The customer is always right. There are no two ways around this idiom and the customer experience should be the focal point of every decision you make for your business.
Customers are the life-blood of your company; protect and cater for their every needs and they will give you back loyalty and the cash to keep you successful.
The problem with this digital society we live in is that news travels quickly and bad publicity and customer anecdotes travels just as fast. You need to stay on your toes and keep up with the changing landscape of customer expectations and the experience that you can offer.
Take a minute to put yourself in the shoes of a customer who is having their first interaction with your business. When you start and run a business, life can move quickly and the blinders will inevitably come up to block your sight as your horse bolts out the gate. How do you think your customer sees your brand? Is there anything you can do to change that?
Luckily for you, we have some tips to help you improve your customer experience.
Service with a smile?
This is a tricky line to walk when it comes to customer service. I know that I will be immediately put off if a staff member appears too over-friendly, but the first human interaction between customer and staff member can make all the difference between a purchase and a lost opportunity.
Train your staff in the difficult skill of being warm and welcoming, ready to assist at a moments notice, but subtle and peripheral so as not to be overbearing. If you run a retail store for instance, a smile and a greeting at the door is always welcome, but being watched and followed by an over-eager assistant can be an unnecessary distraction.
Studies show that customers appreciate a community feel in their shops and that can be extended across all touch-points between you and the customer. A friendly, easy to use website or a subtle and warm email or phone call can set you off on the right foot to secure that sale.
Cut down on the queue
It may well be a stereotype of the Great British way of life but Brits really do hate standing in queues, particularly now that there are so many options to cut down on the habit of British culture.
Research finds that consumers dislike any more than five people in front of them and it is now regarded as totally unacceptable by three quarters of the population, with some 48 per cent simply giving up and leaving. A damning verdict by the British public and something that all businesses need to pay attention to.
Many customers are still pretty patient with their experience, willing to wait on average seven minutes in a queue, but why risk losing a customer? The future is within touching distance, with businesses like Amazon and Barclaycard experimenting with Pay&Go ’till-less’ shops and Pocket Checkout; allowing you to scan your items on your phone as you walk through the shop, seamlessly having your card charged as you exit the store. This tech is worth investing in if you want to be seen to be looking out for the consumer demand for tech-savvy shops.
This also works for online interactions. Nobody likes to wait and queuing online goes against the inherently speedy and accessible nature of having a website to sell to customers. Cut down on your wait times and see your sales go up.
Get to know the habits
Familiarity and understanding are part and parcel of the relationship between consumer and business. Creating a culture where your customers come to expect certain things from your brand because you have taken the time to learn what they want.
Speed and convenience are the order of the 21st century, with the old fashioned brick and mortar stores suffering at the hands of the smartphone. Take the time to appreciate that customers are becoming more aware of the cutting edge technology available to them and are eager to use this technology at every possible moment, particularly if it is going to make their shopping experience more enjoyable.