Customer experience, not customer service, can create fantastic outcomes for your business.
Experience and service may sound like the same thing. Let me assure you; they are not.
In the most general terms, experience includes pre-designed touch points, and service more generally refers to reaction moments. Think preventing a problem from happening instead o dealing with the problem after it occurs. Customer Experience is proactive, and service is reactive. Customer experience focuses on the customers’ feelings and emotions, whereas customer service deals with the standard of service the business is providing.
In today’s customer-driven world, good customer service is an expectation — but great customer experience should be the goal of your business. I often refer to the experience as creating the “WOW” moments.
Why is this important? Because many small businesses struggle with their unique difference, not knowing how to finish the sentence, “we are the only company…” Incredible customer experience is one of the ways that a small business can establish their difference. When done properly this can help your business achieve two important marketing outcomes: repeat purchases and referrals. An increase in both is a great indicator of an exceptional customer experience.
To help you figure out your opportunity to build an exceptional customer experience, here are four ways to build your difference with customer experience.
#1 Put Your Customer First
Thinking about what the customer wants, needs, or expects should be your starting point. You’ll want to proactively support your customer in their buyer’s journey, starting with their first step in the process, becoming aware of your business, and continuing until you have earned the ultimate marketing outcome: referrals. Anticipating and recognizing what the customer needs from your business is the initial phase of building the experience.
To understand your customer is to step into their shoes and figure out how to provide them the best experience.
This is one of the ways to set yourself apart from any competitors.
#2 Commit to Education
Knowledge of your industry and the services or products of your business is essential. No customer wants to deal with people who don’t know what he or she’s talking about. Having the knowledge is one of the first steps of customer service but understanding how your knowledge can help your customers is the necessary next step.
While your customer may know more and more about what they are looking for due to information available to them on the Internet, they count on you to fill in the details they are missing and to give them direction toward the best service and product for them. That includes solutions that your don’t provide or could be better delivered by someone else.
Strive to provide your customers with knowledge that enhances their buying experience, and you will undoubtedly make their buying journey easy and more meaningful.
#3 Post Sale Achievements Matter
Customer experience extends beyond the purchase or the end of the service. The customer now must get value from their purchase or investment. That may come in the form of confidence, more time, or actual cost savings.
If their investment fails to deliver value, they will remember your business negatively. Whether you previously provided a great customer experience or not, their experience perspective will plummet. Erasing whatever good your had built to that point.
Post sale success should be just as much concern to you as social media marketing.
#4 Wow Them
You customers want to be amazed at your attention to their experience and buyer’s journey.
Many companies try to come up with pleasant brand-orient surprises that can be sprinkled in the buyer’s journey. That could be an unexpected upgrade (like the shipping technique that was part of Zappos fame) or anticipating their need at that next stage of the journey (like an assessment of need used to finalize options).
This type of attention encourages referrals, which not only give you more business but will allow you to analyze the success of your customer experience tactics. If customers know that your business is devoted to the emotional outcomes and feelings of its customers, they are more likely to tell their friends and family. Word of mouth is a powerful form of lead generation.
If your company struggles to differentiate itself from its competitors, look at customer experience as a potential way to differentiate yourself from everyone else.
Be prepared to do new things and make the proper investments. Don’t forget to measure your success through review, referrals, and repeat purchases.
If you can master the art of providing a great customer experience you may finally find a way to finish this important statement: “we are the only company…” and build a clear differentiator.
Download the Customer Experience ebook for more ideas.