In a business rife with competition, providing customers with an excellent experience allows your company to stand out from the crowd. Customer experience encompasses all of the various interactions that a customer has with your company – from products and services to in-person interactions to online communication – as well as customers’ views or feelings about those interactions. You want each interaction with your company to leave a customer with an overwhelmingly positive reaction. These positive experiences will help turn them into a loyal customer, thereby increasing customer retention. There are important actions that you can take to enhance customer experience and ensure that every interaction a customer has with your company is a positive one.
Creating a positive customer experience means that your company must be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to communicating with customers. If you only actively engage with customers when they have a problem, you are entering the conversation too late. Supporting customers when they have an issue with your company is important, but it is also critical that you proactively learn about your customers in order to strategically communicate with them about their experience and evolving needs. Providing an excellent customer experience means reaching out to customers instead of waiting for them to reach out to you.
Creating Seamless Encounters
As a company, you want to anticipate customers’ needs. At each touchpoint, you should be creating a seamless experience that proactively engages customers. Each action a customer needs to take to make a purchase should be clear and intuitive with support offered to guide them through the process. A seamless experience also allows the customer to connect through various channels and devices. At any point, they should be able to shift from a mobile platform to the web to messaging (or any other channel) as needed without a disruption in the process or support they receive. You also want to identify any points of friction along the customer journey and try to anticipate and preemptively address them so that they don’t become a negative customer experience. When points of friction do arise, make sure you respond quickly to address any issues so that the customer remembers the excellent customer service they received to fix the situation rather than the actual point of friction.
Leveraging Customer Data
Part of anticipating customer needs and creating a seamless customer experience depends on how well you utilize customer data. Identifying trends in your company’s customer data provide you with important insights into their needs, expectations, and experiences. This can be applied to developing a strategy that proactively engages customers in a way that anticipates their needs and preemptively addresses any concerns they may have. Using data also helps you identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities, which is part of anticipating customers’ future needs while also contributing to your company’s revenue.
Putting the Customer First
Though it may seem obvious, putting the customer first is central to creating a positive customer experience. Many companies say that the customer is their first priority while their policies and systems prioritize company cost savings and productivity instead. However, these companies may forget that when customers have a positive experience, they are less likely to take their business to a competitor. Returning customers are critical to increasing revenue, as it is far more cost-effective and efficient for a company to retain customers than to acquire new ones. To help make putting the customer first a reality rather than simply a slogan, identify how you will actively support and engage customers while linking these actions to your long-term goals and vision. Instead of trying to win back customers after they have had a negative experience, putting customers first will help make sure they don’t have a reason to leave in the first place.