5 tips for the ultimate customer experience.
Let’s face it, when it comes to customer experience, we all dream of being the Amazon of our field. Hang on to that dream. Your vision of creating truly world-class customer engagement for your company is not that far-fetched at all. It may seem daunting, no, impossible, at first. But with the following five steps, a bit of support and (a lot of) determination, you can do it! Every interaction that your customer has with your organisation, its product or its service shapes the customer experience. And it’s up to you to you determine how smooth, pleasant or delightful that interaction is. Yes, customer experience is a choice that you, the marketer, must make. And with these five tips, an Amazon-level user experience is within your reach.
1. Know where to improve.
Start with the basics. When planning to enhance your customer engagement, the first step is to map everything that influences your customer’s experience of your organisation or brand. Think like your customer. Become your customer. Feel their journey. Share their expectations. Live their experiences. Who are they, what do they think, what do they do, what do they believe?
One of the ways you can really get to know your customer is through persona research. In fact, this is an important starting point for all your marketing activities. Just bear in mind that routine behaviour is notoriously difficult to capture. Often, not even the customer is aware of his or her conduct. Think: habitual or ritual or even sub-consciously performed, everyday actions. It might therefore become difficult for marketers to draw a comprehensive picture of the particular persona.
A good alternative or complementary solution? Get out of here! Go on a customer safari! Leave the comfort of your desk. Escape that ivory tower. Talk to your customers. Work the floor of the store. Observe those shoppers, listen to them, call them, visit them. See, listen and experience what they experience. This is incredibly valuable. Tap into the accumulated wisdom of your Sales and Service colleagues. They interact with your customers daily – on the phone, on social media, or face-to-face. They know exactly what your customers are up against. What they want. What they need. And that’s exactly what you want to know.
2. Focus on small changes.
Change does not just happen as a matter of course. It takes energy, self-reflection, critical assessment and analysis. It is difficult. Actually, change is not in our nature. We often actually like the status quo (or we are blissfully comfortable in it), so we are not inclined to change. We only willingly undergo change if the “pain” of change will be less than the “agony” that we’ll experience by continuing the status quo. Some examples of the agony that may be caused by continuing things as they are: Are you receiving complaints more often, is it becoming increasingly difficult to get leads, or is your Net Promoter Score (and therefore customer loyalty) going down? Then you know it’s time to make a conscious choice. Something has to change.
Luckily, a radical change of tack is often not necessary. It’s the little things that make the difference. Realise that your umpteenth repeat of an activation or some or other interaction may be a completely new experience for your client. One that is special to them. Therefore, get busy with consciously creating a positive experience for your customers every day. Help them. Guide them. Because when a customer enters your world for the first time, they may need some hand-holding, reassurance or encouragement. The quality of that experience is crucial: it will determine whether they feel OK to stay with you and be loyal to your brand, or whether they will leave.
3. Exceed your client’s expectations – not your own.
If you choose to follow tip number 1, you’ll know what your customers need or expect during every moment of contact. Now you can investigate, analyse and approach these moments with more precision, more intentionally. Realise that by doing just a little bit more, making the moment just a little more special, you are already delighting your customer with a positive experience. Don’t overdo it initially. Take baby steps at first. If you go all out right away, it might be difficult to outshine yourself during the next interaction. However, if you’re feeling confident, and want to achieve a huge instant advantage over your competitors, take the leap. Go for it – your customers will love you for it!
4. (Don’t) do something with your data.
Your client sees your organisation as a whole. Your customer does not look at your different silos, systems, ideas, objectives, etc. For example, if your customer contacts Customer Service in the morning to complain about a product, and then visits your website, it would be bad timing and an embarrassing gaffe for Sales to call this customer later during that day to follow up on the product that he or she had viewed on the website that morning. Irritation is the last thing you want to achieve.
Therefore, look at how you can share available data throughout your organisation and use it in a relevant way. Personalise your interactions, not because it’s technically possible, but because you have to. However, personalise only if it will add value. If your personalisation is not leading to better interactions, more rewarding support for your customer, or higher conversions, then perhaps leave things as they are. We often see cases where personalisation goes too far and loses its authenticity. That is when the act of personalisation has become a digital trick. Your customer understands this and drops out. Stay human, also digitally! Trust your gut feel. And use your data wisely.
5. Consider complaints as gifts.
Of course, not everything goes 100% first time around. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. What matters to your customers is how you handle those mistakes. Be honest. Take complaints seriously. Communicate openly and proactively about them. Fix them. Lifelong ambassadors guaranteed! People simply tend to talk more about negative issues and how they have been resolved, rather than discussing the good service they usually receive from you.
By the way, errors can also provide valuable feedback. For example, something recently went wrong with a company and their email welcoming campaign. Instead of the planned one week’s lapse between each of the three emails, all three were sent in one millisecond. A fourth email soon followed, in which the company openly admitted the error. Against all expectations, the responses received from customers were very positive. They indicated that they did not mind, because they now had all the information in one go! The error had therefore led to valuable new insights. These insights could in turn be used for a new A/B split test. Win win!
That’s it! Five tips to get you onto the road to awesome customer engagement. Do you have any tips that we should share? Let us know!