Focusing on What Matters: The Customer Experience
All businesses boil down to simple dollars and sense. Simply put, if something is profitable, it benefits a company. However, where things start to get sticky is how you discover if something is, indeed, “profitable.” The question of profitability can often be very nuanced and difficult to assess.
For example, in the modern era, with big data and personalization revolutionizing the business landscape, businesses great and small are deciding to focus their efforts on an essential element in order to remain profitable: the customer experience.
The truth is, if your company struggles to provide a quality customer experience, it will be difficult to attract customers, make sales, or retain clientele over the long haul. If you find that your company’s efforts in this arena are lacking, here are a few tips to help you improve your customer experience in the year ahead.
Set Customer-Centric Goals
If you want to increase your customer experience, it all starts with a quick look into the past in order to set realistic, achievable goals for the future. Analyze your last year of business and see where you can improve things for your audience.
These days there is no end to the data, analytics, facts, and figures that a company can draw on in order to analyze its performance. Can you brush up on your customer service? Do your products or services still answer your consumers’ genuine needs? Where are you failing to come through for your customers?
Before moving on, it’s worth pointing out that if you’re going to look at the data, you want to identify what data is worth analyzing before you begin to set goals.Vanity metrics, like how many likes a Facebook post received, can be misleading. Look for valuable data such as customer feedback or insights that have been calculated against a measurable, customer-focused goal in order to find the most effective areas to make a change.
Create a User-Friendly Online Hub
One of the most common areas of customer discontent is a company’s website. The online equivalent of talking to an employee who knows absolutely nothing about their company or products or a slow, ineffective, or haphazard website can quickly turn off a customer and, in some cases, completely ruin their experience.
If you feel that your website is a cause of concern, here are a few items to consider addressing:
- Make sure that your website is providing an engaging digital experience that draws the customer in through calls to action and a seamless path from browsing to buying.
- Look at basic things like loading time and the mobile-friendly factor to make sure that your customers are being met with a fast, efficient site that can adapt to whatever technology they’re using.
- Consider your site’s navigation, too. Is it easy for someone who doesn’t know who you are to use your site? Can they find the information they need?
Your website is your online hub. It hosts your company blog. All of your social media links back to it. Influencers direct their followers to it. In short, if you don’t have a properly functioning, user-friendly website, it’s going to affect your customer’s overall experience.
Reward Your Customers
Another way to increase your user experience is to provide a reward program. Setting up a loyalty program as a way to give back to your customers is an excellent way to retain them over the long term.
The promise of a 10th cup of coffee “on the house” is a strong incentive to keep someone walking through your door over and over again. Access to exclusive deals will encourage engagement and purchases from otherwise lackadaisical clientele. A consistent discount given to those who frequent your website on a regular basis is enough to make any customer happy.
A thoughtful reward program or a loyalty program can be a great way to keep your customers steadily returning for more.
Provide Quality Customer Service
Finally, remember that one of the keys to a thorough omnichannel marketing strategy— an experience that integrates all of your customers’ points of contact into one, unified selling experience — is providing quality customer service.
If your customers find that their questions and concerns are quickly and satisfactorily met after they’ve made a purchase, they’ll be much more likely to return in the future. A few considerations to help improve your customer service experience include:
- Providing a live chat option on your website (this can also improve your site’s engagement).
- Integrating a social media element to your customer service.
- Actively listening to customer feedback.
- Providing simple, clear lines of communicationbetween your company and your customers.
The Customer Is Always Right
Okay, everyone knows that the customer isn’t always right. However, if you changed the phrase to “the customer is always respected,” you’d be closer to the point.
If you take the time to prioritize your customers through things like a good website experience, loyalty reward programs, and quality customer service, you’re likely to find your bottom line naturally begin to increase in the year ahead. As both first time and repeat customers encounter pleasant interactions with your brand, they’ll be more likely to patronize your company, and your business will find itself growing without any sales gimmicks or tacky pitches required.