What is one way to improve the customer experience at a small to midsize business?
To help you improve the customer experience at your small to midsize business, we asked business professionals and leaders this question for their insights. From mapping out the customer journey to getting insights from online reviews, there are several ways to improve your customers’ experience.
Here are 14 strategies you can use to improve your customers’ experience:
- Map Out the Customer Journey
- Provide Adequate Team Training
- Understand of Customer Pain Points
- Gather Insights from Customer Feedback
- Introduce Customer Loyalty Programs
- Have a Personal Touch
- Improve Online User Experience
- Create a Positive Work Environment
- Pay Attention to Online Reviews
- Make Customers Feel Welcomed
- Be Honest and Transparent
- Create a Customer Feedback Systems
- Personalize Your Communication
- Stand Out with Thank You Notes
Map Out the Customer Journey
One of the leading causes of a negative customer experience is failure to plan for unforeseen circumstances. If your company does not have the necessary systems or contingencies in place when things go wrong, it might leave the customer feeling frustrated and confused with the lack of clarity. This could drive customers away and tarnish your company’s reputation.
To improve the customer experience, map out the customer journey from start to finish. Journey mapping helps you identify potential issues, opportunities, and pitfalls throughout the process of interaction. For example, after a customer purchases a product from your store, this would be a good opportunity to give them tracking information so they know the progress of their order. This avoids pitfalls which may present if customers don’t know whether their order has been received. By mapping out the journey, you can plan ahead of time to ensure a positive customer experience.
Jerry Han, PrizeRebel
Provide Adequate Team Training
To improve the customer experience, you’ll want to ensure that each and every member of your team truly understands your business and industry, and is trained to provide extensive information to your customers. There are few things that can alienate a customer more than lack of information, and when they can’t gain it from a trusted source, it can be even more off-putting.
Invest time in mentoring your employees and teaching them about all aspects of your business. Find ways to test a team member’s knowledge before putting them in a position that will require them to answer questions, explain your offerings, speak to your success, and provide valuable insights. After all, each team member is a representation of your brand and you only get one first impression!
Greg Gillman, MuteSix
Understand of Customer Pain Points
Small and midsize businesses have the advantage of more direct contact with the customer and between different business functions. This can be leveraged to provide much better service based on a more thorough understanding of the context in which the customers operate. In practice, it can mean assessing their needs in many dimensions with the involvement of several teams or different specialists. It can also be a single point of contact for all customer queries or making adjustments to fit their needs better.
Michael Sena, SENACEA
Gather Insights from Customer Feedback
Gathering customer feedback on your product or service provides valuable insights. Slack enables us to create channels specific to our B2B or B2C clients where gift organizers can send a link to their recipients, inviting them to leave feedback about their snack box and how easy it is to order one. These dedicated feedback channels allow us to track customers’ experiences with our product and service so that we can improve our growing snack and gift selections, as well as optimize our website.
Shaunak Amin, SnackMagic
Introduce Customer Loyalty Programs
Lifetime customers are arguably the most important customers for your business so it’s only fair that you build a program that facilitates and urges your current customers to keep coming back. Rewarding them via an attractive customer loyalty program is a great starting point. However, in order for it to work effectively, you need to delve into the buying habits of your audience so that your program is personalized to their interests.
Philipp Zeiske, Zeitholz
Have a Personal Touch
We at Synder, believe that human contact and personal customer service support is vital to ensuring customer experience is the best it can be. Taking on the feedback of our customers and actively seeking their feedback can help to streamline and improve customer experience in all areas of the business, after all it is the customer who knows best what is most helpful for them. Ensuring there is a dedicated person/team responsible for responding to and assisting with any issues that arise will help to solve problems more quickly and, hopefully, result in better relationships and understanding between the customers and staff.
Michael Astreiko, Synder
Improve Online User Experience
With mobile devices making up the majority of sessions, it’s critical to keep your storefront mobile-friendly so customers can buy on the go. Many agile firms use a responsive design, in which the page instantly adjusts from desktop-optimized layouts to mobile-optimized layouts when the browser window shrinks, rather than constructing costly mobile applications that are difficult to manage on top of an eCommerce website. This helps businesses to give the optimal user experience on both platforms, rather than catering to one at the expense of the other, in addition to enhancing their search rankings. For example, the desktop experience might include all the bells and whistles, whereas the mobile experience can streamline and remove non-essential elements across category, product, and checkout pages. As a result, customers enjoy the most optimized experience for each device as they use it throughout the day.
