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A few months ago I needed to buy a new phone. The first place I checked out had a price that was just about what I had in mind. But I didn’t really like the way I was treated. The price was right, but I still chose to check out another vendor because of my experience there.
This new vendor had a slightly higher price but they made me comfortable and the attendant even threw a few jokes that made me laugh. They even made me wait a few more minutes because they didn’t have the color I wanted, so they had to get it from their second store.
I waited, happily. And the next time I want to buy a new phone, I will still go back there.
Did I buy that phone from them because their price was the lowest? No. Did I buy it because they had the best phones? No. The only reason they “got” me and the only reason the other company “lost” me was because of the experience I got while buying the phone.
According to this research done by NewVoiceMedia, “an estimated $62 billion is lost by U.S. businesses each year following bad customer experiences.”
Millions of customers make buying decisions every day not just because of price, but because of the experience they get in the process of buying.
In fact, this study by Gartner shows that “When it comes to making a purchase, 64% of people find customer experience more important than price.”
This is 2019, and paying attention to customer experience (CX) can drive more sales to your business than it has ever done. Simply put, customer experience is the sum total of how your customers perceive the way your company treats them. And below are three futuristic ways you can improve on it today.
1. Invest in a Good CRM software
According to Gartner, by 2021, “CRM will be the largest revenue area of spending in enterprise software.” This means that if you are serious about remaining in business in the next few years, you need a strategy for the future: CRM.
A CRM software, “is a tool that helps you manage customer data and offer streamlined customer services across your business.”
It will give every member of your team – from marketing, sales, recruiting, business development and customer service – a most wonderful way of managing the external relationships and interactions that will drive the success of your business.
This software will store every aspect of your customer relationship details into a database that can be easily accessed by your customer support, marketing and sales team so they can have all the information they need about each customer when they need it.
2. Incorporate the use of Artificial Intelligence
Gartner predicts that by 2020, about 85% of customer interactions will be managed by virtual agents like chatbots. The future is already here, so you need to incorporate that immediately.
A chatbot can improve CX by:
a. Helping your customers to learn about your services and products by getting the information directly for them from a related product page.
b. Interacting with your customers directly like real humans.
c. Being polite enough to manage angry customers and give them measured responses.
d. Minimizing the effort and the time it would have taken for a customer’s issue to be resolved.
e. Providing quick responses to queries from customers and leaving them with overall better experience.
3. Be proactive in satisfying your customers’ needs
Every customer has needs and they want those needs to be satisfied. To be able to satisfy your customers, you may have to be proactive at times. This means that you have to ask for feedback from them after making their purchases.
Provide a lot of avenues for them to give this feedback. And when they do, take it seriously. To improve the experience your customer will have, you must be willing to hear about when your company fell short. Even if they decide to stop doing business with you, make it a priority to find out why. Being proactive involves responding to their feedback and using the information you get to improve the experience they will get the next time.
Proactivity can equally mean speed. According to Metasaas, up to 31% of SaaS licenses don’t get used. So the earlier you fix the roadblocks for your customers, the better for your business generally.
This means you must always get the necessary data about where your customers could experience obstacles. This will help you and your team members to prevent user frustration for the customers and also smoothen over any form of pain they could likely experience in their journey.
Lastly, to be proactive, make the time they spend on your website seamless. No customer wants to be distracted by annoying ads that could lead them out of your website. You need to grow your traffic and not lose it. And they don’t want to go through a difficult process while trying to make a purchase. Neither do they want to land on an irrelevant or an unavailable page.
Being proactive means taking care of these needs in advance so as to improve a customer’s experience and make them feel valued.
At the end of the day, everything you are doing is for the customer, and improving their experience should be a priority, because according to McKinsey,
“Today’s consumers do not buy just products or services — more and more, their purchase decisions revolve around buying into an idea and an experience.”