Customer experience (CX) is increasingly overtaking price and product as the key brand differentiator. But what constitutes excellent CX?
Customer experience is your impression on your customers during their buyer’s journey. This starts from when a customer engages with your brand until after purchasing from you.
Your products or services plus your customer support team play important roles in providing an excellent customer experience to your target market. When these two don’t meet their expectations, your CX suffers, along with customer retention, brand loyalty, and conversion rate.
An exceptional customer experience, on the other hand, is vital to your company’s growth. It would be easier to develop and maintain customer relationships, create a loyal group of brand advocates, and increase your revenue.
How do you achieve an excellent customer experience?
It starts with knowing and understanding your customers. When you know their needs and wants, it would be easy to develop buyer personas and create a CX roadmap from the first point of contact to the post-purchase stage of their buyer’s journey.
Don’t be shy to ask for feedback at any point in their buyer’s journey. The more information you have about their likes, dislikes, and shopping behavior, the more you can customize their journey for a better experience with your brand.
Another key to creating an excellent customer experience is to experience your brand as a customer. A great example is company stakeholders calling their company’s hotline or engaging in live chat.
How many minutes does it take before someone attends to you? How long does it take for a request or service issue to be resolved? These are just some things you need to consider when developing an excellent customer experience.
10 Ways To Deliver Excellent Customer Experience
1. Timely response
Customers want to get it quickly, whether it’s an answer, apology, assurance, or anything else. At the same time, though, they don’t want to feel like they’re being rushed through a process or checklist, and the last thing an agent wants is to add insult to injury by not taking the time to understand the issue at hand thoroughly. That’s why it’s important to focus on timeliness, and not just speed – excellent customer experience considers both promptness and proper handling.
- Have a multi-channel strategy, so no channel is bogged down by service requests or inquiries
- Install chatbots so you can run your customer support 24/7
- Create automated responses, so customers know what to expect from your support team and when to expect it.
2. Effective communication
This isn’t just a matter of speaking the customer’s language but also comprehending and conveying information concisely and keeping your brand image. Agents for a young, hip brand, for instance, can—and possibly should—respond to an inquiry with “I get what you’re saying.” while agents for a prestige brand would more appropriately reply, “I understand.” Every interaction crystallizes your image in a customer’s mind, so consistency is as vital as clarity.
- Develop brand voice guidelines and brand vocabulary. Provide adequate training for your support team to ensure they stick with the guidelines.
- Explain technical concepts as simply and as thoroughly as you can.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification when something isn’t clear but never interrupt the customer.
3. Human touch
Having stated the importance of on-brand communication, it’s equally critical for your representatives to engage as human beings freely. Feeling valued as individuals helps agents understand the individuals they serve, building empathy, which forms the foundation of a relationship of trust. On the other side of the equation, human interaction makes customers feel comfortable and valued. At the same time, personalization creates loyalty – customers tend to stick with a company they know.
- Personalize your interactions. Address customers by their name and avoid negative phrases.
- Smile. Customers can hear it on the other end of the line. Offer empathy when needed and be friendly at all times
- Greet your customers on their birthdays or anniversaries. Celebrate milestones with special gifts or well-thought-out messages.
4. Omnichannel access
Many customers start an inquiry with, say, a chatbot; then ask for clarification via phone call; follow up with an SMS; ask for updates through email, and make a complaint or commendation on social media. Good CX can handle the customer’s concern at any point during this chain – but great CX should address the entire continuum, across not just this inquiry but the customer’s history of interactions. Omnichannel is about giving the customer every option and opportunity to be heard.
- Choose an omnichannel solution that allows your support team to access a customer’s history across all channels and offers a holistic view of the customer.
- Be sure to contact the customer through their preferred channel.
- Personalize their experience with highly targeted offers and messages.
Of course, you can conceive many more things to foster an excellent customer experience. But these are the basics that any company in today’s marketplace needs to achieve to deliver the delight that keeps customers coming back for more.
