Even if you make the prettiest posters and TV commercials or the most masterful Google Ads campaigns, in 2020, improving customer experience is the best thing you can do for your business.
This is because the market is becoming more focused on a great customer experience. Product development, advertising, low prices, it has all become less effective than it used to be.
We care way more about experiences than we do about stuff these days. We spend less money on products, more on experiences. Something we can talk about on the internet, preferably supported with a selfie.
What is customer experience?
The customer experience is the impression that you leave with your customer after they have been in contact with your company. This impression forms the foundation of how they think about your business. The customer experience is formed throughout all of the different touchpoints that the customer has with your company.
From offering to advising
I have mentioned this a lot on this blog, but I don’t mind doing it again: customers are placing the bar higher than ever in 2020. This is because they expect more valuable interactions than ever when they buy a product online. Whether they are aware of it or not, they are looking to make a strong connection with the brands they buy from. A brand they can trust. This way, a company becomes a trusted advisor.
Word of mouth
For a modern marketer, this term may seem old-fashioned. However, word of mouth is still the most valuable type of marketing out there. There is nothing better than a happy customer that gets their family and friends hyped.
Just delivering a good product, on time and for a low price, doesn’t cut it nowadays. As I said, your customers are tough. They expect value. Only when you provide more than expected, you will truly make them happy. This will automatically cause word of mouth.
How can you improve the customer experience?
Improving customer experience may sound intimidating and difficult, but as with anything, you can take baby steps/ The entire experience consists of many parts that you can improve individually. Let’s dive into a couple of different ways to make a difference.
The availability of your organization via different channels is a crucial part of your customer experience. Customers want to be able to reach you everywhere. When they are able to buy your product, read a blog on how to best use it, download an app and watch social content, you have created an omnichannel experience.
An omnichannel experience is present when your customer can reach you via different channels in different stages of the buying process, without the feeling and tone-of-voice changing. All channels provide the same experience, strengthening each other.
A great example of this is Disney. When you a ticket to their theme park, you can use an app to plan out the entire trip. You can also use the app to find your favorite rides in the park when you are there. In this case, the extra channel really adds value to the customer experience.
This principle also counts for your customer communication. Think about confirmation texts, newsletters, email, et cetera. These are all different channels that are used during different stages in the customer experience and should strengthen each other.
From customer service to customer success
Being friendly towards your customers important, but not sufficient.
Customer success managers ensure that the customer gets the feeling they have entered a partnership. As a customer success manager, you proactively think about your customers’ long term goals.
You need to uphold this approach in every interaction with your customers. Ensure that for every stage in the buying process, you have the right professionals to deliver support. From potential customers to your most loyal fans, they require specific attention. Help your customers to get the most out of your service or product.
The best customer experience comes with a personal touch. The customer is not supposed to feel like one out of many. However, the more customers you attract, the more difficult this becomes.
A good way to tackle is this is to personalize all of your communication as much as possible. This also counts for your automated communication, such as confirmation emails. It’s better to start an email with ‘dear Pim’ than ‘dear customer’. Or ‘enjoy your new lawnmower’ instead of ‘enjoy your product’. These are subtle differences that make a difference.
Because companies want to come across more personal, many of them are simplifying their communication. Instead of neatly designed newsletters, they choose to send plain text emails. This looks more personal and less produced. When an email looks too nice, people look at it as marketing and tend to ignore it. People hate email that looks too salesy.
A nice way to personalize the customer experience is by sending a handwritten card. Time-consuming? Yes. But the customer knows this too. This shows them that you really don’t mind making an effort for them. Which is exactly what you are trying to achieve.
Customer service software
To be sure that you have enough time to put your heart into the customer experience, you have to make your processes as efficient as possible. Many customer service teams still simply waste too much time.
A big problem that these teams face is managing their communication channels. As I said earlier, the customer expects you to be present everywhere. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, email, telephone, et cetera. This is why they have to keep clicking from platform to platform, forget to reply to messages and end up in a chaos sooner or later.
This is no longer an issue with a shared omnichannel inbox. The inbox connects all of these channels with one inbox. This way, you get all of your customer communication in one central hub. The messages can be labeled and assigned to specific colleagues or teams. Besides that, you can communicate right within the inbox without your customers knowing.
When you try to make these types of processes as simple as possible, you get the time and peace of mind to really add as much value as you can to the customer experience.
An important trend is that customers want to be able to look for the answers to their questions themself. They try to avoid contact with a customer service employee as long as possible. When a brand has a good source of online information readily available, this is highly appreciated.
That’s why it is important to make self-help tools available. One of the best options is your own help center.
In this help center, your customers can find answers to frequently asked questions. They can get their information without any of your employees having to invest time. The search button helps them to navigate and find the information they’re looking for.
No worries, you don’t have to be a developer to make a help center. You can simply get the right helpdesk software that makes this possible.
Customer loyalty programs
Another way to improve customer experience is creating customer loyalty programs.
A good example of this is Starbucks, with its own Starbucks Rewards app. With this app, customers can place their orders. Only when they order via the app, they can collect points to win free food and drinks.
This provides the customer with the perfect reason to get them another cup of Starbucks coffee in the near future. It’s not a shocking addition to the customer experience, but it’s effective. Aside from that, it is a nice way for companies to collect data about consumer behavior.
The customer is king and emperor
The world is changing rapidly and customers are changing just as fast. Nowadays, customers want to be treated like a king and an emperor. Make sure to put them at center stage, because this increases the opportunity for success. Invest in advertising and get customers for one time. Create an unforgettable experience and you have yourself a loyal customer.
Want to learn more about improving the customer experience? In this blog, I’ll tell you everything about what customer psychology can do for your business.