Customer experience is a core driver of business growth today. The way a business interacts with its customers is vital for strengthening relationships, enhancing branding, and creating repeat customers that return to your business time and again.
But when it comes to improving your customer experience, where can you go to learn how to do it right? Read on to discover some easy ways you can learn more about customer experience, with actionable takeaways you can implement today.
Scope out your competition (and do it better)
Delivering a stellar customer experience is just as important as nailing your marketing and providing great products. You’ve got to beat your competition at every step of the way. But don’t go in blind — why not use your competition as inspiration for your own customer experience strategy?
Head to your competitors’ websites and check out their homepage, about us and product pages and identify features that particularly resonate. Spend some time trawling their social profiles too, looking at how they interact with their customers online. You could even buy a product from them yourself and analyse the process to see what works (and what doesn’t).
Create a document on each of your major competitors and break down their various channels: website, social, email, and so on. Highlight what they do best and do it better, and identify what they fail at — then do that better too.
Find inspiration in the offline sphere
Online businesses are flourishing now more than ever, but that doesn’t mean that brands should forget the value of brick-and-mortar stores. The real-world shopping experience is a fecund source of inspiration for your own customer experience.
Head to your high street and dip in and out of stores. Identify features that are particularly effective. Is there a killer storefront window? Or are there some personal touches to the shelves that really elevate the customer experience?
For example, I always think of how nice it is when staff members at bookstores leave handwritten notes on the shelves explaining why they recommend particular books. They’re personal and human, and really add to the in-store experience.
Once you’ve found features that particularly resonate (and those that don’t), think about how you can translate them into your online store. Not all of them will be possible, but with a little creativity you can replicate a stellar offline experience in your online store. For one example, IgnitePost offers a handwritten note service, allowing you to go the extra mile for customers.
Eavesdrop on your customers on social media
Social media is one of the best ways to learn more about customer experience. With so many diverse social platforms playing host to such a wide variety of consumers, it’s a fecund source for examples of customer experience at work.
Social listening is a useful way of identifying what elements matter to shoppers when it comes to a positive customer experience. Tracking what your customers say about your brand on social is the equivalent of eavesdropping, giving you their unfiltered opinions about your customer experience.
Ideally, you’ll already have the functionality in place to sell through social channels (i.e. accepting orders directly from Facebook), making it a lot easier to link pieces of feedback with specific sales and value the feedback accordingly. If you don’t run your store on a multi-channel platform, consider switching to a platform with native social selling.
However you gather it, the insight you get from social will be a mixed bag: some customers will be full of praise, while others will be less effusive. Not only is this inevitable, but it’s also a good thing. In fact, it’s the latter who will best inform your customer experience strategy — simply turn customer criticism into actionable advice that you can implement in your strategy.
Hear it straight from the horse’s mouth
The best way to learn more about customer experience? Hear about it straight from the horse’s mouth — your customers.
You’d be remiss if you didn’t involve your own valued shoppers in your customer experience development. They provide genuine feedback tailored to your current strategy, helping you finesse your customer experience by putting your shoppers first.
Your thank-you emails are a great way to source customer feedback. Send a thank-you email to your customers at every opportunity, whether it’s after their first purchase or after a successful referral. Request their feedback after each transaction, offering them a freebie or discount code in return for their honest input.
Collate your responses into a spreadsheet and highlight elements that come up repeatedly. Once you’ve collected this data, act on it. Keep on requesting feedback long after you’ve implemented the changes to measure their efficacy.
Customer experience is the foundation of a successful business. When it comes to improving your own customer experience strategy, there’s no shortage of sources for inspiration. Follow the tips above and start building a customer experience that stays with your shoppers for days.