Customers are presented with so much choice in the way they shop, communicate and interact with brands. They have a wealth of options at their disposal, from smart devices in the home, to the technology they keep in their pockets. Brands have to be smarter than ever to drive a seamless experience across all their channels, optimizing the mobile experience and effectively targeting shoppers. As the customer journey continues to twist and turn and with services specifically built to empower consumers – such as price comparison sites and apps – brands can be researched in a matter of minutes and consumers are increasingly confident in the purchases they make.
Differentiating purely on price is another huge challenge for brands and with apps like ‘Wish’ we’re seeing increasing competition from global markets. Businesses need to focus on what they can do to add value to their customers’ lives, delivering exceptional experiences and harnessing emotion to create meaningful connections.
As customer expectations continue to rise, we’ve identified 5 ways you can go above and beyond for your customers.
Brands and businesses need to stand out from the crowd
One of the key things you can do to differentiate, is to prioritize both your customer experience and your employee experience. Think about the service or product you offer and how you manage customer or employee expectations. Is the on-boarding process seamless and quick? Do you utilize a channel that’s ‘always listening’? Can your customers and employees tell you how they feel after an interaction with your product or service?
With 1 in 3 customers stating they will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, and 92% say they would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions. it’s increasingly important to create a journey without friction to keeps customer effort low.
The priority for every brand and business is to provide a superior customer experience that will differentiate you from your competition. It all starts with getting the basics right first though, there’s no shortcut to the finish line. This will ensure a successful future for your brand and shed light on all the areas you need to focus on to continue to this success. Remember the intrinsic link between employee and customer engagement as you push this initiative, and you’ll reap the rewards.
Never forget the power of people
There’s a reason Monzo won ‘Best Overall Bank’ in 2020, with 5 out of 5 stars and 89% of users saying they would recommend their service. Their seamless onboarding, great in-app user experience and a Trustpilot score of 4.5 stars, shows Monzo clearly understand what a customer-centric business should look like.
It’s clear in their approach that they aren’t using elaborate methods to drive results, they simply understand how to get the basics right. They recognize and value the soft skills, like having knowledgeable, polite, and friendly advisors – the things that people want when they reach out to your brand. They ensure the majority of tasks can be achieved in-app and customer effort is kept to a minimum. In the event that things don’t happen the way they should, they go above and beyond to look after the customer to keep them happy and this is reflected in the customer satisfaction scores they have received.
The key is making sure that things are working in a way that your customers want and expect, this is just one way you can start to build trust. If they want to make changes to their account, make a payment, or view their recent bill then the process is smooth and straightforward. Another way to think about it is like a basic hygiene factor, nobody notices if the office kitchen is clean, but they notice straight away if it’s dirty and untidy.
“People connect with things they trust and find safe, transparency helps this. Don’t be afraid to show customers how you’re doing, regardless of score, it helps to drive meaningful change. If new strategies don’t start with the customer then we need to consider if we’re really working on the right things.”
– Paul Instrell, Sales & Marketing Director, Calor
Truly add value to the relationships you have with your customers
Imagine if a brand reached out to you to offer something of value, they could make you aware of a new promotion built from your previous purchases or past behavior, saving you money, or alternatively they could help educate you around upcoming changes to your account or service so there’s no confusion.
Businesses are realizing the benefits of adding value to the relationships they have with their customers, and using any applicable channel such as email, SMS and voice are cost-effective and cost-saving tools to do this. In a post-GDPR world, it is easier for customers to opt-out of communication, so brands need to give their customers a reason to opt in. They need to demonstrate the value of keeping these communication channels open, so they are creating a dialogue that improves their customer’s experience.
We know that DPD use text messaging to confirm delivery slots, this keeps the customer in the loop and starts a dialogue, asking the customer if they need to change their delivery slot – ensuring they make life easier for the customer.
Don’t throw away customer or employee insight
30% of UK marketers aren’t using the feedback they collect on customer’s product satisfaction/feedback. This rises to 42% for US marketers. There’s no point in asking for feedback unless Customers want to know that their feedback has been considered and how it will be actioned, this is what we refer to when we talk about ‘Closing The Loop’. Make sure that you acknowledge your customers’ comments and ideas by taking action, improving your products or services and communicating back any changes you’ve made. If you do this at scale, you’ll see a huge uplift in customer loyalty asthey’ll feel like you actually listened and this is a huge driver for customer satisfaction.
Most brands are effective in gathering feedback but quite weak on getting any follow up action from the insight. When you map out your program it’s essential that you have a clear process in place as to how you will prioritize the insight you’ve surfaced and then how you’ll filter this through to leadership. Once it’s in their hands there should be a structure for how follow up communications will be handled, allowing you to close the loop by setting customer expectations.
The same goes for your internal employee engagement programs, if you go out to employees and solicit feedback and they see little action, you’re likely to do more damage than good to your culture. You need a plan of action, and you need accountability to ensure that you drive a truly customer-centric business.
Deliver the unexpected – what customers don’t even know they want!
When you’ve got the basics down (which is no small feat as we’ve discussed), you’re in a position where you can start looking at delighting your customers and going above and beyond the basics. The way to do this is to deliver what the customer didn’t even know they wanted and needed.
It’s a real challenge to get to this stage and we believe that most brands still have serious work to do around the basics. For those of you that have cracked it, this relies on being able to anticipate what your customers are likely to want and need, based on what you already know about them. This is about measuring customer emotion and understanding the feelings of your customer base, the different concerns that each customer segment has and make sure the service proposition is tailored to what the customer needs.
To deliver the unexpected, you need a concrete understanding of your customer journeys and their key touch points with your brand. Otherwise, your efforts to delight could easily miss the mark. Most brands are still working towards building block one or two, where the focus is about delivering consistent and reliable service. But, understanding where you can progress to and work towards will help you to shape and build your offering, both now and in the future.
Unlock the secret of harnessing emotion to predict customer behavior and improve CX and see how you can engage, service, and recover customers to ensure great brand experiences. Speak to a member of the team today.