Tips to ensure your store is full of loyal, satisfied customers
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, everyone is looking for something to make their business stand out from the crowd.
Improving customer experience is one of the best ways to distinguish your brand from others—97% of executives believe delivering a great customer experience is critical to their business advantage and results.
Today’s retail consumers have high expectations so it is more important than ever to keep their experiences positive, as 86% of consumers will stop interacting with and buying from businesses if they have a single bad experience.
Here are 3 actionable tips to boost customer experience that your business could begin implementing today.
Wear your customer’s hat
Understanding who your customers truly are is at the heart of the matter. Insight into their demographic, personalities, and situations they might face, will give your team the tools they need to genuinely relate to your clients.
A creative way to help your customer support teams really visualise the client and see things from their point of view is to give your customers ‘personas’. In fact, 71% of companies who exceed revenue and lead goals have documented personas.
As an example: Jenny is 34 years old, she has young children and is tech savvy so prefers to shop online. Therefore, to gain her custom you need to consider a user-friendly and up-to-date online platform for her to purchase through.
Meanwhile Jean is 78, prefers to shop in store but has mobility issues; for her to have a good customer experience, you need to ensure you have accessible car parking spaces and a good store layout with clear pathways for people with disabilities.
In a staff meeting you could discuss several personas—your ideal customer, realistic customers or a negative character who would not suit your brand—and work through what each client would want from their customer experience journey with your company. It can be a good team building exercise to act out these scenarios in person.
Become customer centric
All the companies doing customer experience well, a famous example being Amazon, work with the goal of becoming completely ‘customer centric’. By that we mean you put your customer first and place their needs at the very core of your business instead of the traditional product feature.
This approach aims to provide your shopper with a positive experience that drives loyalty, as client-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to companies not focused on the customer. The idea is to get a 360-degree view of the customer so you can foresee their needs and wishes ahead of time to enhance their customer experience.
You can start by conducting customer research, asking questions about their experience in-store as well as what could have been improved and if they are likely to return.
Once you have gathered this data you can review it—alongside any pre-existing data—and it will aid you in things like stocking certain products and finding the employee behaviours that promote positive customer experiences.
The American grocer Kroger carried out similar research—alongside the customer analysis firm that helped Tesco’s UK success—and it led them to focus more on what made customers want to return. After implementing these changes Kroger saw its 49th consecutive quarter of positive identical supermarket sales growth, proving the approach works.
Consistency is key
Today’s discerning customer uses multiple channels when researching, consuming and reviewing a product. Forbes describes customer experience as the “cumulative impact of multiple touchpoints” over the course of a client’s interaction with a business.
Customers want to be in contact in person, over the phone, on your website and through social media meaning that you need a strong ‘omni-channel’ approach to promote a good customer experience. At each touch point, the gap between customer expectations and experience spells the difference between customer delight and something less.
It is important that you centralise all the knowledge your customer wishes to glean so each platform holds the same advice. This means it is quick and easy to update information, or add details based on customer feedback, that is instantly consistent across the board.
This consistency appears coherent and will make the customer feel like they can depend on you. As a result, expect retention to improve—companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared with 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.
Shift your focus
It is important to remember that although the world of business is ever changing, the way to a customer’s heart does not. Do not allow your business to become solely product focussed or sales driven when there is a much more lucrative commodity out there—the customer themselves.