Every business wants to create an exceptional customer experience. After all, it’s those unforgettable experiences that turn ordinary customers into raving, loyal fans. And those raving, loyal fans who just can’t stop talking about your company become brand ambassadors, in turn bringing hordes of new prospects to your doors.
But what if your customer experience is just so-so? Customers have ordinary and mundane experiences with brands all the time, and while the tried-and-true doesn’t necessarily send customers packing, it does leave them open to being snatched up by a savvy competitor. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all, surefire recipe to creating an incredible customer experience. Not only is every brand unique, but every individual consumer is as well. In other words, what makes for a fabulous experience for one consumer won’t necessarily excite the next.
There may not be a one-size-fits-all recipe, but there just might be a secret sauce:
- Use Technology to Provide Top-Notch Customer Support
- Create Personalized Experiences
- Leverage Big Data to Get to Know Your Customers on an Individual-Level
- Reward Customer Loyalty to Foster Brand Ambassadorship
Let’s examine ways you can leverage these strategies to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Use Technology to Provide Top-Notch Customer Support
The customer experience doesn’t end with a purchase, and dropping the ball after a customer has given you their business is the surest way to lose customers. That means customer support plays a crucial role in satisfaction and the overall customer experience, essentially serving as an extension of marketing that comes after a sale. Software Advice outlines the essential tools for providing great customer support, including:
- Mobile customer support
- Live chat
- Self-service management
- Social media support
- Omnichannel support
Today’s consumers demand instant gratification, because — let’s face it — they’ve been spoiled by the opportunities created by technology advancements. So, now it’s up to brands to leverage that same technology to provide always-on, prompt customer support options through a variety of channels.
Create Personalized Experiences
Not only do consumers expect instant gratification, but they also expect that companies treat them like individuals rather than just one more digit in an audience segment. The days of “personalization” meaning you can simply lump your email subscribers into a few different lists based on their interests and call it a day are long gone.
Joking aside, everyone wants to feel special; your prospects and customers are no different. It’s more than just altering the name in an email greeting. (Seriously, everyone knows that that sort of “personalization” requires so little effort on a company’s part, rendering it practically useless, albeit still necessary.) So treat them like you value them by catering messaging, offers, and communication to their individual needs, likes, and desires. It’s well worth the effort. Research shows that more than half of retail consumers (53%) are more likely to purchase from retailers that suggest products based on their past browsing behavior or purchases, for instance. And nearly as many (52%) retail consumers say they’re likely to engage with and purchase from a new brand when they’re exposed to relevant online advertising messages based on their current and past behavior.
How do you gain the insights needed to personalize these experiences for your audience? Data, of course.
Leverage Big Data to Get to Know Your Customers on an Individual-Level
There’s a plethora of data about individual consumers who engage with brands, but brands have to know where to find it, how to gather it, and translate all of the available data on an individual consumer into actionable insights. This in-depth, individual view of each customer should encompass several types of information including:
- rapidly-changing usage
- service interaction
The available pool of data is vast, yet it’s crucial to consider not only these various categories of information but also how they interact and even influence data and outcomes in other categories. For example, a frequent consumer of pricey lattes may be likely to stop at every Starbucks along a certain route — but not during rush-hour traffic conditions. In this case, the context is influencing behavior. That’s why it’s imperative for brands to leverage big data and customer analytics tools that eliminate silos, consolidating data into a single, comprehensive view of every individual consumer.
Reward Customer Loyalty to Foster Brand Ambassadorship
Even fewer — just 30 percent — of loyalty program members say they’re very satisfied with the program website experience, meaning brands leveraging loyalty programs need to step up the digital experience when it comes to their rewards programs. What’s more, 57 percent of program members say they’d like to engage with loyalty programs via their mobile devices, but 49 percent don’t even know if there is an app for their program.
These stats reveal that offering loyalty programs matters, but equally important to the overall customer experience is the loyalty program experience itself. Provide consumers with tools and apps to monitor their rewards, make it easy for them to earn and redeem rewards, and, of course, personalize it (just 22% of program members in this study say they’re satisfied by the level of personalization they receive through loyalty programs!). In short, loyalty programs done right can be incredibly effective, and there’s much room for improvement, presenting an opportunity for brands in various sectors to out-reward their competitors and foster customer loyalty.
Map your customer marketing, sales, and support tactics to these over-arching strategies to create a customer experience that stands out from the ordinary and makes a lasting impression on your customers. Do it well, and your customers might just become those raving, loyal fans who can’t stop talking about your brand.