A recent study completed by Business Insider indicated that 66% of consumers are willing to spend more money at a company that gives them an excellent customer experience. Conversely, 60% of consumers have canceled a purchase due to a poor customer experience!
Also, consider that consumers are five times more likely to engage with a sales representative who provides helpful insights and that it takes 12 positive customer experiences to negate the damage from one negative experience!
Based on this compelling evidence, it is hard to understand why businesses don’t spend more money training employees and building systems, processes and tools to ensure a great customer experience!
Good and Bad Customer Experiences
My wife and I recently decided to repaint our cottage. My wife saw that Sherwin Williams had a 40% off sale so she stopped by there with her selected color swatch. She went to the counter to ask for assistance and was rudely informed by the sales clerk that Sherwin Williams will not help with color matching because they do not want to be responsible for incorrect color selection.
What kind of a paint store tells their customer that?
Conversely, I stopped by my local Quarry Park Starbucks in Calgary recently to meet with a customer. I ordered my usual and the barista gave me the coffee “on the house.” Guess where I had all of my informal business meetings the rest of that week?! When you have a great customer experience, you will spend more money at that business.
So, what can a business leader do to improve the customer experience within their business?
Nine Keys to Improve Customer Experience
According to “Driving Success in the Age of the Customer” – a study that was commissioned by GE as they strive for better customer interactions – there are nine key areas that need to be addressed to improve customer experiences. Although this study is specific to GE, these nine areas apply to most businesses. I have summarized them below.
- Timeliness – Customers expect immediate responses to their questions and issues. Businesses need to build systems and tools that allow for easy customer interaction and fast and meaningful responses.
- Customer Focus – Businesses must build a culture of customer focus to be differentiated in the marketplace. Therefore, employees must be polite, attentive, and customer focused.
- Measurement and Data – This is part of the SMART goal process. Each business must decide on customer experience metrics and then measure progress against these metrics.
- Terms and Conditions – For more complex purchases, the terms and conditions for that transaction must be simple and easy to understand. Painful and protracted contract negotiations will damage customer experience.
- Delivery – Promised delivery dates cannot be missed. Delivery of a product should be traceable so the customer can track and anticipate delivery of their purchase.
- Simplification – Since processes and red tape frustrate the customer experience, make the buying process as simple and painless as possible.
- Communication – Make sure your business is clear about a single point of contact for customers that may experience an issue. Don’t fumble a customer through multiple levels of the business. Have a system in place that handles the customer issue efficiently, professionally, and respectfully.
- Website – Your business website is often the first and only interaction you have with your customers. Ensure that you have seamless product and service information, frequently asked questions, and a means of contact for support. Don’t frustrate your customers with a terrible website!
- Educating the Customer – Finally, can you provide an educational service for your customer that would help them use your products more productively? If you do a great job of educating your customers, it will result in repeat purchases or purchases of a different product or service line that you may offer.
In conclusion, complete an honest look at the customer experience that your business provides. Rate each of the nine areas identified above with a score of 0 to 10 (0 being extremely poor and 10 being excellent). Take the highest scoring areas and see if there is something you can tweak to edge performance even higher! Then, spend some time on the poorest scoring areas and build a strategic plan to dramatically improve these areas.
Because your business longevity depends on your customers’ experience, make it extraordinary!
Finally, read through these related posts for some additional ideas:
- 10 Ways to Provide Sensational Customer Experiences
- Differentiate or Die
- Why Does Your Business Exist and Why Should We Care
“The value added for most any company, tiny or enormous, comes from the Quality of Experience provided.” Tom Peters
What experience do you have with customer experiences that may provide value to other readers? Leave your comments below!
Download a free copy of my new Ebook: 12 Steps to Business Transformation. If you would like a business assessment to help kick off your business transformation, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 587-227-5179.
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