8 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience —

It's the new buzzword in business. The trend that has companies of all sizes looking at how they serve their customers — at every stage. It's called the customer experience or CX for short, and it provides a unique opportunity for companies to

differentiate themselves and build ROI. The customer experience isn't about a single interaction a customer has when they first purchase a product or service; it's about all the interactions or touch points they have with a company. It could be an experience at the point-of-sale, online, or even when they receive your invoice. Building relationships, loyalty, and revenue. The theory behind CX is simple: If companies can better understand what customers want, they can deliver it to them, thereby increasing customer satisfaction, retention, loyalty, and ultimately, revenue.

Bring a positive customer experience to your company. While you may not have the human or technological resources that large companies have to dedicate to CX, you can heed these important steps to improve your customers' experience with your business:

  1. Know your customers. The first step in any good customer experience is to identify your customers. You should know their ages, where they live, their marital status, how long they have been a customer, how they came to your business, and what they need.
  2. Know your products. Once you've identified your customers and their needs, take a look at your products or services. Do they respond to your customers' needs? How? Ensure all members of your staff are knowledgeable about your products/services, including the features and benefits and target audience.
  3. Personalize customer interactions. Customers like to be known. You could use their name in an email or personal interaction or send them an email on their birthday or anniversary. You could also recognize what products/services they have and recommend other solutions that may help them.
  4. Show appreciation. Say "Thank You" any time you can. Consider hosting Customer Appreciation events or offering special discounts to your valued customers.
  5. Solicit customer feedback. The best way to find out what your customers want is to ask them. Regularly invite them to fill out surveys or to share their experiences on social media.
  6. Analyze and respond to feedback. When you receive customer feedback, analyze it. Are their common trends in what your customers like/don't like? Use the feedback to make changes to your product/service. Then, let customers know that you are listening and have made changes because of their feedback.
  7. Give customers multiple ways to reach you. There's nothing more frustrating to a customer than when they can't reach you when they need assistance. That's why it's critical to offer your customers multiple ways to contact you. Provide support over the phone, online, or in person. Monitor social media content to respond to customers who reach you there.
  8. Respond to customer requests/concerns in a timely manner. If someone writes to you or calls you to express a concern or to get assistance, respond to them in a timely matter. Establish a time standard for responding to customers and adhere to it.

Improving the customer experience is not a one-time thing; it's an ongoing process that involves continually soliciting customers' feedback to learn what you can do to better serve them. After all, it's always good for businesses to make improvements especially in one of the most important areas — the bottom line.