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our customers are the foundation of your business. Ensuring they have a positive experience throughout their relationship with your company can help you retain customers and turn them into ambassadors for your brand.
Customer service is the interaction between your company and a customer service representative, chatbot, or self-help portal. The customer experience is a broader concept, beginning when a prospective customer first becomes aware of your brand and continuing through their last purchase. Customer experience includes every touchpoint during a customer’s journey with your company. You can't just provide a “good enough” customer experience anymore. Learn how you can make significant improvements to the customer experience.
Understand your customers
Before you can create a standout customer experience, you have to understand your customers, including what motivates them and what problems you’re solving for them.
Customer profiling and segmentation
Profiling and segmenting your customer base will allow you to create a targeted customer experience. Separate your customer list by behavior, demographics, and preferences, such as how they like to shop or prefer to be contacted. Depending on your business model, you may need to offer a different customer experience for various segments of your customer base.
Gathering and analyzing customer feedback
The best people to tell you what your customers want are your customers themselves. Ask your customers for their feedback. You can send a follow-up email after a purchase, distribute surveys, or monitor reviews on social media and review sites.
Analyzing customer feedback will help you identify areas where your business excels and where it needs improvement. You can make data-driven decisions about improving the customer experience from this information.
Identifying pain points and areas for improvement
Pinpoint specific areas that your customers have identified as frustrations or sticking points. Whether it’s long wait times or a confusing website, make a list of any complaints and develop an improvement plan to address them.
Develop a customer-centric culture
Creating a customer-centric business culture is essential to provide an excellent customer experience.
Your company culture will influence how your employees interact with customers and approach their work. Placing customer happiness at the center of your business model will reinforce the importance of the customer experience. Here are a few ways to develop a customer-centric culture:
Focus on employee training and development
Train your employees with the skills and knowledge they need to provide an excellent customer experience. Include empathy, communication, and problem-solving training so your employees can handle any issues. One way to do this is by setting up role-playing exercises where your employees take turns working through common customer service scenarios, and preparing your team to handle issues when they arise.
Encouraging and rewarding customer-centric behavior
To further reinforce your company’s commitment to customer experience, consider implementing a rewards program for employees who prioritize customer service. For example, you can publicly acknowledge employees named in customer satisfaction surveys or allow peers to recognize each other for outstanding customer engagement. For example, Pitney Bowes’ employees who receive favorable customer feedback are rewarded with gift certificates.
Streamline customer interactions
One of the best ways to improve the customer experience is to make every customer interaction easy and pleasant. The following steps will help you do that.
Simplifying the customer journey
Your customer’s journey should be as simple as possible. Work to minimize the number of steps a customer takes to complete a transaction or resolve an issue. Customers with a positive experience with your brand are less likely to leave for a competitor.
People lead busy lives today and are tech-savvy. People will go somewhere else if your website is difficult to navigate or requires too many steps. Only ask for necessary information, and allow customers to use convenient options such as social sign-on to create accounts whenever possible.
Creating clear and helpful communication channels
Provide multiple channels for your customers to connect with you, including email, chatbots, phone support, web forms, and social media. Make sure your customer service representatives respond to all channels quickly and are knowledgeable and friendly.
All of your channels should be connected so that your representatives can see what interactions a customer has experienced before talking to them. For instance, if a customer has engaged with a chatbot, the representative should be able to see the previous conversation. This reduces the amount of redundant information your customers have to provide.
When your customer service representatives can see that a customer has already tried to clear up their issue through a self-service portal, they can jump right in with new solutions instead of making them restate the problem.
Providing personalized and efficient experiences
Everyone appreciates having a personalized shopping experience. This can include recommendations based on previous purchasing behavior or targeted marketing campaigns.
Automated software such as email marketing platforms can create personalized funnels for all your customers based on where they are in the customer journey. Customers just hearing about your product or service may need more information before committing, while established customers may appreciate loyalty rewards.
