The experience of your customers can negatively or positively affect your small business. Their experience browsing your website, going through the check out process, interacting with sales personnel and customer support, and your response to their questions and problems are part of their perception of your brand. Poor experiences lead to negative reviews that may lose you customers. This in turn reduces your reach and prevents your business from growing. You need to direct some of your resources to improve customer experience. Doing so improves your brand’s image and gets your business positive reviews that allow you to organically grow your company.
These are the best practices when it comes to improving customer experience.
First-Rate Customer Service
Customer service should be at the forefront of your strategy. The way your customers perceive your level of service to them can make or break your small business. Respond to queries in a timely manner and update your customers in real-time. Digital engagement tools improve customer experience and provide you with ways to solve their problems. Live chat is a useful tool to integrate into your website. It allows you to respond quickly and reduce resolution time for simple queries and problems. Co-browsing and video chat level up the live chat experience. Both enable you to solve complex problems that your customers are facing.
Offer Self-Service Alternatives
It’s important to have a customer support team no matter how small it is. However, you should provide customers with a means to solve their own problems and answer their own questions. Achieve this objective by providing links to related content on your website. These can be long articles, an FAQ, a video guide, surveys, and other similar types of content. A self-service option reduces time spent on solving redundant problems. It also improves your brand’s image.
Create a Clear Brand Message
A clear brand message not only improves customer experience, but it also boosts online sales. Clarity makes it easier for your target market to know what you’re selling and how you can help them. Once they know your brand, they can determine whether to purchase your products or not. Create a message that focuses on your customers and their pain points. Hard selling is no longer a long-term strategy. Your audience needs to know the value you provide them with other than price. Some customers are willing to pay extra for better services and products. Provide enough details and benefits of the products and services you sell and hook your audience in with a brand message that resonates.
Connect with Customers Throughout Their Life Cycle
Your service shouldn’t end once a website visitor converts into a paying customer. A personalized approach enables you to learn more about a customer and deliver solutions the way they want it. A person in the awareness stage has different needs such as wanting to gather as much information as possible before deciding. A person in the evaluation stage needs a bit more convincing before they buy your product. Once they are already frequent customers, your approach to engaging is different as well. Connecting and engaging with your customers from the beginning of their journey to its current level improves your relationship with them, boosts your company’s image, and allows you to provide better services.
Importance of Loyalty Programs
Provide incentives for your most loyal customers; do so by providing them with exclusive deals, whether these are your latest products or vouchers for big discounts. Create tiers for your loyalty program so that customers have something to strive for. A points-based system makes it easier to track their progress and reward them once they reach your benchmarks. Your customers can earn points based on various factors such as shopping frequency, successful referrals to people in their network, creating content using your brand, or total value of their purchases within a specific timeframe. Loyalty programs aren’t just for big businesses, your small business can use this strategy as well.
Include Customers in Your Business’ Success
You’d want to create a sense of community among your customers and your small business. One way to achieve this is to make them feel part of your success. Your loyal customers drive the success of your growing company. Acknowledge their part in your success by sending thank you emails, rewarding them through loyalty programs that give them freebies and/or discounts, early access to your latest products and other similar ways to thank them. Post user-generated content created by your loyal customers on your social media channels. These are just a few ways to make them feel part of your success.
Accept Good and Bad Feedback
Some customers will love your services and products, while others won’t feel the same way. Be open to all sorts of feedback to improve customer experience. Implementing feedback you receive from customers shows that you’re listening to them and are willing to provide them with what they need. Reviews allow you to identify gaps in your process that you can improve. These improvements boost your image and allow you to serve customers better.
Empower Your Employees
Other than your customers, your employees are a huge part of your company’s growth. Their motivation affects their efficiency and productivity. Empower them to improve customer experience. Listen to the needs of your employees and address them. Keep lines of communication open for conflict resolutions, possible promotions, work hours, and others. Brainstorm with them to identify innovative ways to help the company grow and improve processes.
Take an Omni Channel Approach
Provide your customers with multiple channels to connect with you. This enables them to contact you through their preferred platform. Your omni-channel strategy should be seamless; the experiences of customers must be the same regardless of how they reached out to you. Create and implement policies and guidelines your team follows so that they know the proper response to a customer’s needs regardless of the platform they use.
The mentioned best practices allow you to improve customer service. Doing so enables you to not only retain your customers but also turn them into possible brand ambassadors. Focus on the pain points of your target audience and how you can help them.
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