The customer experience is often considered an intangible, qualitative metric for business owners. However, it has real, quantitative effects on your company.
A good customer experience is reflected in your retention rates, your referrals, and increased spending. In fact, 2019 data from Gartner found that “CX drives over two-thirds of customer loyalty, outperforming brand and price combined.”
While improving the customer experience can grow your revenue, you might not have a large budget to invest in it. Instead of spending more, check out these five unique (and no-cost) ways to improve your customer experience.
1. Build Your Brand Around Their Pain Points
Too often, companies develop marketing materials based on the company and its capabilities. As you develop your marketing materials, turn your messaging on its head by focusing on your customer instead.
The team at Core DNA provided several examples of customer pain points from an eCommerce perspective to consider. For example, the customer might want a product that lasts a long time so they don’t have to replace it after a few months or years. With this information, an eCommerce brand can focus on promoting the quality of their products and create a stronger sense of value.
Tweak your marketing to address these pain points, but also do your research to understand them. It can be dangerous to make assumptions about what you think your customers want or feel.
2. Leverage Complementary Business Partnerships
No business is an island, and you can help your customers by recommending quality professionals and companies that you trust. For example, a wedding planner or caterer often has a list of their favorite photographers and furniture rental companies to pass on to clients. This makes the hiring process easier for the engaged couple and builds community relationships.
You can also work with people within the same industry to form complementary partnerships. For example, if a job is too big (or too small) for your company, you can refer a client to a company that can handle the work.
“If we are unable to obtain an excellent result to settle a client’s case I partner with other attorneys who have dedicated their practice to litigation and trial,” says Scott J. Corwin, Attorney and President of Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation. “That type of practice is generally a larger firm with the financial resources to advance costs which could be in the tens of thousands or more for each client.”
This is more effective than botching the job and creates a channel where these companies can refer clients to you.
3. Train Your Team Members to Collect Customer Feedback
If there’s one key skill your employees need to have, it’s how to listen. Listening can help them solve problems and take action to help your customers.
Work with your team members on their listening skills so they can better collect customer feedback. This includes teaching them to:
- Ask key questions
- Evaluate body language
- Take suggestions from upset customers
A customer may not have time to fill out a survey two days after working with you, but they can give your team members an earful in the moment—and it’s your team’s job to use that as an opportunity to collect data on how to improve.
4. Act Upon Customer Complaints and Suggestions
Feedback is only as useful as the changes you make from it. If you’re collecting customer surveys and employee comments, only to ignore them all, what’s the point?
“People want to be heard—they want their feedback to be acknowledged,” says Tobias Thalbäck, CEO at SolidSport. He continues, “They want to know that the time they invested sharing feedback meant something and was acted on.”
As you collect feedback, get intentional about analyzing the data, asking questions like:
- What comments or complaints do we get most often?
- Why do customers cancel?
- What words or phrases do they use when talking about our product?
All of this can inform your marketing and customer experience efforts. Remember, when you make these changes, announce them. You either reach out to a customer directly to let them know of the change or communicate with your audience on a large scale about how you used their feedback.
5. Audit Your Customer Experience Frequently
Customer behavior changes over time. For example, it’s unlikely that the desires, priorities, or financial situations of your customers are the same now as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why it’s critical to audit your customer experience and learn how the behavior of your target audience has changed. This will keep your agile and help you stay ahead of the pack in your brand messaging.
To dig into how to do a successful customer experience audit, McKinsey and Co. created a guide that evaluates what customers expect from brands and how companies can evaluate the customer journey. One of their key points is to quantify what matters to your customers; understand what frustrates them most, for example, to create an experience they appreciate.
Tie Your Customer Experience to All of Your Operational Efforts
Your business can’t improve the customer experience overnight, but you can form partnerships and train your team members within a few days. There’s always room to improve your customer experience, and most customers are vocal about what they like and don’t like. All you have to do is listen, analyze and implement—no extra budget needed.