What does your business look like from your customer’s point of view? If you’ve never wondered about that, you should. Research reveals what our intuition already told us: Customers make purchasing decisions based on their encounters with an organization. One study shows a whopping 89 percent of consumers begin doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
Invest in customer experience, and you not only boost your chances of retaining existing customers but also prepare yourself to win the business of those who are unhappy with the other guy. Here’s how.
If you want to understand your customer’s perspective, you need to become the customer. That means thinking and acting like one. Take the time to map out your customers’ experience with your business, from the moment they become aware of your existence to after they make a purchase and beyond.
Make a list of these touchpoints, which include anything and everything from your website, social media presence and emails to your business cards, signage and shopping bags. No touchpoint is too small to count, so be thorough. Then take a step back and evaluate how effectively each one communicates your companies brand and values. They should be consistent and easily identified in everything you do.
Once you have a 360-degree view of your interactions with customers, you can use this information to ensure you’re making the most of each opportunity to influence your customers. First, your brand voice should be clear and consistent as you communicate across various platforms, such as your website, blogs and email marketing campaigns.
Likewise, your logoed materials should share the same look and feel so they are easily linked to your business. Make sure your business cards, letterhead, email templates, website, signage, vehicles, uniforms, bags and any other tangible touchpoints are cohesive and convey your brand.
Lastly, your customer service is a critical piece of the customer experience pie. Make sure employees understand your goals and are trained properly to support those efforts, whether it’s through how they address customers, how quickly they respond to inquiries or how they follow up after a sale.
You’ve done the hard work. Now make sure your investment is paying off. In this age of social media, it’s easier than ever to keep tabs on what your customers think about your business. Monitor your company’s social media efforts, and regularly check review sites like Yelp to see if your customers are saying about you. Talk to customers when they visit your business, too, and encourage them to share their feedback.
Remember, managing customer experience is a marathon and not a sprint, but it’s worth every step. By following the steps outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to proving a great experience for your customers—and a stronger bottom line for your business.