Starting a business is hard. Keeping it thriving in uncertain times is even more difficult. An effective way of achieving that goal is through customer retention. Research consistently shows that the most effective way to retain customers is by offering a world-class customer experience (CX). Here are six critical strategies for creating a better experience for your customers.
1. Automate Business Processes
Every customer you have is on a journey with your brand. That journey has many stages, from initial awareness to purchase completion. Every segment of this trip can benefit from automation technology. Initial outreach via digital marketing channels like email and SMS can employ sales force automation and customer relationship management (CRM) software. You can use automated application performance monitoring tools for custom tracking and to boost user experience. Project management tools can connect remote sales teams. Even deliveries can be made smoother by digital tools like an address validation API. Shop around for tools that might fit your business processes.
2. Develop an Omnichannel Strategy
Research shows that customers want options when it comes to touchpoints. Traditionally, marketing has utilized a multichannel approach. With multichannel marketing, advertisements and offers are delivered across multiple channels (such as email, text, and social media) to guide the customer toward a purchase decision.
In contrast, omnichannel outreach is about providing differing content through interconnected channels. On TikTok, they might see a product used, while on YouTube, they can watch an instructional video with detailed information. The omnichannel strategy is fundamentally about tailoring the message to the medium to make the brand experience more engaging.
3. Deliver Better Customer Service
A study commissioned by software company Zendesk found a fascinating statistic: Over 40% of customers spent more money with a brand following good customer service. A major complication is that many companies don’t understand what consumers expect of customer service. Similar research has revealed that phone, email, and live chat top the list of U.S. consumer preferences. In other words, customer service is one process best handled with a human element. The options do require more time and resources than automated systems like a conversational chatbot. That said, the payoff in customer satisfaction might well be worth it.
4. Have a Meaningful Brand
Every business needs to be about something more than making money. One study in Forbes magazine showed that 88% of consumers want companies to help them “make a difference” in the world. This concept might sound nebulous, but that means businesses have a range of choices in terms of meaningful impact. Many entrepreneurs engage in philanthropy because it’s a way of doing something objectively good while staying above the political fray. Whichever direction you go, endeavor to make your ethics an integral and visible part of your brand identity.
5. Personalize the Experience
Each customer’s interaction with your brand is unique because they are unique. Customer service is only the beginning of crafting a positive customer experience. Implementing a loyalty reward program is an often-suggested first step. Use data about past purchases to inform the choice of offers you send to them. Regular (but not too constant) contact via email or text with customers lets them know you value their patronage. Maintaining this contact throughout the entire life cycle of their relationship with your brand is equally important. By earning loyalty this way, you turn customers into brand advocates.
6. Improve Employee Morale
A recent survey within the hospitality industry found a direct correlation between employee attitude and customer satisfaction. Callous, dismissive team members will ruin the customer experience quickly. The attitudes of employees are driven in large part by their morale. Defusing conflicts, facilitating communication, and incentivizing success is the constant work of successful management. Communicating and reinforcing a collective company vision is equally important. No intelligent worker will stay at a job they don’t believe in. Anonymous surveys are one way of gauging potential concerns, but observation and empathy are the most valuable tools.
Every customer should walk away happy with the experience they had with your company. Keeping these strategies in mind is step one in building a better relationship with your target audience.