Businesses’ approach to luring new customers has evolved immensely over the last few decades. In the past, it was easy to sell a product if it was of high-quality and affordable. That has changed and will continue to change. The customer experience has become as important, or more important, than product and price when it comes to consumers’ purchasing decisions.
Indeed, Walker Info reports that in two years (by 2020) the customer experience will replace price and product as the main driver behind consumers’ decisions on whether or not to buy a product or service.
With so much competition in many industries today, it’s easy for a customer to leave you for a competitor. If you don’t deliver a world-class customer experience, your customers will likely leave you for a company that prioritizes the customer experience.
Below we’ll dig into the importance of delivering a world-class customer experience, how it benefits you, and cover some tips for delivering excellence.
Why is the customer experience so important?
As millennials become the largest consumer demographic, we’ll see drastic changes in the customer-vendor relationship. Customers now have more power than ever in these relationships. If they are unhappy, they can potentially ruin your brand reputation by spreading poisonous comments across various social media channels.
With so much competition, consumers have a plethora of choices when making a purchase decision. If you don’t create a reputation as a customer-centric brand, consumers will look at competitors that do.
To drive home the importance of the customer experience, consider these statistics:
- Delivering a stellar customer experience increases customer retention. And increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
- A great customer experience produces loyal customers who stick with you over the long term, reducing customer churn. This is important because it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
- 95% of consumers say they have taken action or left a vendor because of a bad customer experience.
- 86% of consumers will pay as much as 25% more for a product or service from a company that delivers an excellent customer experience.
You get the point. Delivering a great customer experience is necessary these days if you want to remain competitive and grow your business. It is now a baseline standard for successful companies.
How to deliver excellence: Customer experience best practices
Delivering a world-class customer experience isn’t as difficult as it may seem. The central objective revolves around shifting your mindset away from focusing on revenue generation and focusing instead on the needs and expectations of the customer and how you can meet—and exceed—them. If you deliver a world-class customer experience, revenue will come on its own.
Here are a few tricks of the trade that will empower you to deliver excellence:
Stay in constant contact
Reach out to each customer individually on a routine basis to check in and see how things are going. Ask them what you could be doing differently to improve your service to them. Ask if they need anything from you that they don’t currently have. Assure them that you are there for them whenever they need you.
This outreach should be done over the phone to make the interaction more personal. Regular outreach like this will tell customers that you see them as valuable partners, that you value their opinions, and that you want to do anything you can to improve their experience using your product or service.
Ask for feedback
Send an online customer survey on a regular basis. Once per year is sufficient. Ask them what they like about your product and brand, and what could be improved. Then implement changes based on their feedback. This shows customers that you are invested in their success and are making efforts to deliver the service they need.
Once you’ve planned changes based on their feedback, be sure to communicate to your customer base that you’re making the changes they asked for and need. This will win huge points for your brand reputation and ensure customers are satisfied with the experience you provide.
Deliver excellent customer support
Customers form their opinions of your ability to deliver a superior customer experience based on many variables. These include the content you provide them, how accessible you are to them, interactions with sales reps that display empathy, and the list goes on.
But perhaps the most important aspect of the customer experience—and one that has the greatest impact on customers’ perceptions—is the quality of your customer support. Here are some tips for maintaining a powerful customer support presence:
Provide multiple support channels: When a customer needs assistance, they need it as soon as possible. If they have to wait for help, they will grow increasingly impatient and frustrated.
When you provide multiple support channels through which customers can reach you, you reduce wait times. Chatbots can manage live chat questions any time of the day or night. Live chat agents are available during working hours to field more complex questions. And you should also offer email and telephone support for those that prefer those methods of communication.
Finally, you should use social listening and monitoring tools to receive alerts when someone mentions you on social media. Increasingly, people are asking support questions on social media, so it’s important to respond to those quickly. Social listening tools allow you to do that, which results in a much better customer experience.
Increase first contact resolution rate: First contact resolution (FCR) rate refers to the percentage of incoming help desk tickets that you resolve on the first try, without having to search for a solution and get back to the customer.
The easiest and most effective ways to boost your FCR rate are hiring top talent to manage your support efforts and using dedicated help desk groups (see below).
Dedicated help desk groups: These are groups of support reps that specialize in a specific product, service, or another area of your business. They are experts in those products and only support customers who use them, rather than supporting all clients and all products.
Leveraging help desk groups ensures customers receive expert support every time, which dramatically increases FCR rate and results in a superior customer experience.
Make employee satisfaction a priority
Satisfied employees work harder, are more invested in your company’s success, and have higher morale in the workplace. Happy employees care more about your customers and go the extra mile to support them, which delivers a great customer experience.
When employees are stressed out or overloaded, they are more likely to be rude or curt with customers, which will quickly damage your brand reputation.
You can increase employee satisfaction by organizing employee volunteer events to generate a sense of comradery and belonging among your employees. You can put in place a matching donations program where you match any donation they make to a nonprofit. And you can send them employee satisfaction surveys to identify areas where you could improve and increase their workplace satisfaction.
The customer experience is increasingly important and will soon be the determining factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions. You need to prioritize customer satisfaction and empathize with customers to understand how you can better support them.
Following the tips above will get you started. Think about what your unique customer base needs and wants. Put yourself in their shoes. Position your company as a customer-centric business, and you’ll deliver a superior customer experience that will solidify the future survival of your business.