How to Create the Best Customer Experience Strategy: 27 Pro Tips
From building trust to understanding your buyers, there are tons of ways you can improve the customer experience. Here are our 27 pro tips.
Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer, eCommerce seller or any other type of sales pro, customer experience is one of the most important factors to company success. In fact, it can drive everything from retention to revenue to growth.
That’s because customer experience determines how buyers feel when shopping with you. If they have a positive experience, it stands to reason that they will come back and shop again (and might also post a great review or recommend you to their acquaintances). But if the encounter is negative, you can be sure they won’t return to your store, and will likely tell others about their dissatisfaction.
In order to provide a stellar experience to your shoppers, you need to put a game plan into place and make sure your entire team follows it. While this may seem daunting, implementing just a few best practices can have you well on your way to delighting customers and reaping the benefits. Here are our top 27 pro tips for creating the best customer experience strategy.
Understand Your Audience
Every great customer experience strategy starts with understanding your audience. After all, before you can make shoppers happy, you need to know what they’re looking for.
Get to know your customers by conducting thorough research into their wants and needs. Research buyer habits and trends. Analyze customer service interactions to gain a better knowledge of the kinds of questions they’re asking. Look into any topics or problems that come up frequently so you can address them.
Focus on Customer Needs
Once you have a better understanding of your audience, you can then focus on customer needs. Are shoppers frequently asking for a particular product? Try to stock that item more readily.
A recent example of companies focusing on customer needs is the way online sellers responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Countless eCommerce shops pivoted to offering “essential items” such as toilet paper, masks and shelf-stable food items so customers could obtain the things they needed without having to leave their homes.
But even without making a drastic change in your business plan, you can respond to customer needs more effectively. Just listen to your shoppers and adjust your approach in kind. This can involve everything from the products you offer to your website’s navigation.
Make It Easy to Be a Customer
When it comes to customer experience, the name of the game is convenience. If you want to offer your shoppers a great experience, you need to make it as easy as possible to be a customer of your brand.
You can do this by making your products easy to search and find, ensuring your website’s navigation is straightforward and communicating regularly about customers’ order status and shipping times.
Tend to Every Aspect of Your Customer Service
One great way to make being a customer easy is to tend to every aspect of your customer service. Comb through each facet and determine where your team needs to improve. Then you can implement the necessary changes in order to ensure that customers receive excellent service and support throughout their entire buying journey.
Streamline Customer Experience Processes
On that same note, in addition to addressing every corner of your customer service approach, you also need to attend to your other customer experience processes. Streamline the checkout system; improve your search functionality; create automated email workflows for each step of the order process. The point is to tweak every necessary factor of your business so customers enjoy an amazing experience each step of the way.
If you want to learn how best to improve the customer experience, go right to the source! By collecting user feedback, you can get answers directly from your customers about how to make shopping with your brand better.
There are a myriad of ways you can go about collecting feedback. You can email shoppers after they’ve placed an order, include a feedback link right on your website, invite customers to provide feedback at the end of customer service calls… The list goes on and on. To really do a deep dive into this subject, check out our full-length guide: 22 Ways to Collect User Feedback — The Ultimate Guide.
And once you’ve collected feedback, it’s time to implement it in ways that improve the customer experience. For example, if customers are telling you that the checkout process is too time-consuming, look into what your developers can do to streamline it. Or, if shoppers say your website is too convoluted or “busy,” do what you can to improve and clean up the interface and aesthetics.
Follow Online Conversations
Another great way to learn what shoppers are looking for is to follow online conversations. Look to social media and website forums in your industry to gain insight into the things your prospective customers are looking for (or any issues they’re having frequently).
And be especially sure to follow online for any conversations being had about your brand specifically. Customers may take to social media to complain about an issue with your company, rather than talking directly to your customer service team. By keeping your ear to the ground, you can stay ahead of problems and repair them quickly.
Create Buyer Personas
Once you’ve learned as much as you can about your customers’ habits and wants, you can create buyer personas to address their unique needs. For instance, a store that sells computers and electronics will have several different types of customers. So their buyer personas could include shoppers that run the gamut from “multi-million-dollar CEO who runs a business from home and needs the computing power to support them,” to “stay-at-home parent who just wants a dependable computer on which to browse and surf online.”
By creating buyer personas for every type of customer you serve, you can then craft customer experience strategies to meet all of their shopping and support needs.
Craft a Clear Mission & Vision
Before you can create and implement a great customer experience strategy, you need to have a clear mission and vision. Along with selling more products, what are you looking to do with your brand? Perhaps you’d like to build a name for your company as a trustworthy and honest brand in your industry. Whatever your mission and vision are, craft a clear message about them and communicate that message to your team and to the public.
When planning out your customer experience strategy, list the goals you’d like to accomplish. This will help your team tremendously when it’s time to decide which new processes to implement, as well as when analyzing whether your efforts have paid off.
For instance, if you want to improve webpage load times, list that as a specific goal. Other customer-experience-related goals could include everything from increasing your Amazon star rating to retaining more customers. Make your goals measurable, so you can keep up with how well your strategies are working out.
And whatever processes you put into place to improve customer experience, it’s important to document them. Failing to do so can cause your efforts to be disorganized, and can also make it difficult to keep up with progress.
