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How Can Small Businesses Improve Customer Experience
When you’re managing a business, you can put all the time and effort into crafting the perfect product and marketing the heck out of it. All this energy will be wasted, however, if you don’t focus a little on your customer experience. The following will explore a few things you might want to think about if you’re looking to improve customer service. While the focus will be on steps, small businesses can take, much of the below information applies to larger businesses too.
What Is Customer Experience?
Sometimes referred to as CX, customer experience includes all the interactions a customer has with a business throughout the entire buying journey. This includes marketing, digital brand interactions, customer service, and everything in between. Every engagement between a customer (or a potential customer) and your brand is part of the customer experience.
This concept is particularly tricky to manage as it isn’t something that focuses on easily measurable things such as sales or return on investment. Customer experience contains the plethora of emotions that make up how a person feels about a given business. Each moment of interaction can help foster a positive customer experience or contribute to a declining opinion of your brand.
Why Is Customer Experience Important?
If a customer has a strong bond with your brand and a positive experience, they are far more likely to recommend your services to people they know as well as return to purchase from you again in the future. If the experience is negative, they might end the relationship before making a purchase, choose a competitor in the future, warn people against your services or leave a scathing review.
There’s a faulty sort of thinking that can develop given the way digital technology and the internet has expanded businesses that allows people to believe that a lost customer isn’t such a big deal—after all, there are billions more people on the planet with access to the internet and, therefore, your business. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While the internet has opened businesses up to more customers than ever before, it’s also brought people together into tight-knit communities. Individuals have platforms with more reach than ever before; If someone is speaking poorly of you online, there’s a good chance some people will take it seriously. Moreover, things posted online exist forever, which is radically more damaging than one person speaking poorly about your business in one neighborhood.
Find Tools for Customer Relationship Management
Given the importance of customer experience, many businesses aim to develop a system that can help them monitor customer relationships and make changes when necessary. The process typically revolves around collecting data about customer engagements (with permission, of course) and using that data to analyze where there is room for improvement or strengths that could be emphasized in marketing campaigns. Many businesses use software to help them handle this process; there are several free CRM solutions that can get you started. Of course, there are paid options as well.
The primary benefit of developing a customer relationship management system is that it allows you to learn about your customers and their experiences with you. You can also organize elements of your business around the customer experience, even automating certain processes. Optimizing the customer experience cannot occur unless you know what the customer experience is.
Improve Customer Experience by Communicating with The Customer
The world is filled with problems that need solving, and far too often, these problems are being looked at by the people who are not experiencing them. If you ask an academic professor what needs to be done to improve the quality of life of a farmer, they might have some data, but they’re not going to be able to give as detailed of a response as a farmer who is struggling to balance environmentalism with producing enough to keep her lights on. She might have a radically simple suggestion that could drastically alter her life that the academic might never think about. Of course, you want to be reading the latest research in organizational behavior and sociology, but you don’t want to accept the suggestions given without communicating with your customer. Your customer knows what their experience was. Your customers are individuals with real-world problems and worries. Never skip over asking the customer what they want or need when tacking customer experience.
Boost CX By Reading Reviews
Asking your current customers what they want, or need is the first step; reading through all reviews left about your business or product is the second one. Sometimes people are more honest when they feel the anonymity of the online review system. It can be hard to read reviews, and yes, sometimes there are people determined to have a bad day who have nothing but mean things to say about everything they encounter, but the majority of reviews are going to give you feedback that can be applied to your business, especially if the same comment is arising several times. If you need some emotional support while reading reviews, take a moment to read the reviews of your favorite book of all time. There are people who have given Lord of the Rings a one-star review filled with paragraphs of insults.
Positively Impact Customer Experience by Focusing On Employee Wellbeing
Customers are only half of the customer experience equation. Employees that are stressed, exhausted, beat down, unhealthy, or otherwise suffering are not going to have it in them to go the extra mile for a customer. Employees that are miserable aren’t going to see the point in going that extra mile, even if they have the energy to do it. Empower your employees and focus on employee satisfaction. Again, part of this process will include doing research on what can help employee satisfaction, but another part of the process involves actually asking your employees what will make their day better. You might find something as simple as moving the copier, so people don’t have to run down three flights of stairs every time they sign a document makes employees’ lives easier.
The above tips should help you learn to study and improve your customer experience. It’s important to note that people’s expectations change over time, and this means this process needs to be revisited regularly if you want to keep seeing positive results. It’s also vital that you do your due diligence and research how to keep any data you’ve been given by customers safe and secure; cybercrime is exploding at the moment and has been targeting smaller businesses.