Gartner defines Customer Experience Management (CXM) as, “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations.”
The problem far too many businesses have is that they simply meet their customer’s needs without striving to exceed expectations and this leads to average customer experiences without any WOW factor.
The good news is that this presents a fantastic opportunity for the companies that do continually strive to deliver excellent customer experiences.
Excellent customer experiences are the secret sauce that keep customers coming back for more, while improving your marketing efficiency as they share their experiences with their family and friends.
1. Add Value Instead of Lowering Your Price
Far too often companies will discount price as a core strategy to win business from their competition. The problem with this simple strategy is that lowering prices often causes cuts to be made that take away from the overall customer experience and the many benefits that go with it.
People are often happier when they pay more for a quality product or service since many people believe that “you get what you pay for” and the more someone pays for something the more they tend to value it.
Charging more for what you sell gives you more margin to invest into enhancing your customer experience. Not discounting your price means you can increase your investments into world class customer support staff, better product development, follow up and feedback systems, and more.
2. Put Your Customers First
At Zappos customer happiness is a core value and this culture has caused them to create policies that put customer happiness before profit optimization.
Their “free shipping both ways” policy has certainly cost them some profit by people who abuse it, however the many loyal customers it has helped create far outweighs the negative consequences.
Amazon certainly agreed that the Zappos customer experience was worth investing in when they acquired the company in 2009 for $850 million.
3. Create a Community for Your Customers
After you make a sale online your customers should be automatically directed to a “thank you” to show them you appreciate their business.
The moment after a sale is made is an ideal time to encourage your customers, who have just invested in your product or service, to join your community, which adds value at no additional cost.
4. Encourage and Incentivize Customer Feedback
Rather than guessing how to improve your customer’s journey ask your customers how you can make their experience with your business even better next time, and offer them an incentive for their feedback.
Give everyone who provides you with feedback a free bonus, or a coupon, and thank them personally for taking the time to give you their feedback.
5. Keep Your Customer Experience Consistent
Making sure that your customers receive a consistently excellent experience with your company increases your chances that your customer will want to come back to you and do business again in the future.
6. Conquer Customer Concerns with Quick Communication
Quick communication between your company and customers is directly related to customer happiness. Fast communication is key to keeping your clients and customers happy.
A pizza I ordered from Domino’s recently showed up with half of the toppings and cheese in the corner of the box. I sent a tweet to @Dominos and got a reply just 11 minutes later, followed by tweets from an account managed by the location I bought the pizza from. They sent me a gift certificate for two free pizzas the next business day. I will definitely be buying pizza from Dominos again because they addressed my concern right away.
If email is your primary support channel encourage your support staff to reply to emails as fast as possible. Always have an actual person’s name attached to all emails sent and use a friendly tone, like you are emailing with a friend.
Avoid sending emails from a no reply email address: Emails sent from a no reply address cause frustration to anyone who might want to write a quick question, and will definitely cause frustration to anyone who does reply only to find once they click send that the address they emailed is a no reply.
7. Follow Up Often and Always Add Value
When I was out for dinner the other night it was taking a bit longer than usual for our meal to arrive. Rather than coming over and simply apologizing for the wait the manager came over and offered us a free appetizer on the house.
By using a similar approach with your marketing and always adding value when you communicate with your customers you can turn bad customer experiences into good ones, and good customer experiences into great ones.
Strive for Consistently Great Customer Experiences
When you consistently create great customer experiences you differentiate your business from the herd and more of your customers will become brand champions who will help your business grow when they spread the word.
Garin is a Web Developer, Marketing Strategist, Growth Hacker, Bodybuilder, and Entrepreneur from Toronto who loves the hustle. You can find him @Garin on Twitter and Instagram. Garin is a paid contributor to THINK Marketing.