Good businesses think of customer satisfaction but great businesses think of customer delight.
The customer experience (CX) is one of the key differentiators for any brand. It has the power to boost digital acquisition and entice existing buyers to make recurring purchases. From startups to Fortune-500’s, enterprises are constantly trying out new ways to improve their customer experience and make their brand stand out from the competition.
While established companies can keep up with the rising expectations of their customers through investment in new technologies and evolved customer success strategies, small-medium businesses (SMBs) find it hard to delight customers the way their industry peers can due to traditional customer management practices. Most SMBs target customers through various channels, while some of these reap results, others lack in customer experiences.
To enhance customer satisfaction levels, SMBs need to become more proactive and offer customer-centric experiences through various touch points i.e. calls, e-mails, messages, app. etc.
Customer Experience and its Importance for your Digital Business
Good CX is vital for the success of a digital business. The better experience you offer to your customers, the more they will be prone to make recurring purchases and become a loyal customer. Good CX also spreads faster through word-of-the-mouth, especially through digital platforms.
Before we discuss ways to boost CX, let’s have a look at the importance of offering a high customer experience through your products and services:
a) Boost Sales Conversions: Better customer experience leads to higher customer lifetime value. Customers who had the best past experiences spent 140 percent more compared to those that had the poorest experience.
b) Higher Client Retention: Delivering quick services boosts customer satisfaction and encourages clients to retain a business for a long time.
c) Increase Customer Loyalty: Customer acquisition costs 7X more than maintaining one. Offering a customer-centric experience compels customers to be loyal to their favorite brands.
How Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) Can Improve Customer Experience?
The customer experience journey starts right when they interact with your business for the very first time, be it through a search engine, your website, e-mail reach out, referral, or an advertisement. To have a delightful customer experience, it is crucial to take note of various aspects such as:
1. Build an Omni-Channel Strategy
Businesses that successfully employ a cross-channel marketing strategy enjoy a 13 percent increase in retention, 30 percent in revenue, and higher word-of-mouth recommendations.
The aim of building a true customer-centric tactic here is that brands provide customers the choice to contact them through multiple channels from social media to customer service hotlines while ensuring that the consumer has a positive, consistent experience on each channel. Creating an omnichannel strategy allows businesses to understand customer behavior through detailed insights into customer interactions at various touchpoints. A typical omnichannel strategy includes multiple channels for sales, service, and marketing.
Here is how an omnichannel strategy helps in improving the customer journey:
- 1. It empowers customers to connect with your brand through their channel(s) of choice (website, mobile app, or web app).
- 2. As a business, you can ensure customers of a consistent customer experience irrespective of the platform they sign in.
- 3. Using personalized messaging based on specific interests with identifiable brand tone and vision.
- 4. Since business data is shared in an omnichannel model, your employees would be quick to understand customer queries & preferences, offering the right product/service to them.
2. Make Use of Artificial Intelligence
80 percent of customers say they are most likely to purchase a brand that delivers a customized experience. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one such enabling technology that can help you create this reality for your customers. Leading brands across the globe have been leveraging AI to deliver a personalized experience, improve decision making, boost engagement, and maximize conversions.
To understand how AI works, take the case of Spotify, the leading music streaming platform. It offers personalized recommendations to listeners based on listeners’ interests, timing, and previous searches. Food apps like Starbucks and Zomato leverage AI similarly by offering images of dishes a customer has ordered in the past or will be tempted to order at a moment.
You can leverage AI-powered insights, recommendations to simplify decision making and boost purchases on digital channels. Here are a few reasons to embrace AI:
- 1. Empowers users to make data-driven decisions based on metrics.
- 2. Predicts customer behavior, and meets their needs before they arise.
- 3. Personalized messaging to complete purchases and make use of the latest promotional offers.
- 4. Drive engagement and maintain consistent communication through automated lead nurturing.
- 5. Reduce agent-based support requests and offer real-time conversation with AI-enabled chatbots.
3. Create Self-Service Options for Customers
Support professionals have bulk work and often they miss out on certain customer requests. The periodic high volume of customer queries can compel customers to abandon your service and avail those of your competitor if their queries are not handled on time with accuracy. To enhance CX and establish long-term profitable relationships, service teams need to become proactive and empathetic.
Offering self-service features on the website and application negates a customer’s need to reach out to your support staff for every basic problem or requirement of information. Allowing your customers to access walkthrough videos, case studies, user guides, etc can be a great step in reducing reliance on your support staff.
Here’s how self-service portals can help organizations become more customer-centric:
- 1. Creating self-service portals saves the time of customers and helps them locate the information they need at a given time.
- 2. It also enhances customers’ knowledge and gives them tools to resolve issues on their own.
- 3. Intuitive self-service options enhance customer experience and strengthen brand reputation.
4. Use Tech-Integrated CRM for Customer Management
To provide positive & consistent CX that matches your customer expectations, you need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that allows you to design interactive customer experiences. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-based CRM like Salesforce can be a great choice for your business if you are still leveraging one or multiple legacy systems or other on-premise/cloud solutions with limited development capabilities.
Platforms like Salesforce come with point-click tools using which you can design unique experiences for different customer segments. Along with low-code development capabilities, SaaS solutions also have built-in automation which can become handy if you are struggling with manual workflows or have a long customer acquisition cycle.
To find the best CRM tool for business, you should do proper research. Look for solutions that not only helps you optimize customer interactions but also allows you to design platform-centric experiences.
Positive customer experiences play a crucial role in retaining customers and attracting new prospects. To establish a profitable long-term relationship with customers, businesses need to adopt new technologies and trends. Cloud-based CRMs can be a great fit for businesses because of their ability to customize, automate, and develop web & mobile-first experiences.
Before selecting a suitable platform for customer management, you should check if the solution is equipped with AI, predictive analytics, automation, low-code development, and advanced reporting capabilities. Having such features in your CRM will allow you to monitor customer journeys, make proactive changes, and create desired add-ons (such as a self-service portal or mobile app) to boost their experience.
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