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How to Improve the Customer Experience

by Busines Newswire
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Over the last few years, businesses have been told to focus on delivering the best possible service. Sometimes, this comes at the expense of the overall customer experience. Businesses may spend a lot of money training their frontline and support staff while neglecting vital back-office functions.

The end result is that the customer has a wonderful experience in the store but experiences problems with administrative tasks like billing.

In today’s competitive market, companies need to focus on the overall experience rather than just small parts of it. In this post, we’ll focus on how you can improve the customer experience.

What Do We Mean By Customer Experience?

When we’re talking about customer experience, we’re referring to the entire journey the customer takes with your company. This means every step of the way, from when they first become aware of your business to when they stop dealing with you completely.

The interactions can encompass various touch points such as:

  • Reading blog posts
  • Interacting on social media
  • Visiting a store
  • Contacting customer support
  • Ordering goods online

This is very distinct from customer service, which tends to be focused more on a specific interaction. If you’d like more information on the distinction, blog/customer-experience-vs-customer-service/ covers this in greater detail.

Now that we understand the concept of custom experience, let’s look at how to improve it.

Understand Your Customers

A business that doesn’t understand its customers is one that won’t last long. For example, Blockbuster Video was a highly successful franchise that operated internationally.

Netflix then came up with a business model where clients could rent movies through a mail-order subscription service. At one point, Netflix’s owners offered to sell a 49% share of their company to Blockbuster for $50 million. At the time, Netflix wasn’t profitable, so Blockbuster turned them down.

It’s unfortunate that Blockbuster didn’t practice some foresight. Today, Netflix has a market capitalization of $271.05 billion, and Blockbuster is bankrupt. If the company had done some market research, they would’ve understood that their customers’ needs were changing.

Map the Customer Journey

You’ll need to identify every touch point your customer has with your brand. This starts with the initial interaction, when they become aware of it and continues past the time they make their last purchase.

It’s important to map the journey so that you can understand where bottlenecks might occur. You should also look for ways to simplify processes and make the customer’s journey easier.

It’s also good practice to re-evaluate the journey every 6 to 12 months to keep up with changing customer expectations.

Provide Personalized Experiences

Thanks to the software at our disposal, we have access to huge amounts of data. Thanks to artificial intelligence, we have the means to make sense of this information.

You can use both to your advantage to tailor offerings to individual customer preferences. This can include personalized recommendations, targeted marketing messages, and customized product or service offerings.

Streamline Processes

Look at novel ways to streamline processes. Ask your employees and customers for feedback and suggestions on how to do so. They may come up with ideas that you would never have thought of. You can do this at any point of the customer journey, from website navigation to in-store sales.

Focus on Customer Service

We did say at the beginning that you should focus more on the custom experience. However, you should not neglect customer service to do so. You should provide customer service training and resources to all your company representatives who may deal with clients.

Build Trust and Transparency

Sometimes, misunderstandings arise when customers don’t fully understand a process, policy, or pricing. You can reduce these occurrences and improve trust with your clients by being fully transparent about everything.

You should always address concerns and complaints promptly and aim to exceed your customers’ expectations.

Offer Omnichannel Support

Where do your customers hang out online? You need to have a presence in these areas so they can contact you on the platform that suits them best. Be available at a time convenient to them, even if this means using chatbots to deliver simple automated messages.

Innovate and Adapt

You need to keep abreast of industry trends, technological advancements, and changing customer expectations. You need to look at changes not only in your own industry but also in industries related to payments and other technologies.

For example, if your customers are using PayPal to pay for goods on other sites, they may expect you to offer it, too.

Conclusion

Improving the customer experience is an ongoing task. The steps we spoke about above are not a one-time deal. You want to re-evaluate them from time to time to ensure that they keep up with the latest industry trends and still meet your customers’ expectations.

It’s never good to become complacent. If you do, you could end up like Blockbuster.