Once upon a time, not too long ago, customers preferred brands that offered fantastic discounts and offers. Not anymore.
Clearly, there's a tectonic shift in the customer' as well as the brand's mindsets, to define what acts as a competitive differentiator today.
We have four words for you: "Customer experience is the new battleground." And rightly so.
More and more brands have started focusing on delivering a stellar customer experience which, believe it or not, customers are ready to pay more for:
"86% of buyers will pay more for great customer experience."
Clearly, as an entrepreneur, your efforts into enhancing customer experience makes logical and financial sense. In this blog, we will look at the top-7 ways to improve your customer experience so that you can become a successful entrepreneur. Are you pumped?
When it comes to customer service, it helps to be present where your customers are - be it social media platforms, physical stores, online portals, etc.
However, some companies like Tesla are reaching out to customers - literally - to provide a convenience-driven service. Here's a mind-boggling example of a Tesla Servicing Van which:
Here's what Twitter user Chris Kern had to say about Tesla's service van:
What's interesting to note is that delivering a seamless customer experience doubles up as an opportunity for kick-starting real conversations on social media about your brand. You can think of the above as an excellent example of user-generated content gone right.
As an entrepreneur, these small-yet-significant milestones can act as a catalyst for your brand.
Social media is for liking posts, browsing new products, and sharing feedback. Right? Well, yes and no. With users revolutionizing the shopping process and going online, brands are leveraging social media platforms to understand their user's needs better and solve issues in real-time.
For example, a sports goods retailer, Orvis, is a master when it comes to embracing an integrated, omnichannel strategy. Here's how the brand approached this concept:
1. It makes use of first-party data to zero in on its 'ideal' target audience—affluent customers aged 50-and-older.
2. This led to the realization that the target audience, while not digitally-savvy, still demonstrates a genuine interest in using eCommerce tools.
3. The solution? Orvis gave their employees tablets that came with a pre-installed CRM tool. In terms of the functionalities, the employees can use the tablet to order out-of-stock products, charge customers for purchases, provide guidance, among other things.
Key takeaway: Using an omnichannel strategy improves customer experience and also helps gather critical data about the customers - thanks to the CRM tools in use. Based on the information gathered, employees can segment loyal customers to target smarter. Plus, they can also analyze key touch-points in a user's shopping journey with a brand (think: analyzing shopping habits, purchase history, etc.) to capture insights and roll out more effective deals, offers, and discounts.
Truth be told, every time someone mentions chatbot - a robot-like image springs up in mind. What follows is a dull conversation - filled with jargon and one-worders that can drive the user up the wall.
Luckily, this is no longer the case. Chatbot today has transformed into multi-functional conversational agents that are assisting users in a wide variety of tasks - from solving FAQ-type issues in real-time to helping customers shop online.
All in all, offering customer support via chatbots and live chat tools is gaining steady momentum. According to Mindbowser, "95% of consumers believe 'customer service' is going to be the major beneficiary of chatbots." But what's driving this change? Perhaps it's instant support. Seamless convenience. 24x7 availability. Cost-effectiveness. Or all of the above!
Here's a real-life example of H&M’s chatbot which acts as every shopper's personal stylist:
Notice how the bot interacts with the customer to gather data about their preference, needs, etc. so that it can offer custom-made choices. In fact, personalizing the shopping experience improves overall customer satisfaction. That's not all. The most innovative and applauded bots come with a witty/humorous/friendly personality and use emojis, GIFs, images, etc. to talk to users in their language (quite literally).
Key takeaway: Chatbots offer unparalleled speed and convenience - both of which are well-tolerated by customers. Plus, it acts as a knowledge base, empowering users to self-serve.
In today's competitive landscape, fulfilling user expectations won't make the cut; brands need to exceed user expectations.
