Offering quality customer experience is important whether you’re a B2B or B2C company.
When you’re in a saturated niche it’s especially important to provide quality customer experience to ensure you stand out in your industry and surpass competitors.
Why is customer centricity so important?
Making sure your customers are satisfied and have a good experience is important for several reasons, and brings a multitude of benefits.
1. Increase in revenue
84 percent of businesses that work on improving their customer experience report an increase in revenue.
But how much more revenue, exactly? According to one study, brands with better customer centric bring in up to 5.7 times more revenue than competitor brands with sub-par customer experience.
2. Customer retention
When customers have a great experience dealing with you, they’ll be more likely to return. This can greatly affect your total ROI, as it can be between 5 and 25 times more expensive to acquire new customers, than to retain existing ones.
3. Improved reputation
A good reputation is important for many reasons, offline and online. You want someone to find great reviews when they Google your business.
The more positive reviews you have online, the more free, organic traffic you can receive. Even if your business is solely offline, loyal customers are 4 times more likely to refer a friend.
4. Lasting relationships
Providing your customers with a great experience will lead to increased brand trust and loyalty.
73 percent of customers said that customer centricity is key to influencing their brand loyalties (in other words, causing them to choose you over your competitor).
What makes or breaks a good customer experience?
There are a number of things integral to good customer centricity. Obviously, as consumer expectation changes over time, new customer experience trends emerge, which we will look at a little later on.
Let’s proceed with the cornerstones of good customer experience.
1. Customer centricity: Quality of your product and services
This shouldn’t need to be said, but the quality of your product or service is of primary importance for the customer experience. This is important to keep in mind because too many businesses take liberties by cutting corners.
Instead of focusing solely on profits or how to maximize each revenue dollar, make the customer your main focus. A customer-first policy will pay off in the long run.
2. The quality of customer support
You should be extremely selective with the people you hire to be customer reps. You want people who are knowledgeable and can come up with solutions quickly.
You also want to instill a customer-centric mentality in your support team. Your customer reps should be professional, friendly, above all, have a good attitude.
You might also want to choose the CRM or support desk software you are using carefully, as well as how many customer reps you hire.
If you under staff your customer support team, clients may end up waiting a longer time than expected to get a response, which can greatly affect the quality of their experience. A good CRM can help you solve problems quicker by keeping tickets organized.
3. Your professionalism and cleanliness
Whether you’re communicating over the phone, through emails, on social media, or through text messages, it’s important to maintain a professional demeanor, and a friendly tone.
This is especially important for written content on social media, in emails, and on your website.
It’s worth investing in good graphics. Focus on a clear design so it’s easy for customers to find what they are looking for.
Being able to navigate your site with ease is another important aspect of good web design and provides for great online user experience.
Make sure you organize your menu properly with various categories and sub-categories; consider adding a search option on your site as well.
If you own a physical store, all of the above applies too. Make sure your store is clean, products and sections are clearly marked, that your storefront is organized with great signage, and that there is always someone to help visitors find what they’re looking for.
4. An easy checkout process
According to the Baymard Institute, almost 70 percent of customers end up abandoning their carts and not completing their purchase, and the top three reasons for that all have to do with hidden fees and a complicated checkout process.
Whether in-store or online, try to keep all costs clear and upfront. In addition, make checkout easier - for example, limit the number of fields customers need to fill out, let them check out as a guest, or let them quickly create an account through their Facebook or Google account.
5. Good shipping policies
According to one study, only 15 percent of online consumers in the United States are satisfied with the shipping options offered by companies. In addition, more than three-quarters said that free shipping would make them more likely to complete a purchase online.
It’s not only about how quickly you can ship your products and how little you can charge. It’s also about the quality of your shipping - make sure your products are packaged and handled properly so that they arrive undamaged.
You may want to consider using branded packaging and shipping labels, depending on which industry you are in.
Having a great return policy (ideally, by making it easy for customers to process returns and offering free return shipping), is something else that can lead to more brand loyalty and trust.
Source: Top 10 CX Stats, Clarabridge
The future of customer experience: Additional trends to look out for
Customer experience isn’t static; it’s important to stay on top of recent trends and know what the new generation of consumers are looking for in regards to customer centric experiences.
Here are some trends to look out for.
1. A mobile app
Not all businesses will need a mobile app, but it’s definitely something worth considering. For example, if you have an online store, a mobile app can make it easier for customers to browse your products and increase sales.
Mobile apps are rising in popularity; 90 percent of the time spent on mobile devices is spent on apps. Already, 57 percent of all digital media usage comes from apps.
2. An omnichannel customer experience
Omnichannel and multichannel are not the same thing. While having a presence on different channels (phone, email, social media) means you have a multichannel strategy, it doesn’t necessarily mean all channels are working in tandem.
A simplified example of an omnichannel experience would be when a customer sends you a call and you can quickly help them solve problems based on their previous email communications with you.
3. Data security
In this cyber age, customers are more concerned about their online data. Stories about large companies such as Target and Sony being breached have led consumers to fear the compromise of their account information.
That’s why it’s so important to invest in a quality cyber security solution to protect your website and customers’ data.
You should also be showing your customers that you care about their security - for example, include seals at checkout displaying which data security services you are using.
4. Self-service problem solving
Eighty-one percent of customers report having tried to solve a problem themselves (such as through a help section or FAQs page) before reaching out to customer service.
In fact, 67 percent of customers said they prefer self-service over speaking with a representative.
Ways to offer a self-service to customers can include having a YouTube channel or help section with documentation, a shorter FAQs page with commonly asked questions, or a ticket form or messaging service on your site - 70 percent of consumers prefer messaging over phoning customer support.
This kind of builds on the previous point, but chatbots, whether on your website or Facebook messenger, allow customers to speak with an AI assistant, choose from various menu options, solve their problems, and be directed to a live agent.
AI is reshaping businesses and verticals faster than we think. Global businesses are increasingly investing in automation, AI & machine learning today.
Providing a personalized experience to consumers is a practice being adopted by large brands such as Amazon (recommending products based on previous purchases) and Netflix (providing film recommendation scores).
You can greatly enhance the customer experience by doing the same.
Wrapping it up
If you’re not yet focused on providing a customer-centric experience, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. Show your customers how much you care, and build lasting relationships. Investing in a customer experience platform is a good starting point.
Roberto Garvin is the co-founder of Mofluid. He has a keen interest in the evolution of technologies such as email, browsers, search engines, mobile, AI and now blockchain.