Experiences matter the most. They are what people like you and me take along and remember. The irony is bad experiences get etched in our memories, while the good ones tend to fade away with time. It’s a basic human nature.
We might forget about the things we buy, the people we meet, but we will never forget how someone made us feel. Based on our experiences, we form perceptions, which go a long way in shaping our interactions and behavior with someone – this someone can be an individual and a brand too.
In business, customer experience has become a buzzword now, thanks to the loyalty and attention of customers. Perception and interaction are the two basic elements of a customer’s experience, which is clearly mentioned in Gartner’s definition.
According to Gartner, “it is the customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier’s employees, systems, channels or products.
- Interaction: This refers to a customer’s interaction with a brand via emails, calls or self-service options.
- Perception: This is the perception created among customers about a brand based on their interactions and experiences.
Both these elements have a cause & effect relationship – the more meaningful the interactions, the better the perceptions and by that extension, the overall experience that customers take away with them.
Customers today are uber-smart, hyperconnected and tech-savvy. It is challenging to meet their sky-rocketing expectations. Satisfying them is hard – you need to touch upon various points and keep them longing for more (pun intended) to earn their loyalty!
Let’s look at some of the ways that can help you deliver unforgettable experiences to your customers:
1. Have a Clear Vision
When you are clear as to what you wish to achieve, it becomes easy to communicate the same to your teams. Have some guiding principles in place that help teams achieve your customer-focused vision easily. For instance, some of your values can be – accepting change, empathizing with customers, delivering value, etc. These values will then become a crucial part of your organization’s culture, urging teams across different departments to work by keeping them in mind.
2. Understand Customers
There is a difference between knowing your customers and understanding them. You know them when you are aware of their geographic location, the category they fall into, their income, etc. But you understand them to the core when you are aware of their needs and behavior. You need to empathize with them so as to deliver compelling services. Creating customer personas can help here. For instance – Samuel is 25 years old, is tech-savvy and prefers self-help options, while Robert who is 50 years old, still likes the traditional ways of calling an agent to solve queries. This kind of detailed information can help your support staff to understand customer behavior and provide them solutions accordingly.
3. Connect with Them Emotionally
There is a famous saying, “Go the extra mile as you will not find any competitors there”. There aren’t many companies who develop an emotional bond with their customers, but once, you are able to create a strong connection with them, consider them as your brand advocates. Free word-of-mouth publicity, enhanced goodwill and a place in their hearts – would all be yours.
Let’s assume a customer buys a product from your website but due to some issue, sent a request for return. By the time the delivery boy reaches his house, he comes to know that there is a sudden demise in the house, and no one is at home. When you come to know about it, your customer support team, after waiting for a week, sends a delivery man to collect the bought item, along with a bouquet of flowers and a condolence note. This gesture is enough to let your customers know that you care.
4. Collect Feedback from Customers
Taking regular feedback from your customers is the best way to understand how satisfied they are with your services. If you have a knowledge base in place, include questions like, “Did you like this article?”. Ask questions like, “How will you rate this article on a scale of 1 to 50”, and then ask them to share to their suggestions in the comment box. This gives you a clear idea of whether the experiences delivered are of any help to your customers or not.
5. Be Technologically-Forward
To meet the rising expectations of your customers, you need to be on the same boat as them, meaning, you can’t be selling a contemporary car when they prefer to ride a vintage one. Customers today are hyperactive and prefer the “do-it-yourself” approach for everything. Creating a self-service knowledge base that empowers customers to find solutions to problems effortlessly, on their own, can help you give a competitive edge.
In a Nutshell
Today, you can’t just compete on pricing. You’ve to go one step forward and compete on experiences because that’s what matters in the end. Your pricing might be reasonable, but it will hardly work for you if your experiences aren’t great. Establishing an emotional connection with customers and giving them experiences to cherish, will pay you significantly in the long run.
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