A positive customer experience is vital to the success of your business. Depending on the nature of your business, a happy customer is likely to become a regular customer. The customer experience plays such an important part of the customer satisfaction process.
Think to your own customer service experiences. You call them up, unhappy about something, and the most patient and calm voice on the other end helps you resolve the issue and restores your belief in the company you are dealing with.
Generally speaking, most people would call this a positive experience despite the initial problem that prompted the contact.
Likewise, your customers will notice your positive attitude and your willingness to go ‘above and beyond’. Consider their WHOLE customer experience – from the moment they first come across your business or products, perhaps on social media – right through to the time they make a purchase – and work to earn their loyalty.
A positive customer experience goes a long way towards achieving customer loyalty
Here are some ideas to consider for creating a positive customer experience within your business:
1. Be Polite
Make sure to remember your manners and say thank you when it’s appropriate. Your customers will remember common curtesy and respectful behaviour.
2. Admit to Making Mistakes
Own up to any mistakes that are made. We’re all human and mistakes inevitably happen. Rather than looking for an excuse or someone to blame, simply admit that something went wrong, apologise and start working towards a suitable resolution.
3. Be Willing to Help Resolve Issues
Respond to criticism with optimism and be willing to help put things right. Customers can get frustrated when things go wrong and often take their emotions out on you. Whether that’s in person, online or most commonly via social media, instead of responding back with an angry rant, acknowledge the problem and work to resolve it.
4. Don’t Criticise Other Businesses
Avoid the temptation to criticise other businesses including your competitors. Whatever the subject, even if they have done something you disagree with or if they indeed started a public disagreement with you. Remember that your negative talk about them will reflect poorly on YOU.
5. Welcome Customer Phonecalls
You don’t need to sit waiting by the phone all day, just in case a customer calls, but make the effort to answer any calls during regular business hours. The simple act of answering the phone instead of sending your calls to voice mail will do wonders for your relationship with your customers.
6. Ask for Feedback
Offer your customers a way to get in touch and provide feedback. This will show them that you are interested in their opinions and that you care about meeting their needs.
7. Invest in Training
Invest your time and energy in training how to not only improve the products/services that you offer, but also in ways you can improve the whole experience of your customers.
A happy customer is often a repeat customer
8. Protect Your Customer Data
This is a legal requirement covered by GDPR but it’s always good business practise to safeguard your customers data and store it securely to avoid security breaches.
9. Be Honest With Your Recommendations
Your customers are looking for help and advice, and they trust your you, your experience and your professional opinion. When making recommendations keep your customers needs foremost in your mind. Customer trust is essential to growing a successful business, don’t throw it away by recommending sub-par products that you wouldn’t purchase yourself.
10. Practice Active Listening
Instead of answering emails during a call or being otherwise distracted, actively listen and take notes of what your customers say and any concerns they may have. Repeat it back to them to be sure you fully understand what they are asking for and then find a way to resolve that particular issue.
11. Follow-up with Complaints
If a customer feels the need to make a complaint, make sure to follow up with them after the problem has been solved. It’s not always an easy discussion but it will work wonders for your customers experience and you can be sure that the complaint was resolved to their satisfaction.
12. Get Personal
Talk to your customers, let them see and connect with you as a person. Build your customer relationships by showing that there’s a real-life person behind the brand who cares about more than simply taking their money. Social media is a great tool for this.
13. Show Your Appreciation
Treat your customers as VIPs. Offer special services or another perk to your best customers. Show your appreciation for their loyalty and referrals.
14. Create a customer-focused mission
Knowing and understanding your overall mission will help you to focus on your customers’ requirements. In the same way, creating a clear, customer-focused mission will help you to combine your business values with what your customers want and need.
If you take care of your customers, your customers will take care of your business
15. Develop Professional Relationships
See your customers for the people they are, not simply for the money they spend and work to develop professional working relationships with them.
16. Be Flexible Whenever Possible
Be flexible whenever possible. You shouldn’t be a pushover allowing people to take advantage but being flexible in bending the rules will also improve your customer experience.
Take the story of a Zappos customer who was late returning shoes because her mother died. They not only, waved the late fee, they arranged collection for the return and also arranged a flower delivery sending their best wishes.
17. Engage with Customers on Social Media
Don’t just wait for a negative review before addressing your customers; ask them questions, tell a joke, or show off your personality with some humour. An experienced social media manager can handle this task with the proper training and understanding of your market.
18. Send a Handwritten Note
Send a hand-written note through the post, to say thank you for your custom or you could also add a discount coupon for future purchases. Most people get mostly junk mail or bills through the door, so think how memorable you (and your business) would be if you sent a personalised and hand-written note to your best customers.
Personalise the customer experience
Not all of these ideas will be relevant to every business. There’s others that may be more suited to specific industries.
Take some time to consider what ideas you could use to create a positive customer experience and watch your business thrive.
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