Customer Experience Featured Article

Putting Good Customer Experience into Practice

November 24, 2014

There’s a lot of talk about how businesses can no longer sit on their laurels when it comes to pleasing the customer; one of the hottest business buzz words these days is the “customer experience,” which just means that businesses need to ensure that the process of buying and using a company’s products and services be as pleasing as the actual products and services themselves.

The talk about customer experience is not just a business fad, however; social media has fundamentally changed the relationship between businesses and customers, as customers now not only can pivot easily to the competition, but also voice their displeasure when they are unhappy with an experience. This also has changed consumer expectations so a good customer experience is expected from most customers.

For businesses—especially small business—this can sound hard. What exactly does it mean to deliver a good customer experience, and what concrete steps can businesses take to reach this objective?

While the possibilities are endless, and companies can get quite elaborate in their quest to fulfill the customer, there are a handful of concrete steps that businesses big or small can take to bring customers that coveted quality customer experience.

First among these concrete steps is communicating with the customer. Far too many businesses think about customer interactions as only happening when a purchase is being made, an issue arises, or a marketing message is ready for dissemination. Consumer are more used to constant interaction via social media, however, and one of the best ways to deliver a good customer experience is to have ongoing interaction with the customer.

Social media and email can deliver more than just a targeted marketing push; it also nowadays can serve as a connection between businesses and customers, and savvy businesses are communicating even when not pushing a product or service. They are humanizing their brands.

Getting personal also is a good way that businesses create a positive customer experience. This extends beyond basics like knowing the customer’s previous order history and name. It also can and should extend to predicting what other services and products the customer might want. Anticipating customer needs in a non-invasive way definitely serves as a customer-pleaser; we all want to go where people know our names and needs.

Loyality programs, if done right, are a third way that businesses can give a good customer experience. Loyalty programs should be about more than just data mining, however; they principally need to focus on giving the customer something extra for being a part of the company’s community. This can be perks, discounts or special info. The key is focusing on what the customer gets, not on the advantages for your business.

Let’s not forget that customers are human, too. That means they, on balance, like constant stimulation. So another solid way to boost the customer experience is through new messages, services and updates. Keep your business fresh. Otherwise, customers will get bored and tired. Keep them engaged.

While there are of course many ways to deliver a good customer experience, start with these basics and the battle will be at least half won already.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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