12 WAYS TO IMPROVE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Why do customers buy from one vendor rather than another? Does it come down to price? Service? Location? Loyalty? Rewards? What do they want?
Today’s customers want—and expect—more than ever before. They want it all. They want it now. They want it right, every time. Customers no longer measure you next to your direct competition. They compare your products and services to the best products and services they have received from any business or person.
IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE: TREAT PEOPLE THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED.
Buying behavior increasingly shows that consumers want unique, memorable and positive customer experiences. They want to feel good about buying from you. Provide a good experience, and they will come back for more. Fail to provide it, and nothing else you do, however wonderful your products are, will matter.
12 Things Every Customer Wants
It’s not rocket science: treat people the way you want to be treated. That’s No. 1. Yet, companies often neglect to run their business decisions through this very effective filter. And they wonder where the customers are.
Here’s a reminder of some of the things customers want. Many of the items on this list are common sense, but others may surprise you.
1. Value for Money
These days, most consumers want more than a low price tag, but price is still the most influential factor in whether or not someone buys from you. Having the lowest price, however, usually isn’t enough to sway buyers your way. Customers expect the best value for their money, that is, value that is based not only on the lowest purchase price but also on the highest efficiency and effectiveness for the purchase.
2. Remarkable Customer Service
There’s a lot of talk about customer service, with tons of companies bragging about their second-to-none customer service and about how much they care for their customers. Sounds good, but the reality is much different. Just ask any customer. One of the worse mistakes any business can make is to underestimate how much buyers value customer service—from pre-sale to post-sale. Whether they’re vocal about it or not, customers want and expect exceptional customer service.
3. Telling You Once
Part of offering good customer service is to not make customers repeat themselves. When they have a problem with your product or service, they should only have to tell you once. They don’t want to repeat their story to multiple customer service agents. Yet, agents frequently ask customers to start at the beginning, frustrating customers who just need you to help them solve their problem.
4. Personalized Service
According to the 2018 Customer Service Expectations Report by San Francisco-based customer service expert Gladly, 61 percent of consumers feel treated like case numbers rather than people when dealing with businesses, and 59 percent say that being treated as an individual is more important than how quickly an issue is resolved. Customers want to be treated like people, not account numbers.
5. Someone to Talk to
Closely related to the three previous points, talking to a human is up high on the list of what customers want from businesses. The Interactive Voice Response systems that many companies use are a major frustration point for customers. Ninety-eight percent of customers try to skip the IVR, Gladly reported. Think about that—98 percent—next time you’re making decisions about how to handle your calls.
6. To Trust You
Customers want consistent answers, and they want the truth. Yet, they rarely get it. Most customers, 76 percent, receive conflicting answers from different support agents when asking the same questions. The same applies to promises—keep them. Inconsistency and broken promises teach customers to not believe you, to not trust you. And if they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you.
7. Superior Quality
When it comes to quality, modern customers expect you to, at the very least, meet their expectations. Savvy customers seeking a better customer experience want you to exceed their expectations.
8. Ease of Doing Business
Customers want products and services that are easy to buy, websites that are easy to navigate, tech support that is easy to understand, and so forth. In our high-tech world, simplicity is a valuable commodity. If you make it difficult for customers to interact with your business, you will eventually lose them.
9. Free Shipping, Easy Returns
A small discount, such as free shipping, can go a long way in convincing customers to buy from you. Another way to persuade prospective online buyers to take a risk on you is to have an attractive refund policy that allows them to return unwanted items cheaply or for free.
10. Plenty of Options
The greater the size and variety of your inventory of, the less likely online visitors will abandon your website to buy from someone else.
11. Trustworthy Reviews
Customers want real, trustworthy reviews or ratings of the products and services you offer to facilitate their decision-making process.
12. A Friendly Website
Consumers want to quickly figure out who you are, what you’re selling, for how much, and to be able to browse for specific items and checkout with ease. Any obstacle they encounter has the potential to make them jump ship for a website that can provide a better user experience.
How Do You Measure Up?
Are you giving your customers what they want? Do you offer them a good value for their money? Do you provide excellent customer service? Are you consistent and reliable?
The bad news is that you’re probably overestimating your performance in these areas. The good news is that using the list above you can improve your performance by implementing a strategy specifically designed to meet your customers’ wants and expectations. When in doubt, put yourself in their place. Chances are that you, too, want a positive customer experience.
Sources: Forbes, Inc. Magazine, HubSpot, Gladly, CXC.