In today’s increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace, you must differentiate in order to stand out from the crowd. Today’s consumers are smarter, less loyal, and won’t think about leaving you for a business which can deliver a better overall customer experience.
If you want to remain competitive, you need to get the customer experience basics right. The following seven best practices will help you deliver an experience that is efficient, consistent, and – importantly – sure to meet your customers’ expectations.
7 Customer Experience Best Practices
1) Develop a single view of the customer
54% of marketers cite not having a single view of customers across channels as the biggest obstacle to creating a successful cross-channel experience. Unfortunately, these marketers are unable to benefit from the myriad benefits a single view provides: (1) the ability to improve each interaction with a customer, effectively enhancing the relationship with that customer; (2) more precise customer segmentation and the ability to develop targeted marketing campaigns for each segment; and (3) the ability to provide more personal, proactive customer service based on a customer’s buying habits.
2) Gather customer data across all channels
Customers are interacting with online businesses on both desktop and mobile devices which can complicate the process of collecting and unifying customer information. A simple but effective way to solve this problem is by investing in a flexible CRM system. Connecting data from all channels in order to create a seamless customer experience has been shown to increase sales by up to 40%. It stands to reason: the more connected your data, the easier it is to find out who your customers are, why they come to you, and what you need to do to meaningfully engage them.
3) Make every interaction timely, relevant, and personalized
Customers love the highly personalized experience they receive from big name companies like Amazon and Nordstrom, and now expect a similar experience from every company they chose to do business with. And businesses which are in a position to deliver an especially high-level experience are seeing the pay off with a 45% increase in customer spending. It goes without saying that the only way to deliver this experience is via customer data. Only with data can you predict what, how often, and when customers are most likely to buy from you.
4) Optimize omnichannel
Companies need to be present on various channels. But they also need to ensure that each channel is convenient and consistent so customers receive the same experience and message everywhere. Considering that 65% of consumers complain about receiving inconsistent support across channels, incidentally one of the top reasons they decide to abandon a company, it is imperative that businesses provide the clear, seamless experience today’s customer expect. Keep in mind that all touch points ultimately lead to the same destination – your overall customer experience.
5) Make sure your employees are happy
While measuring customer satisfaction is a priority, so is measuring the satisfaction of your employees who are, after all, the backbone of your internal operations. Various studies have shown satisfied employees are more likely to interact with customers in a positive, friendly manner, meeting or even exceeding customers’ expectations which, of course, helps to reduce churn. For this reason, you can’t afford to overlook employee satisfaction and engagement. If you want to ensure a high-level of customer support, you must incentivize your employees to do the best job they can.
6) Always exceed expectations
9 in 10 companies are struggling to deliver a customer experience that exceeds their customers’ expectations; only 7% say they actually do accomplish this goal. But with customer expectations changing all the time, and plenty of businesses vying for the attention of your customers, there is no excuse for delivering a subpar experience. A generic, one-size-fits-all model just won’t cut it. Today’s customers expect to be treated as individuals and expect you to empower them with the right information at the right time, possible only if you have at your disposal sufficient customer knowledge.
7) Value your customers’ time by minimizing their effort
Ultimately, customers expect a friction-free experience. The more effort required of them to complete a transaction, the more likely they are to simply walk away. And considering how important customer retention is to your business’s success, you can’t afford to lose them because you aren’t willing or able to provide them with an easy, effortless experience. Evaluate each interaction they have with you, using a simple metric like the CES, and make whatever improvements are necessary so you are easier to work with.
Today’s customers will only engage with brands that understand who they are and can deliver exactly what they are looking for. Fail to understand them or their needs and they will go elsewhere. They know there is always another choice just around the corner.