The customer experience encompasses every interaction that an individual has with your company, from researching your products online via your corporate website, to interacting with your sales and product representatives over the phone or in person. And all of these individual experiences add up to form a sort of aggregate summary or conclusion, made on the part of the consumer. They either enjoyed the experience on a whole, or they didn’t. Which outcome would you like your customers to have? The answer seems rather self-evident, doesn’t it? Of all the marketing strategies you and your team may be weighing, improving the customer experience may be one of the most important to your long-term success. Here’s how to do just that.
01. Embrace a Client-Oriented Corporate Philosophy
If you truly want to improve the customer experience, then you must put the client first. This must start from the ground up. Whether you are Director of Marketing at a SaaS organization or CEO of a services company focusing on business-to-business relations, ask yourself: Do we have the client’s best interests in mind? Everything from client communications to products and services should be tailored around the customer. Create products that provide genuine benefit. Communicate often. Form long-term relationships. Act in such a way that it is obvious to the client that you have its best interests in mind.
02. Make Service a Priority
One way your business can improve the customer experience is by providing customer service not just at the outcome of the buyer’s journey, but throughout the process. Too often, companies don’t lend the customer a helping hand until after they’ve signed on the dotted line or purchased the golden ticket. This is a mistake. Part of earning a customer’s trust is showing that you care about their needs, are available to help, and are always willing to go the extra mile if need be. By making yourself available not just to existing customers, but potential customers as well, you help foster a reputation for customer service and dependability.
03. Don’t Be Afraid of Old Fashioned Solutions
Yes, we’re talking about service centers, legacy CRMs, field operations (when and where applicable), and other so-called “offline” channels. When it comes to customer outreach and engagement, you should be taking an omnichannel approach. Remember, marketing strategies run the gamut, and you are going to have to wear multiple hats and explore multiple avenues to reach and communicate with your clientele. This includes old fashioned solutions. A call center may seem outdated but the fact is, many people still prefer to speak with an individual on the phone.
04. Don’t Forget About the Digital Experience
It’s true that old fashioned channels still play a role in marketing. And yet, to ignore digital would be downright negligent. For many, Twitter is the new go-to for voicing a complaint or seeking help. Use Twitter to monitor brand mentions and keywords to find service opportunities. Does your company make a software program used by industry professionals? If so, don’t force your users to submit queries and help tickets via email; engage your customers on Twitter instead with an active and knowledgeable social team. In today’s digital age, email might as well be snail mail. Timely responses keep customers happy, and happy customers are the only type of customers you want.
Why the Customer Experience Matters
The benefits of happy customers should not be underestimated. Particularly where the product or service provider (that means you) is often seen as a component of a larger whole, keeping on good terms with your clients can lead to long-lasting professional relationships.
If Sally with Company X knows that Bill from Company Y is communicative, helpful, and eager to lend a hand when necessary, and that Company Y provides a product or service that is helpful or beneficial in some way, she is likely to go to Bill for any and all matters that may require his help. If Bill is not these things – if he is hard to get a hold of, unpleasant, or generally unhelpful – then Sally is not only unlikely to go to Bill for help, she may seek out an alternative to Company Y.
This is why the customer experience matters. Because ultimately, the customer experience informs the customer’s decisions.