5 Tips to Create an Effective Customer Experience Strategy for Your Business

You don’t need to be a big corporation with a large marketing budget to attract and retain your customers. Small businesses like yours can grow your business by creating excellent customer experiences.

Getting to know your customers and solving their problems with personalized experiences builds satisfaction and loyalty. The best way to do that is with an effective customer experience strategy.

Getting started is easy! Explore the top five tips to create your strategy and build your customer base for years to come.

Great customer experiences are more important than ever

Outstanding customer experiences have always been important. In today’s digital-first business environment, they may be your best opportunity to differentiate from your competitors. Today’s customers have:

  • Unlimited options for spending their cash through online storefronts from businesses across the world
  • Social media, where they can share their experiences and reviews. Happy customers may share great experiences and unhappy customers can rapidly spread the word, too.

The customer experience starts when a potential customer first visits your website or your location. You want to make everything from that first interaction to their first purchase and beyond as easy and positive as possible.

Your customer experience strategy will turn your customers into advocates and make your brand stand out for its excellent reputation. Having a smaller operation with direct, regular contact with your customers gives you a great starting point.

How to develop a customer experience strategy for your business

Like any strategy, you’ll want to start by setting some goals. You want to set goals that are specific, measurable, and achieve to  craft an effective customer experience strategy that keeps customers coming back for more.

Your goals can include metrics like increasing customer-referral rates and retention or increasing revenue per transaction. You could also include things like earning an online-review score of 4.8 or better or recognition as the favorite for your type of goods and services in your area.

Once you’ve identified your goals, here’s what you can do to achieve them:

1. Understand your customers

To provide outstanding experiences, you need to understand what your customers truly need and want. The answer usually goes beyond the goods or services you offer.

For example, your restaurant may have a reputation for great food. When someone brings a date or a family member there, it’s not just about solving the question of what to have for dinner. For the customer, they’re trying to solve the problem of where to take their companion for a memorable evening. By consistently providing a wonderful customer experience, you can fill that need and create lasting loyalty.

This is true for any business in any industry. Of course, your customer needs the products and services you offer, but they won’t settle for just anything. If you have a dental practice, someone may come in for a cleaning, but what they really want is to have an experience that’s as comfortable and stress-free as it can be.

Think of all the touchpoints that you have with your customers and how you interact with them. Each is an opportunity for you to create a great experience.

2. Stay up to date on technology and automation

Improving your customer experience doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. You can leverage technology to build convenience and efficiency into your day-to-day operations, which can save time and money for you and your customers in the long run. You can do this by:

  • Creating systems that prioritize convenience for your customers. For example, make it as easy to return or exchange goods as it is to purchase them, both online and in person.
  • Using technology solutions to bridge gaps in your customer-service systems. For example, you may have self-serve kiosks in relevant locations and automated chatbots on your website.

Don’t forget to maintain a human connection. Tech can help, but most of us have been stuck in the endless loop of automated phone systems that only create frustration and resolve nothing. Your customer should still have a way to speak with a member of your team when needed.

Use this human touch to differentiate your business from your competitors. When your tech solutions can’t solve their issues, your customers will appreciate having someone human to help them, even if you may not get back to them right away. Just be sure to include how long it will be before your customers will hear back from you so they know what to expect.

3. Create a customer-first business culture

An empowered team leads to a better customer experience. And when you trust your team to make the best decisions to help your customers, it will improve staff loyalty too.

Start by giving your team the training and tools they need to answer questions, solve problems, and provide creative solutions. You can even try some role-playing so that you can find issues and gaps in your customer experience strategy before real customers are challenged by them. This training also gives your team a way to create innovative solutions and experiences together.

4. Give back to and engage with your community

Your customers like to feel good about the businesses they support, and connecting with your community is a great way to give them that positive feeling.

When you engage with your community, you’ll build goodwill and loyalty that will benefit your business. Connections can be made at every level, from the neighborhood you’re serving to other experts in your industry. They all make a difference and offer opportunities for engagement.

Let’s look at an example. Your craft brewery can hold special events and fundraisers for charitable organizations in your neighborhood to build goodwill and give back. If you invite other brewery owners and employees in the surrounding area, you’ll expand your reach and build connections in the industry. When they’re holding their own fundraising events, you can offer to send some of your products to their event. You’ll build goodwill within your industry and among your customers while boosting your brand, too.

5. Track your progress

To gauge whether there’s been a positive shift in your customer experience, you’ll need to track your progress. This data can show what’s working and what you might need to change.

Ask your customers directly about what would improve their experiences while you’re working with them. You can do this face-to-face or through online and on-site surveys. Hearing from them first-hand while they’re working with you will give you the most accurate data on their experience.

Let’s say that after analyzing sales, you’ve found that people who dine in at your pizzeria spend an average of 25% more per check, so you set a goal to increase onsite diners by 10% in three months.

If you don’t ask your customers what would inspire them to eat in rather than take-out, you’ll have to make assumptions on what will attract more dine-in customers. By asking them directly about what they want, you’ll save time and money with a more educated approach on what to test.

In this example, the answer might be that they don’t like the music and florescent lights. If you had assumed they wanted more menu items, you would have spent more time and money testing a guess that doesn’t move the needle.

Asking your customers what they want instead of making assumptions can vastly improve their experiences and help you achieve your goals.

A great customer experience is your ultimate competitive advantage

Customers are willing to spend a little more, drive a little further, or wait a little longer when the experience they’ve had with a business is excellent. That’s why providing a great customer experience is your superpower.

Pursuit helps small business owners like you in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania get the financing you need to build your customer experience strategy and more.

With more than 15 small business loan options available, we’re here to support your success by finding funding that fits your needs. Contact us today to learn how we can help you keep your business moving upward, outward, and onward!

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