You may think sales are the most important part of the business.
Who can blame you?
Everyone’s constantly parroting lines like “always close the sale,” but the sale is only one step in a cycle that keeps lifetime customers. A sale is one metric in measuring the full customer experience, which also includes how a customer perceives your communications, engages with your team, and even uses the products afterward. If sales were all that mattered, why does everything you buy come with a warranty? Harvard Business Review’s research shows investing in new customers is up to 35 times more expensive than keeping existing customers.
Follow these five steps to strengthen your customer experience framework, improve your brand, and provide world-class service to your customers from start to finish.
Look around you – everyone’s playing on their phones while working on their computers. Econsultancy found over 40% of online adults are multi-device users.
Not only are we using multiple devices, but we have multiple social media accounts. Hootsuite estimates the average American has 7.1 social media accounts, and Zendesk found 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience.
Always assume customers standing in your store have already viewed your website. Also assume they will pull out their mobile phones to scan products for pricing information, text friends, post pictures and videos of your store on social media, and check out your competitors.
It’s more important than ever to adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy. Whether it’s chatbots or humans, customers should be able to contact you via email, phone, in-person, social media, text, or even by leaving an online review and get the same response.
An average of $62 billion is lost each year to poor customer service. Companies like Walmart and Amazon scale effectively because they provide repeatable, quality experiences. Quality must be implemented throughout your entire supply chain to be effective.
Read the lengthy quality standards Amazon adopted for its suppliers (and its seller's guidelines) to ensure quality throughout its supply chain. Walmart partnered with IBM on blockchain technology to trace food in its stores from farm to store.
These companies do that because today’s customers often scan a QR code on a product to obtain instant seed-to-table information. Your customer service agents need to be just as quick.
Accenture research shows 74% of consumers want more transparency in product sourcing, policy enforcement, and other issues. This is the quality standard of today’s consumer expects. If you don’t provide it, 63% will avoid you, no matter how much you smile.
The top reason customers abandon you for a competitor is feeling unappreciated. Everyone wants to feel like brand loyalty is reciprocated. Making customers feel appreciated means treating each of them as individual people – rather than mere numbers.
Emails should be addressed to personal names, not “Sir and/or Madam” or some other generic response. Services like MailChimp have too many templates to automate personalization for anyone to be sending generic emails. This goes for social media too.
Approximately 2.5 billion consumers already use digital assistants around the world, and companies from Dominos to Bank of America implemented chatbots across their social media, chats, texts, and other platforms. Casper’s Insomnobot 3000 is particularly innovative, as it literally chats with customers unable to sleep on their mattress late at night.
No matter where your customer is contacting you, it’s important to be empathetic. An American Express survey found 62% of customers appreciated a company representative because of knowledge or resourcefulness. These consumers will then spend 17% more with a company – and that is not as easy to achieve as it sounds.
Every employee, human and bot have the same resources available, but they all need to understand the context to use them right. The only way you’ll understand what a customer needs is by listening to the customer.
The more a customer feels like someone is listening, the happier they’ll be to open up and continue talking. They’ll even continue the conversation with their friends and family – becoming brand advocates for you.
If you haven’t already figured it out by now, technology is extremely important in today’s customer service environment. The tools are all available, but everyone starts at different points.
Creating a business account on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is just the start. You should also use apps like Hootsuite just to manage your social media. Then, there are bots to implement and monitor social media and websites.
Consider outsourcing customer service to an agency that specializes in today’s technologies.
It’s easy to get caught up in sales-focused numbers and graphs. Sales are important, but the only way you’re going to increase them is by improving your customer experience.
This takes more than a smile (although a smile is also required). Today’s consumer demands instant, personal service on all channels always. If your brand doesn’t provide it, the next brand will.