DELIVERING A GREAT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Customers now have endless options, literally at the touch of their fingertips. And more opportunity for customers means more opportunity for you to lose their business.
With so much competition, the way you treat and relate to your customer is more important than ever.
Customers are shopping for more than just what you’re selling. They’re shopping for better experiences. They want to find brands that understand their needs and make their lives easier, more interesting or more rewarding.
And if you’re charging a higher price point for your products or services, great customer experience will be expected, even demanded, by your customers.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience is the impression you leave on your customer, across every stage of the customer journey.
It’s not just about the point of sale. The way a customer thinks and feels about their experience starts long before money is exchanged. And it can continue well beyond the sale.
Why does it matter?
Customers matter more than ever before. Whether you like it or not, their happiness is critical to the sustained growth and success of your business.
Think about the last time you had a great experience with a brand. You probably raved about it with your friends. Maybe you left a positive online or social media review?
And when it comes to needing that product or service again, you’ll likely feel an affinity to that brand. Even if there are better products or pricing available.
Customer experience allows you to connect with customers and earn more of their business. It’s your chance to make a strong brand impression, and increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
When a business is more focused on products instead of customers, they fail to properly anticipate and meet their customers’ needs. And that leads to a disconnect between what a customer expects and what’s delivered.
Prioritising customer experience isn’t just ‘nice to do’. It’s essential.
What does great customer experience look like?
Delivering a great customer experience comes down to one question: what does your customer think? No matter how amazing your product or service is, if you don’t meet your client’s expectations, you could be making the wrong impression.
Customer experience is about strategically aligning your customers’ expectations and engagement with your brand promise and company culture.
The ultimate customer experience will create the customers that you want: ones who stay loyal and bring you more business.
Key steps to delivering a great customer experience
Providing a great customer experience means looking at every touchpoint you have with your client. Where are you meeting their needs? Where are you delighting them? Where can you make improvements?
Here are our tips for delivering an exceptional customer experience.
1. Define your brand promise
Think about what customers expect and value from your products or services. What makes you special? Why do people want to buy from you in the first place?
Then, think about your current customer experience. Is it delivering what you say you are and what your customers expect?
Create a defined set of standards around what your brand will deliver. Standards that articulate your promise, your values and your vision. And then deliver those standards, every time.
2. Develop consistent messaging
Consistent messaging not only reinforces your brand. It creates a smoother, more enjoyable customer experience. A customer who feels engaged by a warm and welcoming in-person experience can quickly be disappointed by a cold and generic follow-up email. Or no email at all.
When you evaluate your customer experience, are you sending the same message at each touchpoint? At any point, are you damaging a customer’s perception of your brand? And don’t neglect the customers’ experience before and after the sale.
3. Create a customer-centric company culture
Your team are the people that are dealing with your customers every day. Whether they’re selling a product, answering the phone or marketing, they’re responsible for delivering a consistent and exceptional experience to your customers.
The success of this depends greatly on having company-wide buy-in. And the best way to do this is by aligning your company culture with satisfying the needs of your customers. This puts the customers at the top of mind for everyone, driving behavioural change at a large scale.
Culture is not an easy thing to enforce, so it’s important that you provide training, support and feedback to your team. You also need to be modelling the values and behaviours you want your staff to emulate.
4. Get to know your customer and understand their point of view
Every customer wants to feel special. But to achieve this, you need to have a deep understanding of the customer in the first place. You can’t optimise your customer experience without putting yourself in your customers’ shoes.
Who are your customers? What do your customers want and need? What can you deliver to better meet that need?
5. Show up and actually deliver
It’s easy to set out with good intentions. Businesses can promise many things, but if you want customers to come back, you need to deliver.
Like any relationship, it’s important to develop trust. This shows your customer that you truly value them and care about the service or product you’re providing. It shows you have substance, setting you apart from flashy marketing and advertising. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to deliver, provided you don’t over promise.
Do what you say you’re going to do. Meet every deadline. Show up on time, every time.
6. Demonstrate transparency
Sometimes a professional front can cross the line into cold and impersonal. Don’t be afraid to show people the true details of your business and how you do things. This will open the door to better communication and confidence in the products and services you deliver.
When it comes to disclosing mistakes or bad news, be open with your customers. If the information is important and relevant, the people affected should know. And they’ll appreciate your honest approach.
7. Add extra value to the customer experience
Value is what will delight your customer and be memorable long after the sale.
Be personal. Don’t hide behind texts, emails and instant messages when there’s an opportunity to make personal contact. A direct phone call or face-to-face meeting will have a more positive impact than a generic email blast.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t send emails to your customers. Just don’t forget that these emails are part of your customer experience. When you’re writing emails, be sure to capture your brand voice and tone.
Give expert advice to support the product or service you’ve delivered. Your customers will feel more supported and that they’re not just a sale to you. Genuinely valuable advice will also keep your customers engaged with your brand, and keep them coming back.
8. Set up a formal customer feedback loop
Checking in with your customers shows that you value and appreciate their business and ideas.
Use questionnaires and surveys to help you understand the voice of the customer. With the right insights, you’ll be able to meet your customers evolving needs over time, ensuring they stay loyal.
Create experiences that keep customers for life
Customers are your best resource for helping your brand become better known. Most people now rely more on the recommendations of family and friends than we do on marketing or advertising.
You want to make sure customers have a great experience so that they not only buy again but also spread the word. Better customer experience can also help you increase the effectiveness of your marketing budget and build a more engaged team.