What is customer experience?
Customer experience is the impression your customers have of your brand. Accordingly, it encompasses every aspect of the customers journey. The customer experience forms the customers view of your brand and impacts their purchasing decision and revenue.
Every type of business can benefit from improved customer experience. So, if you’re looking for repeat customers, customer recommendations, and referrals and to lower complaints – you should care about customer experience!
Customer service is just one part of the overall customer experience. To explain, every single touch point with a customer is an opportunity to shape the customer experience – positively or negatively. Examples of this could be as simple as calling a helpline to request a refund or communicating via email for order details.
A positive customer experience is crucial to the success of your business. Moreover, a happy customer is one who is likely to become a loyal customer who can help you boost revenue. The best marketing is a customer who will promote your business for you. A customer who’s loyal to your company, promotes your business through word-of-mouth marketing, and advocates for your brand and product or service.
What does bad customer experience look like?
Think about the last time you had a bad experience with a company, and how that made you feel. Not great, right? Maybe you had a problem and couldn’t get in touch with customer services or didn’t find customer service helpful.
Because of this, bad customer experience can have a huge negative impact on a business. For example, business could expect to see reduced satisfaction, decreased customer loyalty, increased frustration, and higher customer churn.
Most negative customer experiences come from the following, unfortunately common, problems:
- Having to wait too long (for delivery, to speak to someone, for a refund etc.,)
- Rude or unhelpful employees
- Being unable to get important questions answered
- Not being able to get hold of a real person – too much automation
- Issues being left unresolved
How do I improve customer experience?
Now that you understand why customer experience is so important, and what not to do, you can focus on how to improve it.
Every business can utilise the following strategies to give their customers the best experience:
- Your number one business priority should be listening to your customers
- Gather customer feedback for analysis
- Use your customer feedback to make necessary changes across the business
- Ensure staff are well trained and able to deal with customer queries in a friendly manner
- Reduce negative experiences by solving customer problems
- Make useful information (such as delivery times and contact numbers) easily accessible to customers
- Adapt to problems by implementing procedures to ensure the same problem doesn’t occur regularly
What if the damage is already done?
Are you reading this and realising that your business has already caused bad customer experience? Take the opportunity to try and improve customer satisfaction. In any event, you could make a huge difference and turn around the customer’s viewpoint. In short, putting customers first is always good for business!
Therefore, if there has been a problem, we recommend the following actions:
- Get your employees side of the story. Understanding why the issue happened in the first place is vital to fixing it. You can’t solve a problem if you aren’t fully informed about it! Talk to your employees and get their thoughts, without playing the blame game. Being as prepared as possible when dealing with difficult customers and situations is important.
- Apologise! A sincere and meaningful apology goes a long way. If there is a point of contact for the customer, they will be the best person to reach out and apologise. Be prepared to accept responsibility if something was indeed your company’s fault.
- Show the customer you understand the seriousness of the problem. If the issue is more severe, it should be escalated to senior leadership to show the customer that the company cares about fixing their experience. Don’t overuse this – it’s for the big problems only!
- Send something to say sorry with. Depending on your industry, a ‘sorry’ gift or discount can work wonders. For some customers, this will solve the issue completely. Be aware that some can view discounts/gifts as a reward for creating conflict. With this in mind, make sure it’s warranted!
- Learn from the experience. One of the best things a company can do when customer conflict arises is make sure it doesn’t happen again. Let the customer know you’ve used their experience to make changes.
Customer Experience Takeaway
Most importantly, remember that all humans are emotional! Creating an emotional connection with your audience and customers will always be the most powerful way to improve your business.