March 27

5 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience

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The customer experience (CX) is the sum total of all interactions between customers and brands or businesses. This includes things like service quality, price, convenience, delivery speed, responsiveness, ease of website navigation, etc.

Customer experience is a huge part of the customer journey and it’s something that all businesses need to be thinking about regardless of industry or whether you are selling to consumers or businesses.

A customer experience (CX) manager or someone else (typically someone in marketing or sales, or for small businesses, the owner/founder or general manager) typically has two main focuses – ensuring customers receive excellent service and delighting them every time they interact with your brand or organization.

Customer satisfaction surveys and feedback mechanisms allow companies to track their performance over time. This helps identify areas where improvements can be made.

But there are also some simple ways to improve CX without spending a fortune. 

Although improving customer experiences can take months or even years, these five tips are quick fixes that can enhance the overall user experience.

Before we get started, you might be wondering why you should bother. After all, you have many other concerns - the least of which is keeping the lights on, meeting your targets, and your employees productive and retained.

So, here are the primary reason why it's important to focus on customer experience.

When done well, CX increases customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention rates, which increases profit.

Improving Your Customer Experience is Easier When You Understand the Following:

  1. Customer Experience is in every business decision.
  2. The only true differentiation between competitors is the Customer Experience they deliver.
  3. Your brand IS your Customer Experience.
  4. Everyone is IN marketing whether they realize it or not
  5. Customers complain when there is a disconnect between what you promise in your marketing and the experience they receive.

Let's Look at an Example:

Restaurant A is next door to Restaurant B on tourist row. They are both Mom and Pop restaurants that sell similar products -- food and drinks -- but Restaurant A has a waiting line to get seated while Restaurant B is empty. Why is this?

  • Restaurant A's menu is more slightly expensive than Restaurant B.
  • Restaurant A's servers are rushed off their feet but they are taking time to be hospitable to their diners. Restaurant B's servers are sitting at a table in the back tapping away at their phones.
  • Restaurant A is colorful, with clean white tablecloths and sparkling glasses. Restaurant B isn't as colorful, its glasses aren't quite as sparkling and the tablecloths are showing their age.
  • Because Restaurant A is cooking for its guests, the aroma of deliciousness makes the tummy growl. Restaurant B isn't cooking, so no one knows what to expect.
  • The signage for Restaurant A is appealing, but Restaurant B has signage that needs repair

People make decisions based on emotion and rationalize them with logic. In the eyes of the tourists -- who have to make a decision with limited knowledge -- Restaurant A is a better choice for all sorts of reasons and they must be right because others have chosen it too. The social proof convinces them to join the line.

What Could Restaurant B Do Differently? 

Customer Experience is in EVERY business decision -- the decision to permit the staff to sit at a table in the back, rather than being outside with great big welcoming smiles on their faces while they invite people to check out the menu and perhaps offer a little taste of what they are serving. By doing this they are not only marketing -- building Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action -- but they are drawing people into their customer experience.

They need to decide who they are, who they want to serve, and what those people are looking for - and deliver it.

They need to fix the signage, replace the table cloths and shine the glasses before putting them on the table because people will make assumptions about the quality of the food and service based on those visuals. They are marketing to the world that they either aren't interested in the details or they aren't able to invest in their business, neither of which appeals to people who want a good experience.

They need to find a hook -- something that people want which is different and more valuable than the other restaurant offers. They need people to experience what they have to offer. They need to show social proof to get people to come in, which will lead to more people following. They need to add some life to their restaurant -- no one wants to eat at an empty restaurant. They need to start investing in a consistent experience so that people know what to expect.

5 Ways To Improve Your Customer Experience 

  1. Know who you are serving and what they value. Be clear on who you want to attract and who you want to repel. Then find out what the people you want to attract value and what they don't. Ask them what you should Start, Stop, Increase and Decrease. Use the T-Form, which you can download here
  2. Find out how people decide to do business with you. What influences their decisions? How did they find you? What journey did they take to sort through their options? What were the moments of truth for them?
  3. Follow-up after the sale. Very few people do that, so you immediately differentiate your business from others. Follow up to be sure they are happy. Ask if they have any questions you can answer. Inquire about any other needs they have (great time for a cross-sell or up-sell). Create a follow-up schedule. What will you do, when will you do it and how will you follow up?
  4. Train your staff. I know it sounds like an absolutely "Captain Obvious" statement but so many businesses are cutting back on training, which is the wrong approach. Your customers tend to know more about their options and your competition than you do -- after all, it's in their best interest to make an informed decision. However, when they ask questions they have been unable to resolve during their research, your staff have to be able to answer and/or find someone who can quickly respond.
  5. Align your marketing with your customer experience. If there is a disconnect, either change the experience or change your marketing. Remember your brand IS your customer experience, so ensure your brand promise is indeed what your staff delivers -- consistently and across all touch points.

Tags

customer experience, customers


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