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Want to improve customer experience cost-effectively? Here are the tips

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Going by the fact that companies that deliver great customer experiences enjoy higher retention rates, higher brand value and higher stock prices due to consumer goodwill

For any business to be both successful and sustainable in the long run, the key lies in these two words: Customer Experience.

“Customer experience is made up of so many factors, but ultimately it simply boils down to being solely about the customer. The focus is to make their experience a positive one from the moment they first encounter your business to the moment they either move away or place their 100th order. Along the way, you can do a lot for them by simply putting yourself in their shoes,” says Brian Sutter, a specialist in the field of sales and Marketing, along with customer services.

Now in this copy, we will talk about the ways in which businesses can improve their performances in the customer experience front, that too without hurting their purses much. Does focussing on improving customer experience matter? Yes, going by the fact that companies that deliver great customer experiences enjoy higher retention rates, higher brand value and higher stock prices due to consumer goodwill.

Be Friendly And Honest

“I’m sure you’ve walked into stores, restaurants, or offices where people were personable and happy. You have also probably walked into places where they were clearly unhappy, and it affected your experience with the business,” says Sutter.

So what does that mean? Even when decorated with posh furniture, a business establishment, where staffers are tense and defensive is not a nice place to be for the customers. On the other hand, a not-so-good-looking facility can still cheer its customers up with a jolly voice saying “Hello! What can I do for you?”

So the message is loud and clear here: create an environment within your establishment where your employees practice positivity. A hospitable bunch of staff will make people forget about spending the extra bit of money.

Also, train your staff to manage customers’ expectations about how their support experience will play out to avoid frustration down the road. Let’s explain this point further. Brian Reuter, former director of customer success at Zendesk, believes that it’s best to tell customers when they can expect to hear back from the company, during the customer support moments.

“If you send an email to my support team or my success team, and I give you an immediate response that says, ‘We typically get back to customers within four hours,’ you’re much less likely to get frustrated,” says Reuter.

In the fast-paced 21st century, customers expect immediate replies to their concerns/queries and a business needs to train its staff to handle this urgency in an utmost friendly, proactive and honest manner.

“A customer might expect a reply immediately and become annoyed the longer they wait. Send automatic emails establishing clear timelines for support responses, and tell on-hold callers how many customers are ahead of them or how long they may need to wait. If you have to get back to someone with a follow-up call or email, let them know when they can expect an update,” Reuter commented further.

Empower Your Employees

American Entrepreneur and investor Timothy Ferriss, in his book “The 4-Hour Workweek,” has described how he got out of the day-to-day management of his vitamin business and dramatically improved the customer experience by giving his employees authority to fix certain things on the spot. Employees were allowed to authorise any action that cost the company less than USD 100, as long as it made the customer happy.

The lesson learnt here: empower your staffers to make decisions on the go that will benefit themselves and the company. Not only will their leadership skills improve, but they will also feel emotionally invested in their company.

If your staffers want to keep the store open 15 minutes longer so a customer can pick something up, place a special order, or even wrap a gift, let them do it if they are professional and proactive enough. If these extra efforts are making the customers happy, it will boost your business prospects and brand value further.

Ask Your Employees To Engage With Customers

When it comes to gathering customer feedback, the prevalent practice among businesses is to commission studies by outside agencies. However, it can be avoided, since your staff can gather most of the insightful data by proactively engaging with the customers. They can learn about the common customer complaints, and the main reasons customers churn. So, you should instruct your employees to gather qualitative customer feedback on a regular basis.

“Your customer-facing teams are going to have a good feel for what the biggest customer pain points are. Do a stand-up and ask, what the worst part of our customer experience is?” says Dave Dyson, manager of community engagement at Zendesk.

“The problem may not have an easy fix, but talking to your team can at least help you understand what’s really at stake and what must be done about it. Of course, it’s important that you follow through—either by acting on your agents’ advice or informing them why you’re not able to implement changes at the moment. Your team needs to know that you value their opinion and appreciate their insights,” Zendesk commented further.

Keep Things Clean

First impressions and face value matter. Having clean windows, clean counters, and orderly spaces helps businesses not only look neat and nice, it also improves customers’ perception of the place by leaps and bounds. Add an energetic and hospitable bunch of staffers, and overnight, the brand value achieves newer heights.

And yes, keeping the place clean doesn’t cost much effort. For example, if you are running departmental stores, put an instruction for your employees to keep things clean and organised before and after the operational hours.

Work On Your Visibility

It’s 2024, and you still don’t have a basic website for your business? This is a big mistake for several reasons: You are making it difficult for people to learn about your business, neglecting the most effective marketing tactic, and, last but not least, giving your competitors an edge in terms of overall visibility.

Tech-savvy customers now prefer smartphone-friendly websites over fancy or expensive ones. More than half of a business’s visitors will access its website from a mobile device. In terms of online visibility, it’s important to be listed on Google Maps and other relevant platforms.

On the above point, United Kingdom-based software firm BrightLocal states, “Around 34% of consumers think a smart website gives a local business more credibility.”

Get your official pages on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter) as well. While you have to pay money to X for this activity, on Facebook, it’s free. So the final choice is up to you, but the message here is that: give utmost priority towards the task of having a prominent presence in the social media space.

Also, try to include some basic artificial intelligence-powered elements like chatbots. In fact, chatbots will help your business to stay in touch with your customers 24*7, answering and attending to their concerns immediately.

“If your business is still on the fence about the benefits, you may be missing out on a big opportunity to provide excellent CX. Roughly one in five business leaders say they get a ‘very high’ return on investment from using AI or automation,” says Zendesk.

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