You may have noticed, but the expectations of your customers rarely stay on the same level. Be it cost, the quality of the product or service you offer, a combination of cost and quality, or the precise functions that your product or service offers, the desires of your customers are continually evolving. As a company, you simply cannot afford to stand still.
What are customers actually looking for?
This is a vital question. And the answer may be somewhat of a surprise. Of course, the value and quality are still important considerations, but the majority of customers state that they would prefer another company it offered a better user experience.
As a company, how do you continuously provide a better user experience?
Quality user experience is not the same today as it was yesterday. And it won’t be the same tomorrow. The point is, it is evolving at breakneck speed, so the easy answer is to continuously monitor your customers’ expectations. But to do this, you need a dedicated team for this very activity, and you need specialized customer service software and metrics systems that can adequately measure the data that you need.
And how do you keep up in these fast-changing times?
This is no easy conundrum to solve because there is no simple, single solution. Instead, you must factor in a combination of approaches, starting with…
Perform adequate research
- Who is your audience?
- What does your audience want?
- What are your audience’s expectations?
If you do not know the answer to any of these three questions, then something is wrong. These are perhaps the three most important questions any business can ask itself, and as customer expectations are constantly emerging, so you must continue asking yourself these questions, never being truly satisfied with the answers. Using surveys and through monitoring your users’ activity when they visit your site you must periodically review whether your company’s answers to these questions change.
1. Personalize your delivery
Is your delivery the same for every customer? Do you send out the same marketing emails, do you contact them the same way, do you send everyone the same offers, no matter what their previous purchasing history? If the answer to any or all of these questions is ‘yes’, then you are once again stumbling in one of the most important aspects of the meeting, or even exceeding, customer expectations.
Employ personalized loyalty schemes, tailor your offers based on history, personalize communication. Make every customer feel special. It’s not what you ought to do, it’s what you have to do, to stay afloat in today’s market.
If you send your customer an offer that seems tailored for them, like a birthday voucher via email, they are substantially more likely to complete a purchase, if they feel like there is a good reason for it like this and if they feel like they are getting a good deal.
2. Successfully turn your customers into promoters
One look at social media tells you all you need to know: businesses that exceed customer expectations are no longer just businesses to those customers, but at the object of affection. They are something that people talk about, share, promote. Be something more to your customers.
When Starbucks began writing their customers’ names on their orders, the customers felt more valued as individuals visiting a chain, which greatly boosted sales and created a buzz about the company. Even when they got the names wrong, the customers still came away from their visit with a unique, unexpected one-of-a-kind object which they then photographed and shared all over social media.
3. Put customer service at the heart of your business
This is a serious question to ask yourself. Is user experience central to everything that you do as a business? Really? If you are not sure, then the chances are it probably isn’t. So once you have performed the aforementioned research to find out who your customer base is and what it wants, start to deliver on those desires.
4. Offer Self-Service
If you don’t yet offer a self-service option, then consider doing that, because that shows true commitment to deliver what is good for the customer. If you are still there every time as the middleman, then that is about you not ceding control, and you are not putting the customer first.
Are your customers using self-service option before contacting the support team? What are they searching for? How often do you manage to resolve the issues within the first interaction with customers? How long does it take to reply to a ticket? 1 hour? 24 hours? Longer?
Make sure the resources are in the most accessible format possible, using simple, appropriate language with all common translations covered. Make sure your FAQ is exhaustive, optimize it with tags and make the navigation easy.
5. Provide Multichannel Communications
Look at your communication processes. What channels are prefered by your clients? Do you deliver instant chat? If not, then once again you are failing to step up with the most sought-after form of communication. Email and phone numbers are required too, as that is what some other customers (less, but still important) require.
Using omnichannel communications software allows you to keep all these conversations centralized.
6. Enhance your Customer Service Workflows
And finally, are your workflow activities truly enhanced to deliver outstanding customer experience? All transitions between steps should be as smooth as silk, and you should be consistently testing your process to see where improvements can be made. In this case, customer expectations never need to rise beyond what you are delivering. The expectations will become whatever you set the bar to be.
Therefore, as long as you bear these tips in mind, automating what can be automated in your workflow and making your customers feel like they are number one through research and accessible methods of using your product and through researching what they truly want and are interested in, your customers are sure to become loyal and keep coming back.