You can also provide a personalized experience based on a customer’s interests. For example, for customers who are purchasing prenatal vitamins, you can follow up with offers for diapers or formula.
Use technology to enhance customer experience
In today’s digital age, technology that can improve the customer experience is widely available. Take advantage of this technology to provide excellent customer service in a cost-effective, scalable way.
Evaluating and implementing technology solutions
While the best options will vary depending on your industry and goals, the first step is to evaluate your current processes and identify areas where technology can help you improve. You may need to implement customer relationship management software, improve the UX of your online store, or integrate artificial intelligence (AI)-powered knowledge management portals.
For example, AI-powered knowledge management platforms allow customers to search for help and automatically make suggestions based on their search history. If they can’t find what they’re looking for on their own, the platform will make suggestions for your customer service agent to help them find the answers they need.
Leveraging data-driven insights
Effective software solutions can let you improve the customer experience in the following ways:
- Make personalized recommendations based on past purchases
- Identify processes that need improvement
- Predict customer needs, such as when they’ll need replacement products
- Proactively address common customer issues, such as providing video tutorials for troubleshooting
Utilizing automation and self-service options
While it’s natural to think that human interaction is the most valuable type of customer support, 67% of customers prefer self-service options over dealing with a company representative. Self-service portals provide customers with the convenience of being able to solve their own issues whenever it’s most convenient for them. Automation and self-service options can also reduce wait times and increase the efficiency of your customer service platform.
Continuous improvement and adaptation
The business landscape is rapidly evolving as new tech developments come to market. To remain competitive, you'll need to adapt to the technology. Small, ongoing positive changes can lead to significant improvements over time.
Importance of ongoing evaluation and adjustment
Continuously evaluate and adjust your customer experience strategy based on customer feedback and other data points. Monitoring your results and regularly updating and tweaking your strategy will help you develop a customer experience plan that grows with your business.
Gathering and utilizing customer feedback
While negative reviews never feel good, customer feedback is extremely valuable. Positive reviews help you double down on procedures that are working, and negative reviews highlight areas for improvement.
Additionally, negative feedback provides you with a new opportunity. Responding to customer complaints in a friendly and professional manner can turn a negative experience into a positive one. If you quickly respond to a customer on social media, acknowledge their feelings, and resolve their complaint, you can win new customers and change a disgruntled customer’s opinion.
Traditional customer service occurs at the back of the store and is rarely witnessed by anyone other than the customer and your representative. Today’s customer service issues are often handled over social media and can be witnessed by hundreds or thousands of your customer’s followers. Handle an issue well, and you can impress them.
Asking for customer feedback should be incorporated into every transaction, either through post-purchase surveys, email requests for reviews, or after in-person transactions.
Understanding how your customers feel after interacting with your company will help guide your future decisions and improve the customer experience.
Staying up-to-date with industry trends and customer needs
Even if you don’t consider yourself a techie, make it a point to keep up with emerging technology in the customer experience space. Be on the lookout for tools that make it easier and more cost-effective to keep your customers happy, such as AI-powered customer service platforms.
Read industry reports and articles about changes in customer behavior and the shifting competitive business landscape so you can be proactive in designing an excellent customer experience. Staying informed about customer expectations and preferences will allow you to remain one step ahead of your competition. You can find this information in marketing reports and blogs from industry insiders.
Your customers can be your biggest supporters or your biggest detractors. 87% of consumers report that customer service determines whether they choose to do business with you. Prioritizing the customer experience will help you attract and retain customers. Motivate your team to go the extra mile by rewarding those who go above and beyond for your customers.
Once you’ve developed and implemented a plan for a positive customer experience, stay on top of it by monitoring your results and adjusting your approach.
Novo Platform Inc. strives to provide accurate information but cannot guarantee that this content is correct, complete, or up-to-date. This page is for informational purposes only and is not financial or legal advice nor an endorsement of any third-party products or services. All products and services are presented without warranty. Novo Platform Inc. does not provide any financial or legal advice, and you should consult your own financial, legal, or tax advisors.
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