One example that's set a high benchmark in this regard is Trader Joe's. Here's how the tale goes:
The daughter of an 89-year-old man wanted groceries and food items for his father in Pennsylvania, who was snowed in. Despite making numerous calls, none of the nearby grocery stores were willing to deliver in such bad weather. When she called up Trader Joe's, at first, the brand refused to deliver as well since it wasn't the store policy. However, taking into account the gravity of the situation, the store:
Key takeaway: Here's an important lesson that the Trader Joe's story teaches us: Brands today are going the extra mile - literally in this case - to cater to customer's needs and address their pain-points. Despite its non-delivery store policy, the brand overstepped red tape issues to do what is right - with great results. Don't you agree?
User feedback comes in all shapes, sizes, forms, and, in this case, age.
The supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, took the advice from a 3-year-old! Here's how that happened:
Lily Robinson, with assistance from her parents, wrote to the brand about how one of their signature bread - Tiger Bread - resembled a 'giraffe' and not a tiger.
The brand, to everyone's surprise, changed the name of the bread acknowledging the customer along the way:
Here's what you can learn from this example:
A. The brand understands the importance of listening to customers and, better still, implementing their feedback as long as it makes sense.
B. The brand knows how to have a little bit of fun, engaging users all the way! It is these kinds of 'everyday-experiences' that make customers connect with and relate to brands on a deeper level.
C. Finally, spotting unusual opportunities like these and acting on them can make all the difference between a good and a great CX.
What do you think?
Acquiring new customers is good, but retaining old and loyal customers is even better. Whether you look at it from a cost point-of-view or from a customer happiness perspective, it is a win-win situation for all.
Consider the case of Gaylord Opryland for a moment:
One of their regular customers - Christina McMenemy - found an unusual liking to an alarm clock in her hotel room. The catch was that it played a light, spa-like music that allowed her to sleep like a baby. Her love for the clock compelled her to write to the resort to which the hotel responded as follows:
Unable to find the exact same model, she put her clock-finding quest to rest. When she returned to her room (from a Conference for which she was staying in the hotel), she pleasantly found herself in the company of two spa clocks and a letter with her name on it:
Needless to say, the brand had 'earned' a customer for life. Here's what Christina had to say about this surreal experience (and we couldn't agree more):
“You reaffirmed that there are still companies out there focused on great service, and you’ve made a lifelong fan out of me.”
Key takeaway: When you think about it, the art of retaining a customer is deceivingly simple and costs peanuts. After all, it is the thoughtfulness and gesture by the brand that counts - which you can't really put a price tag on!
One of the most unusual CX strategies, this one takes the cake. For this point, we're going to have to look at Ritz Carlton's CX policy.
If you, at some point or another, have wondered if Ritz Carlton's customer service is really worth the hype, you're not alone. The following example will make things crystal-clear:
One of the hotel's customers, Chris Hurn, was in quite a fix. His son had left his favorite stuffed giraffe, “Joshie,” in their hotel room. In order to console his bawling son, the father confessed - Joshie was just staying at the hotel for an extended vacation. He then called the staff at the Ritz and explained the story word to word.
In a surprising turn of events, the hotel staff sent the son a series of pictures with Joshie enjoying his vacation. Unbelievable, right? Take a look for yourself:
Joshie's Staff Card - Image Source
At this point, it's natural to wonder why the brand went to such great lengths to create a story for a customer who wasn't even staying at their hotel anymore. We have two words for you: customer experience.
Ritz Carlton, as a brand, understands that people love stories. After all, stories come with an emotional connect that brands can leverage to connect with users in an intimate and unforgettable capacity. Plus, a little bit of effort and creativity goes a long way toward attaining goodwill among customers.
Most examples demonstrated above sound too good to be true, and they are. But that's exactly what customer experience should be about - unforgettable experiences that communicate a brand's ethos and delight customers - all at the same time.
The idea is to go all-out and make your customers your priority by using:
Do you think you've got an appetite for risk and creativity to deliver an extraordinary CX? We sure hope so.
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