We define customer experience as the complete end-to-end journey that a customer undertakes with an organisation. It is this series of cumulative touch points that defines a customer’s experience, regardless of whether the interactions occurred online, over the phone or in store/in person.
Why is customer experience important?
Customers form conclusions about a business based on these interactions. If a customer’s experience has been marred with delayed communication, inaccurate information, bad customer service or poor handling of a complaint, it is likely they will form a low opinion of your business.
This may breed negative word-of-mouth which can go “viral” particularly as social media provides customers with the real-time means in which to express their negative views of your business.
Thus your business should do all it can to keep each customer interaction positive.
So how do you improve overall customer experience?
Improving customer experience is easier than you think. Here are five things you can do today:
1. Get back to customer basics.
It doesn’t get any more basic than providing quality customer service but you’d be surprised how often businesses overlook this one simple thing.
If you reflect on your own experience, how many times have you bemoaned a restaurant/hotel/store for their lack of customer service, inattentiveness or disinterest?
So here are some things to consider:
- How do you/your employees greet customers on the phone/in person?
- Do you/your employees take the time to learn and address customers by name?
- Do you/your staff spend time with each customer?
- How open is your business to customer feedback?
- How long does it take to resolve customer complaints? Can this be improved?
- How do you address customer complaints – via phone or in writing?
Training your employees to value your customers and treat each one with respect will greatly improve customer experience and build loyalty.
2. Actively listen.
When your customers open up and talk, explaining their wants, desires or concerns, it is essential that you actively listen. Listening is a crucial first step in building trust with a customer. Remember seek first to understand. A customer can sense when you are merely “hearing” them or whether you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say.
If you have listened to your customer effectively, you will then be able to provide solutions that are in line with your customer’s expectations which enhances customer experience.
3. Aim to build relationships not one-off transactions.
Don’t treat your customers as though they are a one-off transaction. The point is to build long-term relationships in order to build customer loyalty. When a customer becomes a brand advocate they become a repeat purchaser, are more forgiving when issues arise, are the first to stand up for your business should you cop any heat, and positively influence others towards purchasing from your business.
4. Keep it simple.
The more touch points in a customer’s journey, the more complex it becomes and the greater the room for errors. Simplifying the process means that there is less chance of something “going wrong” for a customer. So make sure to review each part of your customer journey, identify areas of improvement and then fix anything that needs fixing.
5. Don’t delay, act swiftly.
The knee-jerk reaction to any customer complaint is to either avoid the problem or wait for the “right moment” in which to address it. This is foolish because the longer you wait to address a customer issue, the more time they have to stew over it and the bigger the problem becomes.
Even if all you can do is actively listen and say: “We’ll look into it and get back to you as soon as possible” approaching it this way improves customers experience and is preferable to what could happen if you pretend the problem didn’t exist.
At Mackenzie Jones, we understand that sometimes it’s not always the business’ fault when a customer’s experience starts off on the wrong foot. Take for instance the recruitment industry, the sector we specialise in. When we advertise a marketing position we often receive a high proportion of interest from candidates that are neither suited nor qualified for the role. This then leads to the time-consuming activity of sorting out the relevant job applicants from the unqualified ones.
So it’s probably at this point that we should also mention that customer experience is not just the responsibility of the business, but is in fact a shared responsibility. As a candidate, it is extremely important that you read the job advert before applying. Doing so means that you and everyone else receives a better customer experience because our consultants will have the time to focus on helping you instead of dealing with unqualified candidates.
For a marketing recruitment agency in the Middle East that places high priority on customer experience, choose Mackenzie Jones. To get in touch with me directly, email firstname.lastname@example.org