As the competition between businesses grows tighter, price and product quality are becoming less of a differentiating factor in determining brand success. Whichever company provides the best customer experience gets to win the lion’s share of the market.
Fig. 1. Customer experience as a brand differentiator
If you don’t want to get left behind by your competition, you should concentrate on adopting a customer-centric business model. To start, here are 8 methods you can include in your strategy for delivering a memorable customer experience.
1. Maximize the benefits of technology.
You may have all the latest CRM and analytics tools for gathering user information. But are you able to maximize them and understand what your customers really want? Or are you just using them to get email addresses for a generic marketing campaign?
Many businesses focus on improving surface-level elements that customers see. They improve web interfaces and provide mobile apps to make it easier for customers to interact with their brand. Businesses, however, should go deeper to uncover how these factors relate to improving customer experience. Learning how consumers perceive these improvements and whether they have a positive impact on the brand’s success must be included in the planning and assessment phases of every business strategy.
2. Keep customers engaged.
Utilizing chatbots and automated systems with built-in AI features are becoming more important in retaining customer engagement. Aside from being trending systems, these tools can help customers receive faster responses, especially during peak hours when customer representatives are busy juggling calls from inquiring users.
On the business side, this saves the time and effort your staff might exert in answering simple questions. On the customer side, they can instantly receive answers to FAQs without the need for human intervention. It’s a total win-win situation on both ends.
3. See your business from the customer’s perspective.
The best way to create a memorable customer experience is to identify their expectations, needs and preferences. For a business to do this, they must put themselves in the customer’s shoes and view the brand from their perspective. There’s no better way to achieve this than hiring the expertise of a guided mystery shopper. Mystery shopping agencies like SeeLevel HX can provide you with fresh insights much needed for delivering the best customer experience possible.
4. Improve communication channels.
Users interact with a brand in different ways. They can come to your store, make a call, send an email or chat on social media to get in touch with your business. Having several fronts where customers can interact with your brand is called a multi-channel structure. But don’t mistake having quantity over quality. Customers typically don’t care how many channels you’re on as long as you can provide consistent service across all of them.
You can step up the game and aim for an omni-channel approach. This enables your users to receive a seamless 360-degree customer experience for optimum convenience. While it can be challenging to implement, it’s not impossible. With this approach in place, you’ll be setting the standards so high that customers won’t look at your competitors for better service.
5. Recognize and appreciate feedback and criticism.
Capturing feedback from your customers is one of the most important aspects of building the best customer experience. It gives you genuine data you can use to understand more about your consumers. By asking them what they like or dislike about your brand, you gain the chance to improve your business even more.
Fig. 2. What customers do when they encounter issues?
People love to give their feedback because it allows them to speak their minds and share their expectations. They’ll be more likely to give pointers if you actively engage them and show that you value their opinions. This is only possible, though, if you’re open to receiving feedback and criticism.
6. Personalize your approach.
Customers are now more demanding and expect businesses to know more about them. They don’t want to receive a generic approach that tells them they’re just another number in your books.
Advanced CRM software and similar tools can help you know more about your customers. Their interests, behaviors and needs can help create a buyer persona that you can use to provide the proper products and services desired.
To improve your strategy in personalizing your business approach, consider training your staff to pay attention to customer preferences. They should be able to remember the nuances and react accordingly to be able to provide a memorable customer experience.
For example, in a restaurant setting, if you notice a customer gets the same menu items every time they visit, you can take action so they don’t have to repeat their order on the next visit. Once they enter your establishment, you can start preparing the order and have it set on their table just a few minutes after they’ve seated.
It pays to be attentive to the minor details regarding customer behavior and preferences. It’s the little details that count the most to customers.
Greet your customers by name to establish a personal rapport and set things in the right direction. Patrons will feel more welcomed because they know you remember them. Doing simple things like this allow you to set a friendlier tone in doing business with customers.
In relation to personalizing your interactions with customers, it’s also important to give them control over certain things. Customers want to have the ability to choose from the options offered to them. They don’t want to be limited or forced into picking something they don’t really prefer.
For example, in a restaurant business, it would be great if customers can choose how spicy, salty or sweet they want their food to be. Those with allergies can even ask for the chef to remove a certain ingredient when cooking their ordered dish. Minor details like these can have a big impact on the overall customer experience.
7. Include your whole team in the mission.
Before you turn your attention to creating a satisfying customer experience, look inside your organization and ensure everyone is on board. Aiming to provide the best customer experience possible requires the effort of the whole organization. It should start from the inside by aligning everyone’s focus on the objective and training the team to put customers at the core of the company’s programs.
Consider also the opinion of your employees, especially those who are on the frontlines and in direct contact with consumers. They’re the ones who are constantly engaged with customers from marketing and after-sales support to concerns and issue resolutions. They’re more than qualified to identify the pain points in the customer journey and provide input on working solutions proven to prevent further escalation.
When everyone in the organization is in sync with what is needed to deliver the best customer experience, the chances of reaching the goal become significantly higher.
8. Go the extra mile.
How do you give the best customer experience possible? Do you need to spend a lot on acquiring the latest technology, perfecting a product or marketing your services? The truth is, none of these have as much impact as going the extra mile for your customers. This means doing things a bit better than your competitors or what customers would normally expect you to do.
For example, in a grocery store, employees can offer to carry the bags for customers. Drug stores can deliver medications for free to customers who are sick and don’t want to visit the pharmacy in person. Service centers might provide snacks or a bit of entertainment to customers who are waiting for their numbers to be called. Restaurants can give a free dessert to loyal customers. Coffee shops can provide an extra shot of espresso to patrons who order their daily dose of caffeine every morning.
There are countless ways you can go above and beyond what’s expected from your brand. Do this and your customers surely won’t forget the customer experience you provided.
Delivering a memorable customer experience is a continuous process. Strategies require constant refinement and evolution. Customer needs and preferences change often, and you need to be adaptive enough to switch gears when needed.
Providing a memorable customer experience should be the aim of every business who wants to last long in the industry. By consistently providing a positive experience, you can reinforce your relationship with customers, leading to increased brand loyalty and sales.
To provide the best customer experience possible, you should understand how consumers think. Employing the expertise of a mystery shopping agency like SeeLevel HX can greatly support your efforts. We can provide you with unbiased customer perspectives, as well as actionable insights your brand can implement to constantly improve.