Gone are the days when companies could easily differentiate from competitors through unique products and services.
Most products and services are similar. The difference is primarily good branding, clever marketing, and competitive pricing.
But there’s one differentiator that stands above most others. In nearly every industry, the most successful businesses provide exceptional customer experience.
A great customer experience helps a business gain loyal patrons and increases referrals and brand equity.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience is how your customers perceive your company throughout all touchpoints with your brand.
Good customer experience isn’t only about service quality and user experience. It’s about the whole interaction with customers from the beginning (pre-sale period) to the end (making a sale) and beyond.
Good customer experience is possible only if you make it a top priority to listen to your customers at all times.
Here are six strategies that can help your business deliver the best customer experience:
Customer Experience Strategies:
Let’s look closely at each of these six strategies.
1. Build a vision about the ideal customer experience
To deliver a great customer experience, you have to build a vision. Imagine what customer experience you want to provide and take active steps to achieve it.
Start by asking yourself these key questions:
- How can I make my business accessible to people?
- How can I address concerns efficiently?
- What kind of voice should I use to communicate?
- How do other successful brands create a great customer experience? How can I apply this to my own business?
Creating a vision of your ideal customer experience helps you stay inspired. For example, making small and achievable goals every day for you and your team will help you measure progress.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and imagine how you want to be treated. And don’t hesitate to ask customers for feedback.
If you just started a business and don’t have many customers, study how other brands use customer feedback to improve.
This work should never stop, even if you already provide a good customer experience. There’s always room to improve.
2. Prioritize customers ahead of products and services
If you focus on customers first, you’ll create a culture that differentiates you from competitors. This is how Amazon came to dominate e-Commerce.
Customers want to be heard and, importantly, want to know that someone is listening to them.
Many brands ask questions on social networks and in surveys, but few listen, respond, and make changes in response to customer feedback.
The best way to show customers that you hear them is by improving products or services in response to their feedback. Fix bugs on your website, switch to sustainable packaging materials, make your products and services accessible, etc.
For example, Apple places great emphasis on customer experience. The company is known for constantly updating its products and services according to customer needs, relevance, and practicality.
Some people say that Apple doesn’t listen to what customers want. And that’s partially true. Apple is more focused on customer problems than the solutions customers desire. In solving those problems, Apple can innovate in ways that constantly move its products forward.
3. Hire people dedicated to offering quality service
Having a dedicated team of service-oriented people will do your business wonders. You need people who have the same vision in customer service and take continuous steps to turn that vision into reality.
When looking for the right people to build your team, look for these key characteristics:
- Strong-self discipline
- Emotionally intelligent
- Patient and understanding
- Willingness to learn and to take initiative
- Attentiveness to detail
Creating an effective team also starts with you. It’s your duty as the leader to develop and foster a healthy working environment for your employees. Happy and satisfied employees will help you grow your business faster.
4. Respond to customers promptly
People lose interest and get frustrated when they don’t receive a quick response to their questions.
The Internet has provided an avenue for people to communicate fast and efficiently without hassle. People expect no less in online business transactions, making customer service standards even higher.
But you shouldn’t fear this. Instead, embrace it.
For example, we at crowdspring take pride in our 99% support team satisfaction rate. And you can see this reflects in crowdspring reviews. We always make sure to address concerns immediately and comprehensively.
How do we achieve this?
First, we recognize our limits. We don’t instill 24/7 customer support expectations in our clients. We post our operating hours on our contact page so that people know when they can expect a reply. We do our best to respond to concerns in all channels immediately and always in a friendly and professional manner.
Second, we do our best to live up to expectations. We have a dedicated support team across different times zones. We answer most customer support requests within 1 to 2 hours (and often, within minutes). And we typically answer live chats in under 20 seconds. Establishing customer response goals helps create measurable standards. It also enables you to hold your team accountable for meeting those standards.
Finally, we look out for one another and always provide internal feedback for individual performances. And we learn from our mistakes
5. Foster a connection with your customers
Remember that your customers purchase your products and services because they trust your brand. Hence, it’s vital to create a connection to strengthen that trust.
Understand your customers and find ways to connect with them. You can even look for ways to gamify interactions with customers.
For example, one way to connect is to post behind-the-scenes photos or videos on social networks. This helps people relate better to your company because it humanizes what you do. And this is especially important if you sell standard products and services.
You can also connect better by using a friendly tone when communicating. Talk to your customers with kindness, and never forget to stay professional.
6. Always take customer feedback seriously
Customer feedback can help you improve your business.
But customer feedback isn’t always positive. Even if you run the most popular business, you will anger some customers.
It’s natural to take negative comments as personal and discouraging, especially for new businesses. But we urge you to think differently. You can channel negative feedback into changes that help you accelerate growth.
For example, Nike faced a situation when an activist called them out after Nike released shoes featuring the original Betsy Ross Flag. The activist asserted that the flag had racist connotations. The brand immediately recalled the shoes. This decision showed that Nike was sensitive to culture and respected its audience. And people appreciated Nike’s quick action.
Four insights that will help you deliver excellent customer service:
1. Create standards and processes
If you create standards and processes, you will help your team consistently deliver quality customer service.
For example, we see thousands of customer support requests every month. Some require more urgent responses while others can wait an extra hour. We created internal standards and processes that quickly identify the most urgent requests to help our team answer them quickly.
Train employees to follow the standards, provide consistent feedback for improvement, and always be open to improving your standards and processes.
2. Have a consistent voice
People on your team have their personalities and voices, but you should strive to find a familiar brand voice when talking with customers and prospects. And you should use that brand voice consistently across all communication channels.
That doesn’t mean that everyone on your team should sound the same. On the contrary – you should celebrate and promote diversity.
But it does mean that your communications, including your customer service communications, should strive to promote and strengthen your brand identity.
3. Be easily accessible online
Make it easy for people to contact you. For example, we linked our contact form in our main navigation. And while we don’t provide customer support on social networks, we promptly respond to people there and help them connect with our support team.
4. Respond quickly
Don’t leave customers guessing. Even if you can’t respond immediately, let them know you received their email and set expectations, so they know when to expect a response.
And respond as quickly as possible. Quick responses not only increase customer satisfaction but also makes customers feel valued. This makes customers feel important when concerns are addressed promptly and efficiently.
There’s no perfect way to deliver the best customer experience, and there’s no precise guide that fits all businesses. What works for one company might not work for another. But if you put customers first, you’ll always create a good customer experience.
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