How can customer experience drive loyalty and revenue in your business?
Many small and medium size businesses are struggling to keep customers flowing and returning in a highly competitive market.
Today’s customer is far more discerning in choosing a brand or service. Focusing on impeccable customer experience has never been more critical to ensure the success of a business in an era where consumers are spoiled for choice.
The magic of customer experience is part art, part science. Customers are less concerned with the actual transaction of making a purchase and more with the emotions they feel in the transaction.
Emotions propel human beings to act. Philip Adcock, author of Supermarket Shoppology says, “Emotional reactions are 3,000 times quicker than rational thought, and the persuasiveness ratio of emotion to reason is 24:1. Studies show that positive emotions toward a brand also have far greater influence on consumer loyalty than other judgments that are based on a brand’s more rational attributes”.
Now that you know that customers’ purchase decisions are highly driven by emotions, how can you make them feel happy, content, excited, calm and satisfied and ensure they choose your business over the competition?
Simple. By walking in their shoes. Knowing and anticipating someone’s needs and possible pain-points and challenges is the most powerful tool you can have as a business owner. Being empathetic is natural to small and medium size business owners. Everything is so personal and you genuinely care for your customers because at the end of the day, having them means you have a business to run, employees with jobs and food to feed your family.
“Understanding customer experience and including it as part of your marketing strategy can improve customer retention by 42%, customer satisfaction by 33% and increase cross and up-selling by 32%”, confirms Genesys research.
Customer experience helps any size business to create a holistic understanding of a customer across all channels and touchpoints in order to:
- Minimise friction and problems from the awareness to the purchase phase of a customer.
- Streamline marketing efforts, because knowing where customers spend most of their time online and on social media helps prioritise activities and focus on what truly matters to them. If your target audience is 55 years plus, why focus and invest time building your brand on snapchat?
- It drives customer recommendations, which in return minimises your marketing spend.
So how can you make sure you can introduce professional customer experience practices in your business to connect with your customers and increase your revenue?
- Be genuinely interested in building a business friendship with your customers.
Know their birthday, the name of their dog or their favourite holiday destination. Retention and longer customer lifecycles can easily be achieved by purely treating customers more authentically, more like a friend who trusts you.
- Provide a consistent experience across your website, social media, search, email, customer service, etc.
This is where a lot of small business owners fail because they have little capacity to hire a full-time marketing or CX professional to ensure everything has the same language, same tone of voice or sometimes even same look and feel. It may feel like a waste of money at first, but it will truly make that customer more engaged and likely to increase his or her lifecycle as a shopper or client as everything is extremely easy for them.
- Ask for feedback.
Plus most importantly, implement quickly and share with your customers the improvements made. They will love the fact you got them involved, asked for their opinion and implemented the suggested changes.
Understand your data.
If you feel like crying when thinking of Google, Facebook or CRM analytics, then ask someone for help. Asking your customers is just a part of the process but understanding their online behaviour is key.
Find local support in marketing and CX groups in your area.
This is where customer experience as part of loyalty and retention is discussed and case studies explored. Meetup, LinkedIn or Facebook groups are good places to get started.
Geoff Ryan, owner and founder of Studio Pilates in Hamilton, Brisbane agrees that having a more personalised approach to their marketing has increased their sales and cash flow. “We really took a step back in our practice to understand our customers very well and really get to know them as human beings. We constantly speak to them and ask them questions that helps us shape our marketing and to be a solution provider, even though at the end of the day all we provide is Pilates lessons”.
Remember customers are expecting not just a personal experience, but an individual experience, no matter the industry you are in. Don’t assume you need to know it all about customer experience, because even the experts, don’t know it all. Be humble and above all, be human. Your customers will thank you for it!
About the contributor:
Ale Wiecek is the founder of Sqr One, a Brisbane-based customer experience consultancy dedicated to helping businesses design marketing strategies that are customer-centric as it core. Ale’s unique set of skills across marketing, omni-channel, digital transformation and creative thinking has provided her with the tools support small to large organisations that want to be at the frontier of running a purpose-driven, innovative and empathic business. Ale, holds a MA in Marketing and a BA in Marketing and Communications, and has more than 16 years’ experience working for brands such as Microsoft, Siemens, OPSM and Bayer in Australia and the UK. Sqr One donates 25% of their profits to organisations that improve society via innovation and education.