I’ve been thinking a lot about making improvements recently, and in the article ‘Six areas of your business you can always improve upon’, we touched on customer experience…

‘This can boil down to communications. A good customer experience is one that may lead to referrals and advocacy, so you can always find a way to improve on that.’

Customer experience is more than customer service. Service implies the direct contact you or one of your departments has with a customer, whereas experience is what helps the customer form an opinion of you possibly without ever making a purchase or speaking with you.

Here I’m thinking about seven particular ways you could improve customer experience that will inevitably improve revenue.

1.      A clear and easy to navigate website

A website is vital as a place for people to learn more about your services and products, prices and processes in their own time. It’s a tool for converting viewers into buyers and one-time purchasers into repeat customers. It’s a content management system that contains high value information and advice at no cost so it’s imperative that your website is easy to navigate and has a clear ‘journey’ for your customer to follow.

Your web designer or marketing strategist may be able to help you decipher your customer’s website journey from Google Analytics, and once you know how people are using your website currently, you can look for un-necessary button clicks or pages that can be removed or improved.

TIP: Even writing out a flow chart from your customers’ perspective as they navigate the website will give you some insight.

2.      Welcoming and useful social media content

Social media may be the first experience your customer has of your brand, especially if they’re responding to a recommendation from a group or friend, or if you’ve sponsored content through ads. Is your content welcoming, useful, engaging? Is it projecting your brand voice appropriately?

Bear in mind, organic social media is less likely to convert your viewer into a buyer than a website, so the conversion you’re aiming for here is to turn them into a website visitor. You can try quizzes, free downloads or offering a solution following a quick questionnaire to do this – or simply asking them to read the new article! Just don’t forget to make it easy for them to act.

TIP: Social media is great for creating emotional connections with your audience. Posts are time relevant and can expand on the strictly-brand messaging of the website, giving greater insight into the human beings behind the brand.

3.      Make social media advertising personal and seamless

Or you could use social media ads to convert your viewers into buyers. If you do this, be sure to enhance the customer experience by personalising the ads through a solid buyer persona, targeting and relevant content. And always write a specific landing page that is hosted on your website, to make this part of the journey seamless.

TIP: The specific landing page can be a blog, and it’s a great place to host terms and conditions if your advert contains a competition.

4.      Ask for customer feedback

Don’t be scared to ask for feedback! Yes, sometimes you’ll get less than favourable responses, but this is how we learn and improve, and that’s the aim here. There are many ways you can gather feedback. Depending on the size of your business and customer base, you could outsource to a telemarketing company, use an online form or call or email them directly.

TIP: How you react and what you do after receiving the feedback is an all-important part of the customer experience. Be prepared to follow up with phone calls or emails to ensure they aren’t left in the dark. This could also be a useful touchpoint in your sales process.

5.      Identify where improvements can be made on the customer journey

Having received feedback from your customers about their experience of your business, you must act to make improvements, or you risk the exercise becoming a task that wasted your time and money, and telling your customers that you didn’t really care after all.

Write the new website content, add the virtual assistant or booking platform, add auto responses to your Facebook page, even shorten your email address so it’s simpler to type! Just act…

TIP: With continual customer experience improvement, comes better and more customer reviews. Optimise your Google Business Profile and use the link to build those reviews. You can put it behind a QR code on your invoices or email the link with receipts. When you’re confident with your reviews, you can add a live feed to your website to help grow trust.

6.      Identify training needs for yourself or your employees

Early on in the customer experience, you’re likely to be found online, or for your shop front to be seen from the pavement or road. Where the feedback you’ve gathered becomes really valuable though, is to help you identify the strengths and opportunities within your team following direct contact.

Now we’re talking customer service; presentation, attitude, openness to listen and positive body language.

TIP: Rather than assessing quality of service to suggest improvement, you could take this further and create a framework that tracks and recognises the development of team members. Are tactics like eLearning, mentorship (external or internal), or group training opportunities within your scope?

7.      Ask your customers again!

Having asked them what improvements could be made to their experience, and followed up by acting on those recommendations, it’s now time to find out if your investment has paid off.

This is a key action, as the customer relationship changes at different parts of the customer journey, as do their expectations and their requirements.

Also, this is a good opportunity for you to explain how the business has improved for customers, and to ask them if they would recommend you and leave a review.

So, customer experience is more than service, it encompasses the entirety of the customer journey, from awareness to advocacy. There are multiple points along the customer journey at which you can stop and analyse the experience and I’d like to support you in the improvement and help you grow revenue through those improvements. If you’d like to talk about your customers’ experience or sense-check an idea, then I’d love to hear from you.

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