In your company, how much thought is given to the quality of interactions between your customers and your business? The experience your customers have when interacting with your brand can make all the difference between a one-time, non-repeat customer and one who stays loyal for years.
Unfortunately, businesses intent on sales don’t always take into account whether or not they consistently meet customer needs and expectations. Sales may be strong at any given point, but if the customer experience is substandard, chances are those sales will drop.
That’s because customers “shop around more than ever, can easily compare products online and have increasingly high expectations,” as Forbes notes, adding that if a customer “has a bad experience with your company at any point, it could mean the end of the relationship.”
To prevent this from happening, and to maximise the beneficial effects of every customer interaction, keep these tips in mind:
1. Know your customer and the target market inside and out.
To ensure a positive customer experience, many businesses create a ‘buyer persona‘. They compile a wealth of data—everything from average age and gender to purchasing habits and other factors—in order to thoroughly understand what’s most important to your customer base.
A good place to start is by reaching out to existing customers and asking key questions:
- Why do they purchase products or services from you, rather than from a competitor?
- What specific problems do your products or services solve?
- How do these offerings improve their own businesses and/or lives?
You can also contact former customers and offer an incentive, for example a discount on a future purchase, in exchange for a candid assessment of what your business did that caused them to shop elsewhere. The information you collect will offer a more precise understanding of who your customers are, and what aspects of the customer experience need the most focus.
2. Chart the customer experience from beginning to end.
There are many touch-points with prospects and existing customers where things can go wrong. Chart the journey every customer takes when interacting with your company—beginning with the first cold call, all the way up to the sale itself and any contact made thereafter.
Business.com suggests determining the customer mindset and “what motivates them to move from point A to point B when interacting with your brand.” Also consider “where they struggle to find the answers they’re looking for.”
This information will enable you to address any hurdles and, in the end, offer a seamless customer journey each and every time.
3. Think of your business to business clients as partners.
In the business to business realm, the customer experience is sometimes more complicated to describe. After all, a business to business client could involve a wide range of customers within the purchasing organisation, and/or a variety of products and services being offered. However emphasising a high-quality experience is no less important than with business to customer sales.
“Collaboration is one technique that sits well with B2B customers,” notes CustomerThink. When these customers are involved in the purchasing process, “seeing positive results from their contributions reaffirms their expertise.” It can also strengthen the ongoing seller-buyer relationship.
4. Encourage everyone in your organisation to contribute to the customer experience.
Not all employees have direct contact with customers, but generally speaking, they all contribute in one way or another to the customer experience. Regardless of their department, let employees know that improving the customer experience is a top priority and give them the tools and resources to focus more closely on this objective.
A specialised online dashboard with key performance indicators is an efficient way to let employees know about what’s working and where the business is falling below expectations. Encourage employees to follow this dashboard and, where appropriate, offer suggestions on ways to improve how your company interacts with customers.