A business is nothing without the people who patronize it. And for small to mid-size business owners, who are more likely to have shaken the hands of the people they do business with, this is especially true – your customers drive your profits.
While a business may be better off with an energized staff and a passionate leader, what it really needs to survive are customers; so, keeping them satisfied is paramount. But what if you take it a step further, and beyond just selling solutions, sell an enjoyable buying experience. Sell a fruitful business relationship. Sell your customers something they don’t just need, but like.
And that’s what the customer experience is all about. We’ll break down why customer experience (CX) matters, and how you can improve it, in this article.
Why Customer Experience Matters
Why does CX matter? Take this example: you live equidistant to two pizza places, Joe’s Pizza and Naples Pizza. After reviewing the website, you notice they have the same prices and same pies. In the photos, they appear to have similar quality of ingredients, and the final products both look appetizing. But there’s one striking difference – Naples Pizza has a 4.8 star rating and Joe’s Pizza has a 3.3 star rating.
So, where are you going to buy your pizza? This is a core reason why customer experience is crucial.
#1. Reviews and word-of-mouth
Online reviews are extremely influential on consumers; in fact, a whopping 97% of participants in this study claimed customer reviews factor into their purchasing decisions. This shouldn’t be shocking either, with so many options in the marketplace, customer reviews help people navigate their choices.
Choice, however, means consumers have the power – not sellers. Great customer experience can be the differentiating factor between a 3.3 star rating and 4.8 star rating; it can help you stand out from the crowd. And we’ve already outlined some ways to get more great reviews online.
But, while online reviews have such obvious importance, word-of-mouth is still a huge player in consumer choice. Consumers who make purchase decisions based on word-of-mouth recommendations tend to be more loyal and trusting of that brand. Offering customers a buying experience to brag about can catapult your growth.
#2. Value Add
The internet makes doing everything yourself so much easier. From scouring the web for the best deals on laptops and software licenses, to managing email services and local servers, scrappy business owners feel empowered to handle these things themselves – even if they don’t actually know what they’re doing.
However, with CX in mind, your business can offer something the internet cannot: a human guide. Leaning into the element of personal touch, be the Zen navigator who guides confused would-be customers into purchases that fit their needs. Then, be there to help them through set-up, deployment, and training.
Particularly for large purchases, people want to know they’re making the right choice; be the expert in their ear who makes purchasing a pleasure. What’s more, the buying experience, a facet of the full customer experience, is considered the most important part of sales. Don’t underestimate its value to customers.
#3. Customer Retention
As mentioned above, customers who make purchase decisions based on word-of-mouth recommendations tend to be more loyal immediately, boosting your customer retention.
But building a client-centric business, which truly centers the needs and experiences of the consumer, will have a greater impact on retention. When you make business painless, work toward seamless and attentive interactions with clients and customers, and provide relevant resources for their needs, customers will want to continue to do business with you.
Businesses like Managed Service Providers (MSPs), and similar structures that rely on recurring monthly revenue (RMM), already know that customer retention is an integral part of their business model. Refocusing attention to improving ongoing customer relationships will help you accumulate loyal customers that keep your business going.
How to Improve Customer Experience
You may already have some ideas churning on how you can improve customer experience specifically for your business, but here are some fool-proof, actionable tips for getting started.
#1. Understand your customers
Know who your customers are, but more importantly know what they do. In the B2B space, a customer is not a personal agent, but an agent on behalf of a business. Getting insight into their individual pain points and values can be useful for one-to-one interactions, but connecting with a larger target audience requires understanding their role, their priorities, and their problems.
You can initiate collecting this data through customer surveys and interviews. But your methods can start even simpler than that. Each level of your organization should have a clear idea of who your customers are and what they need – and that comes with conversation.
#2. Center UX/UI
From your website, applications, to other tech products you may offer, user experience and user interface should be top-of-mind during development. Creating products and tools that are intuitive and fun to use will delight your customers.
For example, your website should be straight-forward to navigate, clearly state your offers, be optimized for mobile viewing, and be designed in a visually appealing way that coalesces with human psychology. A bad website will put off potential customers instantly – don’t give them a reason to click the red “X” at the top of the page.
What’s more, tech like chat bots, refined search engines, and productive applications can elevate your customers’ experiences with your business. And innovations in AI can help you do this effortlessly.
#3. Empower your customer-facing teams
It should come as no surprise that incredible customer experiences stem from incredible customer service. That means your team should feel empowered in their roles and eager to serve customers.
Your business should allocate adequate resources to train your customer-facing staff on the ins-and-outs of your products and services. Then spend even more resources developing their soft skills: active listening, effective communication, conflict resolution, teamwork, and so much more.
Your customer’s experience is a reflection of your customer service. When your employees’ people skills are refined, your customer’s experience will exceed their expectations.
At Extu, we maintain the connections you make with customers by creating world-class content to share via email and LinkedIn to your contact lists. Through sales enablement content that can be customized to specific audiences, and the utilization data to help identify new prospects through intent signals, we keep businesses like yours competitive in this buyer’s market.