Customers keep your business rolling along. Yet the average consumer has become increasingly finicky since 2020. To keep buyers coming back, you have to give them an experience beyond expectations.
This probably doesn’t surprise you, especially if you’re involved in your company’s sales, marketing, or support verticals. As recent research from Frost & Sullivan shows, 98% of customer service professionals expect their business’s customer experiences to look much different within two years. And there’s good reason to make this change sooner rather than later with promises of the metaverse changing the very fabric of the shopper-store relationship.
Of course, there are other, more immediate, reasons to overhaul your customer experience. The first is that consumers are inching closer toward brand agnosticism. According to an international survey, 40% of buyers said they switched brands during the past 24 months. The second reason is that making even small tweaks based on incoming feedback shows you’re listening and care about your fans’ needs.
In other words, you can’t go wrong by reexamining the customer journey you offer shoppers. Below are four places that are good starting points when it comes to making positive, lasting impressions on consumers.
1. Returns and Refunds Processing
Practically every buyer has had a negative experience when trying to make an item return or exchange. It’s even more frustrating when buying online because there’s no face-to-face engagement.
Rather than forcing your customers to deal with friction-filled returns, aim to make the process as smooth as you can. One solution could be to outsource your returns via your preferred third-party logistics (3PL) partner. A complete e-commerce solution like Tradefull can help you develop a streamlined reverse logistics process. For example, Tradefull works with online sellers to accept returns and then alert their customer support when the returns have been processed via shared technology. Accordingly, the customer support team can provide the customer with a refund or ensure that a replacement or alternative item is sent right away.
Even if you have the greatest product in the world, you’re going to have returns. Don’t make them difficult. The fewer obstacles your buyers encounter when sending back unwanted merchandise, the greater the likelihood they’ll purchase more from your shop.
2. Prices and Discounts
The price of consumer goods keeps rising, much to the dismay of consumers. This is causing massive churn, particularly for businesses selling foods and beverages. Imagine the impact that you could have on prospective shoppers’ customer experience if you could lower prices on some of your items. Truly, lower prices are an anomaly in the marketplace.
How can you accept lower prices without bruising your profit margins? You get creative. Initially, look at your supply chain and procurement roadmaps. Are there any places to renegotiate with vendors or otherwise cut down on costs? For instance, would it make sense to order raw materials from a different provider? As long as the raw materials were of a comparable or higher caliber to what you’re currently using, you may benefit from the swap.
Another way to offer price reductions is by creating a subscription program. Use Amazon Prime as an example of how to make this work. Amazon Prime subscription members receive a wide range of discounts including free shipping, faster shipping, and access to coupons. Repeat customers pay for the privilege of being Prime members, which allows Amazon to enjoy a passive stream of revenue that offsets the discounts received by those members.
A subscription model like Amazon’s may or may not work for what you sell. Nevertheless, your team can only win more buyers’ attention by showering consumers with opportunities to save.
3. Social Media
If you’re like most companies, you have some type of social media presence. When was the last time you revisited a marketing campaign on an untapped social media site, though? Plenty of companies forget that emerging platforms can be a valuable avenue to reaching a wider audience.
To be sure, you can’t just repurpose your Facebook or Twitter content for use on TikTok or Instagram. You’ll need to do a little research and come up with messaging strategies that work on each site. Case in point: TikTok is all about short, buzzworthy videos. Most videos include some kind of musical angle.
Traditional commercials don’t sell on TikTok, however. You’ll have to come up with a lightning focus like Vessi, the maker of stylish, waterproof shoes, has done. The company’s TikTok submissions mix fun with a bit of light sales tactics. As a result, they resonate well with watchers and fit right in with TikTok’s modern, young vibe.
Whether it’s Snapchat geofilters or Instagram takeovers, give the social platforms you’re not using a second look. You can’t assume that your target market isn’t on one, either. Instagram’s average user tops out at age 34. That’s probably older than you might have assumed and flies in the face of the assumption that Instagram’s mainly for teens.
Does your product’s packaging turn heads? Perhaps it should. Imaginative, forward-thinking packaging designs can transform the customer experience in a great way. Can you remember the last time you were impressed by the way an item was packaged? If not, you can imagine how differentiated your company could be if you rethought your packing and shipping.
Best of all, you can use your packaging to support your brand’s purpose. Cosmetics company Victorialand Beauty has positioned itself as the premier skincare brand that serves up packaging created with the sight-impaired in mind. All bottles and tubes include raised or indented symbols to ensure the package is “readable” with a touch.
Finca de la Rica winery takes the idea of packaging a step further. Each bottle’s label includes an interactive puzzle or word game. It’s a clever approach to get people to buy more bottles, particularly for gift-giving purposes.
Not sure you’re able to support a new package or redesign for your goods? When you send merchandise to customers, consider sending a thank-you note or other printed pack-in along, too. Unexpected surprises like those are always appropriate. They help your company stand out without adding too much extra burden to your team members.
In today’s post-pandemic world where startups are blooming every day, your business’s customer experience deserves an upgrade to maintain your market position. Set aside time to look for gaps in the customer journey. When you find some, replace them with solutions that encourage consumers to stay loyal to your brand and its offerings.
Image credit: Ron Lach; Pexels