By: Act! Blog | 10/05/2017
If you want to grow your business, it's essential to continuously be moving forward, always innovating. A large part of this has to do with enhancing customer experience (CX). This is a broad term that refers to the totality of what people experience along the buyer/customer journey, from the first time they hear about your business to the moment they make a purchase (and beyond). Improving the customer experience is more than simply offering quality products and providing reliable support, though both of these aspects are certainly critical to your success. If you want to offer a memorable experience to customers, you need to know them well and anticipate their needs and wants. Let's look at some creative ways to enhance customer experience so your business stands out.
Solicit and Listen to Feedback - Especially Criticism
Reviews and ratings are more important than ever for managing your business's reputation. However, customer comments aren't only essential for marketing purposes. They provide you with valuable insights into what you're doing well and where you need improvements. That's why it's vital to pay particular attention to complaints. No one likes criticism but when you own a business, your critics are actually doing you a favor (unless they're just trolling you for the sake of it). Aside from public reviews, make it a point to solicit comments. Place polls and surveys on your website and social media pages. Pose questions and ask for suggestions. Most of all, pay close attention to what your customers say and look for patterns.
Track Trends and News in Your Industry
If you want to offer your customers the best possible experience, you have to know what's going on in your industry. This includes your competition as well as emerging trends such as technological advances. These days, innovation happens quickly and you don't want to get left behind. If you see a close competitor offering a new product or service, it's worth investigating. You don't necessarily want to jump on every new bandwagon. Not everything is a good fit for your business. However, you do want to be aware of changes and innovations so you can implement ones that help you enhance customer experience.
Get Everyone on Board with Your CX Strategy
One characteristic of a company with a successful approach to CX is that everyone, from customer service reps to the CEO is part of the effort. Since customer experience refers to people's comprehensive experience when interacting with you, it's crucial not to overlook anything. A good example of a company where everyone understands and practices a shared culture is the online shoe company Zappos. The list of Zappos core values includes embrace change, create fun and a little weirdness, and pursue growth and learning. All employees are required to sign a document promising to abide by these values. These somewhat quirky values work well for Zappos and might not be appropriate for everyone. The point is that you want to think carefully about what your business stands for and make sure everyone shares these values and puts them into practice daily.
Show Your Appreciation
Appreciating your customers is one of the most important principles for improving CX. If you want your customers to truly feel appreciated, you have to go beyond automated thank you emails for online sales or employees at brick and mortar businesses saying "have a nice day" as customers leave the store. Look for ways to truly make your customers feel special. Loyalty programs and special discount coupons reward customers who shop with you regularly.
It's especially memorable to show appreciation in ways that showcase individual customers. For example, feature customers' photos, videos, or other creative efforts on your social media pages. Handwritten thank you notes accompanying online orders are a nice touch. Another way to make customers feel appreciated is to meet with them in person and listen to their suggestions. Live online chats are often more practical than in-person meetings.
These are some considerations to keep in mind as you look for ways to upgrade your CX strategy. While it's important to listen to customers' comments and complaints, also keep in mind that people won't always tell you about areas that need improvement. In some cases, customers aren't aware of what makes for great CX. It's up to you to look for ways to provide customers with a great experience so they keep returning.