5. Well-trained customer support team
How well your CS team handles and solves customer issues dramatically affects the quality of experience your brand provides to your customers. Focus on improving your team’s troubleshooting and problem-solving skills. Think like Zappos, who went above and beyond to keep their customer happy even when the problem was beyond their control.
- Extensive problem-solving and product knowledge training must be part of your onboarding process.
- Encourage your CS team to think of out-of-the-box solutions.
- Provide your CS team with resources and tools to help them provide support for your customers.
6. Empowering customer service solutions
Did you know that many customers would instead solve problems themselves if they could then reach out to customer service? When you provide options to help customers can solve problems on their own, you are hitting two birds with one stone. First, your CS channels don’t get flooded with inquiries and support tickets. Two, you’re able to maintain a positive customer experience. Some self-service channels you could have for your business are:
- Help center knowledge base where customers can look for the information they need.
- FAQ page for commonly asked information about your products/services
- Mobile app to further bring your brand closer to your customers
- A community forum where all of your customers can share tips and hacks related to your products/services.
7. Positive attitude
Having the right attitude goes a long way — especially when dealing with an angry or disappointed customer. It could help turn a bad experience into a positive one.
- Emphasize the importance of empathy to your CS team. While CS work may often feel repetitive, it’s always good to remind your team of the value of building rapport and emotional connection.
- Don’t take it personally. When emotions run high, sometimes people say things they don’t mean to say. Your CS team must learn to stay calm when a customer is highly agitated and understand the situation appropriately.
- Don’t be afraid to use humor in your conversations. Depending on the circumstance, a little humor could help diffuse a tense situation.
8. Provide accurate information
Nothing can be more frustrating than waiting in a queue for a long time and being given the wrong information. Not only will your customer experience be significantly affected by this. It could also earn your brand a negative review.
- Product knowledge is essential for all CS agents. Make sure your team doesn’t just know your product/service like the back of their hands. They should also have the resources and tools to help them look for accurate information on the fly.
- Allow your CS team to experience or try your product/service. This way, they can fully understand what your customers are talking about when they come to your support channels for help.
- Keep your CS team in the loop for updates or changes in your products/services. This is especially essential for tech products that are getting regular updates. You don’t want your CS team to be caught off-guard when customers come to them for troubleshooting.
9. Proactive support
The secret to a one-of-a-kind customer experience is when brands go the extra mile. Remember Zappos? It wasn’t their fault that their product wasn’t delivered on time. But they were creative and proactive in helping their customer, not wanting to leave them high and dry.
- Zoom out and think of the bigger picture. How does this particular predicament affect your customer, and what can you do as a brand to help them?
- Don’t be afraid to take things offline. Sometimes, the best customer experience is felt and seen offline. Have tech support come by your customer’s house to help troubleshoot their device. Send a care package or a personalized card. These little acts of kindness go a long way.
- Listen to what your customers aren’t saying. Proactively listening lets you discover what your customers need but aren’t saying. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and probe deeper when you have to get right down to the issue’s root.
10. Own up to your mistakes
The best brands know when to admit mistakes and say sorry. Often, it’s the fastest way to solve conflicts.
- When a customer comes to you with a problem, it’s always a good idea to say you are sorry for what they have experienced and let them know you will do your best to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. It shows empathy and respect for your customer’s time.
- Once you’ve determined that it’s the company’s fault, don’t dilly dally. Apologize to your customer. Explain to them what happened and how you’ll prevent the same situation from happening again.
- Offer gifts, special discounts, or compensation for the inconvenience. A freebie or a free month of subscription to your service shows how sorry you are and encourages your customer to give your brand a second chance. Let them use your product/service again so they can have a better experience with you.
Experience Excellent Customer Experience with Inspiro
When you need excellent customer service, choose a company with the technologies, capabilities, and experience to help companies stay competitive in today’s business landscape.
With years of experience, Inspiro has developed proven strategies to improve customer experience across various industries. Get in touch with us to learn more about our services.