERIENCE (have you ever heard about retail therapy ? It is not about what you buy, but about how you feel when buying). They are looking for businesses that understand them, treat them as individuals, and offer a consistent experience each and every time. If you, as a business do this, then you may already be miles ahead of your competitors. If you don’t then perhaps you should start thinking about this today.
Get in touch with us
Based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, but servicing clients Australia wide, and internationally, Your Brand Crew can help you with your customer experience.
Your Brand Crew can help you build a better customer experience through consistent and well written and designed communications – just part of the overall experience. We can also help you set up and run strategy sessions to build a customer experience strategy into your next business plan. Get in touch today and let’s talk more about your brand.