When you think of the “customer experience,” you might think of the traditional fare: customer surveys, discounts, handling complaints and the like. But customer experience today comprises so much more.
In general, customer experience includes any and all business interactions based on perception.
Gartner states that within two years, about 50 percent of CIOs will use artificial intelligence (AI) in some capacity to improve the customer experience. This may include using technologies such as chatbots, email and text support, self-checkouts, and social media integrations.
Whatever your line of business, there are many ways to optimize customer experiences in a digital world. The problem isn’t a limitation of options. Instead, many businesses owners simply don’t tap into the necessary business consulting tools.
But if you want to remain competitive, it’s time to up your game.
The changes we’re seeing now aren’t just because technology is evolving. The customer is evolving, too. That’s why the customer experience is being optimized across all industries. And your small or midsize business needs to keep pace to remain successful.
When everyone is your customer
Today, employees, business owners, investors, shareholders and partners wear two hats. They are both stakeholders and customers.
Businesses have to engage these people with sales, marketing and services. Lack of engagement isn’t an option. Furthermore, you have to follow through with each group through the full sales process. And if you can turn them into brand champions who bring you new organic customers via word of mouth (or social media), even better.
Customers now share feelings, and more significantly, their opinions. They talk to each other and share online. Customers want to be nurtured, hence the need for customer-centric grooming that’s friendly, helpful and professional.
Separating yourself from competitors
While you, of course, have your own strategies, you should also factor in what separates you from your competitors.
Listen to your customers’ needs
Read their feedback. Yes, actually go online and see what your customers are saying about you. Let them know you are listening to their ideas and complaints.
Aim for the heart
Appeal to your customers’ emotional side. Heartfelt messages are meaningful—provided they’re sincere.
Simplify your products and services
Walk the customer through their journey and make the experience easier. Never stop asking yourself what doing business with your company is like from the customer’s point of view.
Lead from the top
One study found that nearly 60 percent of businesses generate more profit when CEOs are responsible for managing customer experiences. And businesses need to exceed customers’ expectations.
It’s not about referrals or volume. It’s about personalized experiences that let customers know they matter. That’s what customers in every vertical want, even if they’re limited on resources.
So how do you get it right?
Steps to maximize the customer experience
If you’re looking to do a better job with your company’s customer experience, we suggest you start in the following areas.
Develop and maintain complete customer profiles
These should absolutely integrate with your CRM. Using your CRM, customize the customer experience with everything from messaging to automation.
Personalize all of your interactions with your customers
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a customer service phone call, confirmation of an order, or an inquiry about a special discount. Be the voice they hear and be helpful. Always.
Get your products and services right
Amaze them with fast and accurate delivery, and offer helpful support every step of the way—every time.
Customers need to be looked after at every level in order to maximize the customer experience.
If you’re concerned that your business is in a chaotic state, disorganized and reactive rather than focused and proactive, maybe it’s time to talk to a business consultant. The right support goes a long way to making your customer experience everything it could be.