This year has caused many paradigm shifts in the world of business. Companies have struggled to keep up with a rapidly changing marketplace, and none more so than small businesses. Business owners have had to rapidly adapt their business models to an eCommerce-dependent consumer base, and with a limited budget, small businesses are more vulnerable to market pressures than their larger competitors.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. The good news is that the shift to the online world has created space for businesses to expand their market share by providing a really top-quality Customer Experience. Here are 3 easy steps that you can implement to thrive in the new normal.
1. Make peer-to-peer the guiding principle of your Customer Experience Philosophy
When was the last time you actually enjoyed speaking to a machine? Whether it’s an automated call screening software of chatbots, there are plenty of digital tools that allow for an automated customer service system. The real question is, is the automation good for you, or your customers?
The answer is neither, and both. According to a recent study, fully 86% of customers still prefer to speak to a human agent over a machine. People want to feel heard and seen, they want to feel appreciated and cared for. While AI and technology are getting better and better at faking it, for now, AI still hasn’t made it. Using chatbots and other customer service AI to triage customers to the right human agent is the best solution in today’s market.
2. Provide a seamless experience across all devices
Customers have more avenues than ever to engage with your brand. Be it on social media, over the phone, directly on your website, or through third-party review platforms; you’ll hear from them somehow. What’s more, customers expect a response to their comments and reviews. Staying on top of all the inbound communications is complex enough without worrying about who is watching which stream.
Setting up your systems using omnichannel management tools not only allows for your customers to move from one device to another during their journey to the checkout – it also means your inventory, and customer support systems are integrated into the same digital environment as your sales platform, making troubleshooting problems a much simpler experience for everyone.
3. Don’t just engage your customers – show them you’re listening
We live in a time of unprecedented access to information, personal and otherwise. Using the right digital tools and asking the right questions, you can get a very clear picture of who your individual customers are. This knowledge is the key to drawing repeat business and spreading your brand through word of mouth, but it’s not just about getting individual customer information. Customers expect some level of personalization from businesses, but like any relationship, this is a two-way street. How you implement feedback and change your systems based on that data is more important than simply collecting it.
People are wary of empty rhetoric. So by all means, use digital survey tools and digital management software to figure out what you’re doing right and what you need to fix, but make sure you actually fix it. More importantly, make sure the customers see you fixing it.
The Secret to Exceptional Customer Experience
No matter your industry, people are the center of it. Keeping people engaged and happy is the only vehicle for success, and that starts with your people. Your customer experience team is the eyes, ears, and mouth of your brand. How they feel will always reflect down to the customers, so the best philosophy is to keep your people happy.
That goes beyond just creating the right culture. Businesses, where employees have benefits, good pay, and feel valued, find lower turnover and higher productivity. This is easy enough to understand – people feel valued won’t want to leave. People who feel undervalued will leave as soon as they can. That’s as true for employees as it is for customers, and it’s your employees who ultimately determine how your customers feel. Treat them right, and your business will thrive.
About the Author: Mikkel Andreassen is passionate about customer experience in every color of the beautiful customer engagement spectrum. He loves building great connections with his customers, which often lead to meaningful friendships that last a lifetime and inspire his work. Driven by the genuine belief that CX is the pivotal force that drives a successful business, he is currently at the helm of Dixa’s customer experience strategy.
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