By documenting your processes, you can keep your entire team on the same page and ensure everyone understands their role in any strategy you implement.
Want a creative way to improve customer experience? Try reverse engineering it. This may sound confusing, but it’s actually quite straightforward. By working backwards, you are simply starting out by determining the end result you want to see, and then figuring out what steps you need to take to make it happen.
For example, the end result you desire could be a 20% increase in customer retention. Start there and then look at the facets of your business you might need to hone or improve in order to reach that lofty goal.
Study Successful Competitors
As always, a great way to figure out how to craft a great customer experience strategy is to look at what your most successful competitors are doing. Is there a brand in your industry that seems to have the most loyal customer base? If so, there’s surely a reason for it. Perhaps they sell the best products at the best prices. Or maybe their website is especially easy to navigate. They might also employ a customer service team that goes above and beyond to ensure customer happiness.
The point is to figure out what the successful brands are doing right and then try to mimic that success for your brand.
Hone Your Brand Voice
Customers love shopping with companies that have a strong brand voice in the marketplace. If you can hone your brand voice well enough, you can create a sort of identity for both you and your loyal shoppers. Just look at Apple. Nearly every iPhone or Mac user is fiercely loyal to the brand because they have nailed their branding in the electronics marketplace (and because they are continually changing the tech landscape).
If you want customers to be more loyal, go out of your way to reward that loyalty! Offer frequent shopper discounts, membership rewards or other incentives for returning to your store. When customers know they will benefit by sticking with your brand, they will come back to your store again and again.
Utilize the Right Technology / Solutions
In order to make the customer experience as positive as possible, it is also important to utilize the right technology and solutions. Everything from where your eCommerce site is hosted to what software you use to stay on top of messaging can make a massive difference in how convenient it is for customers to shop with you.
Track Progress with Analytics
Once you’ve implemented various new processes to improve the shopping experience, you need to constantly track the progress with thorough analytics. Look at every facet to gauge the success of your efforts. Not only do analytics allow you to keep up with how well your strategies are paying off, they also enable you to make adjustments to your approach whenever necessary.
Adapt & Optimize Frequently
And on the subject of analytics, to keep your strategies moving along as successfully as possible, you need to adapt and optimize your tactics frequently. It stands to reason that not every idea you have will work out, and that’s okay. Make the changes you need to make and be flexible. Customer experience will always be a work in progress, so you will need to continually optimize your processes to be as effective as they can be.
Offer Live Chat
One thing most customers have in common is that they want their questions answered as soon as they ask them. That’s why you can greatly improve customer experience by offering live chat support on your website. This enables you to answer questions in real-time, effectively addressing customer queries on the spot and closing more sales.
Another great way to keep shoppers happy while they’re on your website is to offer self-service options. This lets customers take care of many of their needs on their own, ensuring an easy and convenient buying journey. Just a few self-service examples include:
- FAQ pages.
- Help docs.
- How-to instructions.
- Item search functionality.
- Online sizing charts.
Give Customers Choices
One more thing that most customers have in common is a desire for choices. By giving shoppers plenty of different options, you are showing your brand’s dedication to meeting the unique needs of each individual. At the same time, you are building a reputation for your brand as one that can address a wide range of demographics and wants.
When addressing customer experience, it is crucial to build trust in your industry. There is no trick to this approach. You can simply build trust by being an honest brand that conducts itself with integrity in every situation. Sometimes, this may even mean telling customers something that they don’t want to hear.
For instance, if shipping is slower than usual, don’t promise shoppers that they will receive their orders quickly. Instead, be upfront with them about the reasons for the delays and let them know you are doing everything you can to get their items to them expediently. Most customers will appreciate this honesty and will remember your store for it in the future.
Hire the Best Employees
Providing the best customer experience possible starts with hiring the best employees. When you are interviewing new store associates or customer service representatives, look for individuals who are dedicated to making customers happy. A few other good traits to hire for include:
- Ability to learn about products / processes.
- Conversation skills.
- Professional demeanor.
Continually Train Staff
Once you have the right staff in place, you also need to provide continual training. This is especially true as your processes change or adapt due to new customer experience strategies. Make sure your team members are not only aware of any new strategies being implemented, but are also fully trained on how to play their part in them.
Recognize Good Employee Performance
And if you have certain employees who are going above and beyond to improve the customer experience, be sure to recognize them for a job well done. Offer bonuses, extra days off, company-wide kudos or other props to let them know that you see and appreciate the job they’re doing to keep shoppers happy.
Respond to Messages Quickly
Finally, perhaps the most important facet in improving customer experience is to respond to messages quickly. Customers don’t want to wait days for answers to their questions. In fact, taking too long to respond can most certainly cost you a sale.
If you’re a multi-channel eCommerce seller, this is where messaging software can really come in handy. For instance, Replyco centralizes all of your messages into one easy-to-use inbox.
If you’d like to learn more about how Replyco can help you respond to messages in minutes rather than hours or days, take a tour of our features. Or get control of your messaging right now by starting your free, no-risk trial today! And as always, if you have any questions about how to improve your approach to customer inquiries, feel free to reach out to us any time.