“Customer service shouldn’t just be a department; it should be the entire company” – Tony Hsieh (CEO, Zappos)
The modern consumer is a different kind of customer. They are educated and opinionated. This type of customer is not afraid to show it, or more importantly, share it.
In the past — customers would recommend or discourage patronage through word of mouth. That evolved into websites or search engines utilizing review or ratings sections. Today, social media has given every consumer a digital megaphone to share their experiences or opinions about your business.
This is why customer service and experience has made its way to the forefront of the most successful business models. It’s no surprise that Amazon’s shares rose a ridiculous 50% last year. Their continued focus on the customer has become more than just a mission, but a vision shared by every part of their organization.
Boosting the customer experience takes more than just a few training sessions and some customer-centric slogans thrown up on a wall. It takes a collective shift in how a company thinks about the customer.
Here are some ways to enhance your customer experience
Get to know your customers
This can seem obvious, but it is often ignored. Who are your customers? What are their needs? What are their experiences? Creating buyer personas is a great start if you want to get to know your customer.
Get to know your customer’s experience
Who knows the customer experience better than your customers? (Hint, it’s no one.) Feedback is important for improving customer satisfaction and overall experience. But it is equally valuable when creating an ideal customer experience. Creating a clear strategy for how you want your customers to feel is crucial when attempting to enhance the customer experience.
The omni-channel strategy elevates the customer experience. Traditional multi-channel models have failed to create a unified customer experience across all platforms.
Converting your efforts into an omni-channel experience ensures consistency and a more pleasurable environment for both your customers, and your employees.
Empower your customers
As previously stated, modern consumers are educated. And if they aren’t yet, they want to be. Providing valuable resources to help empower your customers fosters a stronger, more trusting relationship.
These resources also alleviate the possible stress your customers may face when attempting to contact agents to answer questions. Here are some ideas for the types of resources you can provide.
Pivot company culture
The customer service team is already wholeheartedly focused on the customer. But it takes more than just one department to enhance the customer experience.
You’ve heard the saying: “It takes an entire village to raise a child.”
Well, it takes an entire company to create a truly customer-centric environment. To stay ahead of the competition, you must shift the way all teams tackle problems and create solutions to a strategy that revolves around the customer
Data and analytics
Collect rich data about who your customers are and how they found your business. Analytics have become a powerful tool for measuring success. But these tools can also be used to better understand your customers and their needs.
How old are your customers? Where do they live? What are they interested in? What are their values? All of this information can help you create a more personalized and intimate customer experience.
Engage and reward customers
Social media isn’t just a place to share funny cat videos. It’s a platform for your business to illustrate a sense of connectedness to the customer.
Most people are fairly active on social media. Answering questions or interacting with people on these platforms is another way to keep the omni-channel model moving. Engaging the consumer at their level will also create trust and sense of humbled expertise.
How you engage with your audience depends on the social media strategy you want to implement. Businesses like Wendy’s and Denny’s have had immense success adopting a witty and informal approach to engaging with consumers. But it doesn’t take humor to succeed on social media. Simply being responsive and engaging will do wonders for the customer experience.
Gift customers or potential customers with free educational material. Reward active consumers or advocates with discounted or free products/services. Social influencers are also an extremely powerful tool. With the right strategy and forethought — rewarding powerful online figures with free products can open new markets.
The customer experience will continue to evolve
The nature of the customer experience has drastically changed over the past decade and successful businesses have changed along with it. As a more customer-centric world continues to grow, businesses have to adapt to meet customers at their level.
Yes, the customer experience is a cornerstone of today’s successful enterprises.
But managing the customer experience should live within your business, not devour it’s bottom line.
Outsourcing your contact-center can be a great solution. Omni-channel contact-centers can act as an extension of your team and your customer experience journey. Advanced technologies, actionable processes and engaged agents are at the focal point of these support centers. Just make sure you choose the right one.