Eight simple tactics to provide a superior customer experience
The most successful businesses are the ones that know not only how to win new customers but, more importantly, how to retain existing customers.
How do they do that? By focusing on delivering a superior experience that leaves customers with a good feeling about the business. So good that they keep coming back to buy more and recommend the business to everyone they know.
So if customer experience can make or break a business, why is it that so many companies are failing at it?
Just consider this statistic: 80% of CEOs believe they deliver a superior customer experience, but only 8% of their customers agree, according to research from Bain & Company.
So how many brands are truly delivering an experience that meets the customer’s expectations?
Surprisingly, very few.
Here’s the thing: customer experience is not a trend. It’s a necessity. That’s because customers nowadays expect every interaction they have with your business to be the best experience they can possibly have.
So, how can you create a superior customer experience? In this post we’ll share a few simple tactics you can try to delight your customers so they stay loyal to your business.
What is customer experience and how is it different from customer service?
Customer experience (CX) refers to the sum of all the interactions and little touchpoints that someone has with your product or business, both pre- and post-sale.
An interaction can be anything from an update or a comment on social media, an email newsletter you send to them, the conversation they have with customer service, the online or in-store experience, as well as the actual digital product experience.
While in most cases a customer’s first interaction is with an employee or a team member (either by visiting the store or website or by speaking over the phone, email or chat), that doesn’t mean that customer service equals customer experience.
Customer service is just one of the many aspects of the entire customer experience.
For example, say it’s your birthday and you go on vacation. If you book a hotel and the person greeting you at reception is friendly and helpful, that’s good customer service. Now, if you get to your room and you find a bottle of champagne and a handwritten Happy Birthday card, then that’s good customer experience.
The reason CX is so important is because a customer who has a delightful, meaningful or memorable experience with your business is more likely to become a repeat and loyal customer.
In other words, happy customers remain loyal because they have no reason to go elsewhere. And the happier they are with your business, the longer they’ll stay with you and recommend you to others.
So next, let’s look at a few tactics you can implement to ensure customers have a fantastic experience with your business.
1. Treat customers how you would like to be treated
This is something our parents and teachers have taught us our whole lives. Treat others how you want to be treated – with respect, compassion and kindness.
Its relevance also extends to businesses and how they serve their customers. So make sure to treat your customers how you want to be treated when you’re the customer.
You are a small business owner now but before that you were (and still are) a customer to many other businesses. This means you already have a good idea of what a customer’s expectations are from a business like yours. You also already know the reasons why you always shop at a particular store over another, or why you’d never buy again from a particular website.
Since you know what it’s like to be both a business owner and a customer, you can use that knowledge to deliver a positive and memorable experience to your own customers.
So, as a first tactic, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and treat them as you want to be treated.
2. Make every interaction a great one
It’s 8pm. You’re tired. And you’re just about ready to call it a day. But then a notification pops up: an email from one of your customer, asking for support to use one of your products. You’re tempted to send a quick reply to say you’ll get back to them with further instructions the following day.
You might think they’ll be ok with it and wait patiently for your email. The truth is they’ll most likely be unhappy with your lack of support and think you just don’t care enough.
If there’s one thing you take from this post, it’s this: every single interaction matters.
Even if you usually deliver a fantastic experience that’s speedy, friendly and helpful, it only takes one comment or email reply to drive a customer away. All those other delightful interactions with you won’t matter, just that single bad experience, which they’ll be sure to share with others online and offline.
Bottom line: put in your best effort to make every interaction a great one.
3. Create an emotional connection with your customers
The best customer experiences are achieved when you create an emotional connection with your customers. In fact, according to a Harvard Business Review study, the most effective way to maximise customer value is to move beyond mere customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level.
One of the best examples of creating an emotional connection comes from Zappos, when a customer was late returning a pair of shoes due to her mother passing away.
Zappos found out what happened and went out of their way to take care of the return shipping and arranged for a courier to pick up the shoes at no cost. But they didn’t stop there. They also sent the customer a bouquet of flowers and a note offering their condolences.
That’s service with a human touch.
So if you want to deliver a wow customer experience, you need to engage customers on an emotional level. Because it’s emotions that shape the attitudes that drive buying decisions.
4. Simplify your website
Ever land on a website that was a disaster to navigate on mobile? The chances are you did and you also probably hit the back button right away.
Mobile internet use has surpassed desktop use in 2015 for the first time. Since then, mobile usage continues to grow, which means you need to make mobile optimisation a priority if you want to provide a pleasant experience for customers and prospects.
This means simple navigation, larger buttons, optimised images, and a flexible design that automatically adapts to the size of a user’s screen, to name a few.
Read our post to learn what mobile-friendly really means and how you can get a mobile friendly site.
Also give these posts a read for more tips and advice on how to provide a better customer experience on your website:
- How to improve your customer experience with web design
- Eight effective ways to improve customer experience on your website
5. Get constant feedback from your customers
If you want to deliver a superior customer experience, you need to understand your customers on a deep level.
How can you do that?
Simple: talk to your customers. It’s the best and most effective way to find out if you’re delivering an amazing customer experience.
So, send them a survey by email or give them a call and speak to them about their needs, wants, troubles and concerns. Ask them about their experience with you and what you can do to improve it.
Then listen to them, take note of their feedback and see how you can use it to improve your business and their experience with you.
By learning more about your customers, about what they want and need, and by showing that their voice actually matters, you can build a tighter relationship with them and turn them into loyal customers.
6. Meet customers where they are
If you’re not meeting customers where they spend time online, you’re missing out on an opportunity to engage them when they are most interested or in need of help.
In other words, the best communication channel is wherever your customers are.
So take the time to determine which channels your customers are most active on and familiarise yourself with each of them. These can be anything from social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram to different forums and groups, email, live chat or SMS.
Once you get familiarised with your customers’ preferred channels, use them to inform, support, educate and entertain them.
If you’re not sure how to get started, read this post to learn which social networks best match the needs of your business.
7. Practice social listening
You can create amazing customer experiences just by listening to what your customers and prospects are saying on social media.
One example comes from Tommee Tippee cups.
By listening on Twitter, the company came across a tweet from a father whose autistic son Ben needed replacement for a particular Tommee Tippee cup. Those limited edition sippy cups were the only cups Ben would drink from.
So the father went on Twitter and created a hashtag called #cupsforBen. Soon after, the tweet went viral, garnering hundreds of thousands of retweets.
As a result, Tommee Tippee announced that they would start production on a run of the original cup to ensure that Ben will always have a supply of his favourite cup.
That’s how you turn social listening into a wow customer experience.
If you’re not sure how to get started with social listening, here are seven tools to help you monitor conversations about your business and products.
8. Include a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on your website
What happens if one of your customers has a question about one of your products on Sunday afternoon? As a small business owner, you may not have a 24/7 live chat on your website to meet their needs. So does that mean that they’ll have to wait until Monday morning to reach out to you and get the answers they need?
Not necessarily. Something as simple as an FAQ page is a fantastic solution to help your customers quickly research answers to questions they may have about your products or services.
This can greatly improve the customer experience since your customers can search for and get the answers they seek without having to reach out to a member of your team. It also helps you to save time having to respond to the same questions repeatedly.
Of course, an FAQ page isn’t the only option. You can also provide alternatives such as a knowledge base, a forum or even a blog.
It’s five times cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. Not only that but a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%.
So how can you retain customers? By providing them with a fantastic experience they’ll never forget, one that meets their needs and expectations.
This is not something you want to postpone so get started today by working on the eight key areas above and start delighting your customers so they stay loyal to your business.