Veronica Miller, VPNOverview
Create a Positive Work Environment
Improving the customer experience is often looked at as an external activity, however, one of the most effective methods to accomplish this is to examine and focus on improving the internal process, meaning the employee environment. A team that feels supported and enjoys their work, will inevitably transfer their enthusiasm to the customers. Creating incentives, having an effective employee recognition program, listening to their feedback, and making sure your managers are available to help when needed, will ensure a staff with a positive outlook, and one that is willing to go above and beyond for the customer. Having a well-trained and appreciated team is the first item any small business should concentrate on to better their customer experience.
Cody Candee, Bounce
Pay Attention to Online Reviews
Look at your online reviews to see what your customers really think. Learn what you can from these comments so that you can keep doing what has been working and improve upon what has been lacking or deficient. Furthermore, take the time to respond to any complaints brought forth in these online reviews in order to let these unhappy customers know that you understand their concerns and take them seriously.
Schuyler Hoversten, Swoopt
Make Customers Feel Welcomed
As a small-to-midsize business, providing a great customer experience is contingent on your ability to communicate with customers and provide support when needed. Against major retailers and industry giants like Amazon, a lack of internal resources will present one of your greatest challenges in retaining customers and reducing turnover. However, this does not mean that you can’t compete for – and win – your customers’ loyalty.
While you can’t always compete with major players on sheer size or economies of scale, you can certainly provide a more personal customer experience. What gives you the edge is your ability to make the customer feel welcomed, appreciated, and heard. Thank them personally for their patronage and make yourself and your team available in the event that they need you. To contend with time zone challenges, look to induct support representatives from across the world. That way, you’ll ensure that the customer experience is both positive and consistent.
Gregory Yong, Convincely
Be Honest and Transparent
Being honest and transparent with your customers is going to improve the customer experience ten fold. We all know that the smaller the company/business, the longer things typically take to get done because we only have so many hands to complete things. Being transparent with your customers about timelines it will take, can save headaches down the road and ultimately lead to them understanding the business model and improving how they view you!
McKenzie Nelson, Markitors
Create Customer Service Feedback Systems
Whether positive or negative, it’s imperative that you understand how customers feel when interacting with your business. Simply by keeping a pulse on where things could be improved, you can ensure that your business continues to innovate in line with your competitors. As a small to midsize business with limited intel, this information can make a world of difference. Without it, you won’t be able to respond in time if problems arise. With it, you’ll know exactly what changes must be made to satisfy your audience.
There are a number of ways to create a customer feedback system. You could send out monthly surveys inviting customers to share their feedback, set up a live chat so customers can communicate with you directly, or even establish a community-led forum for your customers to speak with one another about change they’d like to see. Each of these approaches give customers an opportunity to share their thoughts and play an active role in the direction of your company.
Tina Hawk, GoodHire
Personalize Your Communication
Businesses that focus on the customer experience will always see more success, however, those that personalize their communication to each individual, will ensure a trust that can have a more dramatic and positive effect. By taking the extra step to reach out and acknowledge important life events such as birthdays, anniversaries, and remembrances, a strong bond can be created. Even customizing marketing that highlights sales items based on their previous purchases, demonstrates an attention to their personal tastes and lets them know you care. By personalizing the communication and not just taking a broad approach, you will better enhance the overall customer experience, and form lasting relationships.
Adelle Archer, Eterneva
Stand Out with Thank You Notes
Most companies now entirely depend on electronic communication for customer outreach. This has led to the average office worker receiving between 120 and 150 emails per day. However, this has also created an opportunity in the old-fashioned mailbox as the average person now only receives between 3 and 4 handwritten pieces per month. By sending your message in a way others are not, you are sure to stand out.
Furthermore, handwritten notes connote a personal feel and harken back to a time when relationships matter. By thanking customers for their purchases via handwritten notes, your message will not only get read (as handwritten notes have a much higher open and read rate compared to email) but will also be considered highly personal. We have seen our clients generate terrific results just by sending simple thank you notes to clients.
David Wachs, Handwrytten