5 Surefire Ways to Improve Customer Experience this 2014

Last week Thomas blogged about improving Customer Service as one of the keys to business success this 2014. The obvious fact is, the customer is at the core of every business. They’re the ones who consume your products and services, and if they love you, they’re also, indirectly, your most effective marketing arm.
That being said, businesses have to pay even more attention to Customer Service and Customer Experience (CX) this year and beyond. Taking it from top industry experts, here are 5 ways to improve Customer Experience this 2014:

1. Know your customers’ issues, and resolve them QUICK!

Oberweis Dairy - Customer Experience

Salesforce wrote this article about tapping into the fundamentals of a good customer experience. “It’s not social customer service that people want. It’s the quick resolution to their issues.” Although people are enamored by the fun, shiny objects that are gadgets and viral content, it’s getting the fundamentals right that grabs the attention of buying customers.
This article cites as an example St. Louis-based Oberweis Dairy, and how they were able to find a solution to one of the pain points of their customers. The problem was the long line of customers coming in, and the slow ordering process that caused some impatient customers to leave. As they addressed this problem, they found a way to minimize the customers’ wait times. All it took was a simple design tweak on their menu boards, which significantly improved customers’ decision process. The results showed happier customers, and increased revenues.
Sometimes a simple change in the way we do things can address a great need, resulting to long-term wins. Companies should be more proactive in finding ways to improve their service, or else they would miss out on greater opportunities.

2. Get customer feedback and convert them to actionable insights.

Retail Customer Experience

Gary Edwards, Chief Customer Officer of Mindshare Technologies, shared 4 Retail Trends in Customer Experience this 2014. IMO, these trends are relevant not only on retail but also with B2B. He talked about how much omnichannel data and customer feedback will play a big role in shaping customer experience this 2014.
Whether solicited or unsolicited, online or offline, there’s so much businesses can get out of customer feedback. It’s easy to dismiss a single product review, a social media comment, or a seemingly harmless email, but the consolidation of these little bits of feedback can go a long way when put together into one unified customer insight. So gather up all the data and make good use of it. Through this you’ll be able to understand your customers better, and therefore serve them better.
Successful businesses will continue to be customer-focused. Companies that recognize the value of feedback and data across the board will have the advantage in creating meaningful customer experiences and capturing more potential consumers in the process.

3. Take advantage of social and mobile in creating good customer experience.

Customer Experience - Social Media Today

Mobile and social media has greatly shaped customer behavior and experience in the recent years. Customers are able to locate nearby shops through their mobile gadgets, share their experience real time, and even research about a particular product or restaurant on the go. Satisfied by a product, they share good customer reviews online. Troubled by a product or service, they rant their experience on social networks or try to reach out to the company online.
Social Media Today published an article that tackled about this growing social and mobile trend. Some interesting data:

50% of consumers are more likely to buy a product from  a company that they can contact via its social media page
56% of consumers that actively use social media to interact with businesses feel a stronger connection to that business.
63% of smartphone users will use coupons to get the best price
57% of smartphone users indicated that they like receiving location-based offers from companies
80% of smartphone users said they have received promotions or other marketing efforts on their smartphones from their preferred brands.

If it isn’t obvious enough, businesses who want to succeed must take advantage of online, social media, and mobile in order to reach out to their target market. Streamlining customer experience to social media and mobile tech will, in turn, grow a happier and more loyal customer base this 2014.

4. Align your customer experience goals with your company’s branding and marketing strategy.

Customer Experience and Branding
A recent study done by Cory Munchbach of Forrester Research discusses in length Customer Experience, Branding, and Marketing, and the point where these three converge. Many marketers fail to align branding and customer experience, and by missing that important connection, they also lose a lot of opportunity.
Munchbach differentiates the three: Branding is the foundation of the company’s promise and decisions. Customer Experience is the implementation of the brand promise for customers. While Marketing is the voice of the brand both in and outside of the organization. She further suggests that to make the implementation of customer experience more effective, a company should start with a brand story.
You want to deliver an exceptional customer experience this 2014? Go back to the drawing board and begin with your Branding, your mission as a company, your reason for existence. Then start thinking about your customers and how to deliver this message to them.

5. Build solid relationships, not only with your customers, but also with your employees.

Customer Experience and Employee Engagement
In this Loyalty360 article on CX trends to watch this 2014, one item pops up: “Deeper Appreciation for Employees”. True enough, great customer experience is often a result of exceptional customer service, which is a result of empowered employees. Even Customer Service expert Shep Hyken has often reiterated that engaged employees work harder, care more about the company, and ultimately care more about the customer.
We’ve entered an era where relationships are more important than product. We’ve already established that as a business, you want to build relationships with your customers. But the way to do that is to build solid relationships with your employees first. Encourage them, empower them, and trust them to do their jobs, and watch as they go the extra mile to deliver remarkable results for your company.