It’s no secret that first impressions are everything – both in your personal and professional life.
And with 59% of customers admitting they won’t return to a business after a negative interaction, the customer experience is key.
One mistake many business owners make is looking at their customer experience strategy one-dimensionally. The deal isn’t done the minute your website traffic increases or you hit a specific sales goal.
You need to foster customer relationships throughout the entire buying experience – from start to finish.
Are you afraid your customer experience strategy is missing the mark? If so, keep reading to discover potential holes in your strategy and how to repair them now!
1. Overlooking Individual Customer Needs
You already know that your customers are the heart of your business. But you can’t lump everyone into the same group. You need to pay special attention to individual customer needs.
If your organization doesn’t currently have buyer personas, it should! This helps those at the forefront of your business understand specific customer needs and wants.
A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer. While somewhat fictional, these personas are based on current demographics, behavior patterns, and future goals.
Take Mary for example. She’s an elderly woman living alone without access to the internet. She needs you to mail her information and guide her through the buying process.
Charlie, on the other hand, is a 25-year-old tech-savvy millennial who requires little guidance. He’s comfortable using email and social media to gather information about your company.
These personas help you and your staff connect with customers on an individual, personal level. You can then empathize with real-life scenarios and improve the overall customer journey.
2. Not Having a Clear Vision
Without a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you can’t create a functional customer experience strategy.
Your vision should include the company values and mission statement. Do you pride yourself on treating customers like family? Do you offer the lowest prices in your industry? Or are your products all handmade?
Identify what sets your company apart and embed these principles in your day-to-day operations. Once you pinpoint these assets, ensure that your staff understands (and shares) your vision. In time, your vision will take on a personality of its own, attracting and keeping loyal customers.
Another way to develop a clear vision is through branding. Brand awareness is arguably one of the most important elements of creating a positive customer experience.
Brands like Apple, Nike, and Target all carry their own personas. Apple is at the forefront of the tech world, while Nike offers functional and fashionable athletic wear.
Target promotes quality products at reasonable prices. There’s no question what these brands offer and the same applies to your business.
3. Lacking an Emotional Investment
Believe it or not, there’s a deeply emotional element to the customer experience. And if your strategy doesn’t take this into consideration, it could mean countless missed opportunities.
Think back to your childhood. Do you remember your grandmother making you your favorite chicken soup when you were sick? What brand chicken broth did she use?
Chances are, you’ll reach for that same brand when it comes time to make that same recipe for your own children. You’re emotionally invested in the product.
Could you imagine gaining customers across generations with minimal effort? That’s where the emotional connection of the customer experiences comes into play.
Emotions drive decisions. If your customers feel emotionally invested in your company, it will motivate them to buy and recommend you to a friend. Take things one step further and show your customers that you’re also invested in them.
A great way to do this is by offering birthday, anniversary, or other loyal customer incentives and rewards. Still not convinced every business needs an emotional element?
A recent Gallup poll reported that companies who focus on the emotional connection outperform the competition by 85%!
4. Ignoring Negative Customer Feedback
Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you. While this sounds like something your grandmother might tout, the meaning is relevant even today.
In a world where most consumers turn to online reviews before dealing with a company, you need to manage your reputation carefully.
While you may be tempted to ignore negative – or even false – reviews or comments about your business, you need to address them head-on.
The benefit of handling negative customer feedback is two-fold. Not only are you showing potential patrons that you’re responsive, but you may actually turn those naysayers into return customers.
Every negative customer experience is an opportunity to improve. Take note of their complaints and gather as much specific information as possible.
Are different people reporting the same issue? If so, it might be time for some internal changes to your business structure.
When appropriate, offer a sincere apology and incentives. This may convince a displeased customer to give your business a second chance. As a business owner, you’re sometimes forced to eat humble pie.
And while that can be extremely frustrating, it’s not nearly as bad as ignoring negative feedback. Doing this makes customers question your character, ethics, and professionalism.
5. Not Calculating ROI
How will you know if your efforts are working if you don’t track your results? The only way to guarantee that your customer experience strategy is working is by using trial and error.
One of the best ways to calculate your ROI is by using customer experience surveys. And one of the most powerful questions to ask? “Would you refer this company to a friend?”
As we said earlier, customer reviews can either make or break your business. Collect information about what customers liked and didn’t like about dealing with your company. Based on these results, make appropriate changes.
Beyond this, the most important part is the follow-up. After your improvements have been in place for some time, perform another survey.
Did you hit on the pain points? Are customers pleased with the changes? Are they voicing new and different complaints?
Consumers are brutally honest and will have no issues telling you where you can improve and if recent changes are working. Use these results to determine where to focus your efforts to ensure the greatest ROI.
The Ideal Customer Experience Strategy from Start to Finish
The biggest mistake companies make is not applying their customer service strategy throughout the entire customer journey.
This starts the minute a potential customer hears about your business and, if done right, never ends. That’s because, with an effective strategy in place, you’ll create loyal customers who stick with you for the long haul. And refer friends and family!
If you’re ready to improve your customer experience strategy, we’re ready to help. Contact us today so you can invest in the future of your company.