Improving the customer experience is one of the best ways for your company to differentiate itself. And with Customer Service Week starting in October, now is the time to implement an initiative. Follow these steps to gain new customers, increase retention, and boost your brand reputation.
Research from McKinsey indicates that 75% of U.S. consumers have made a significant change to how they shop, such as trying out new products, shopping at different stores, or using new sales channels entirely.
Most organizations like to think they’re keeping up with shifting trends, but data says that’s rarely the case. According to Adweek and Accenture Interactive research, 80% of brands are confident they’re delivering a superior customer experience. Unfortunately, only 8% of customers agree.
This disconnect is alarming, but it’s also a golden opportunity if your organization can capitalize on it. Whether your organization is primarily B2B or B2C, a strategic approach to customer experience can improve customer retention, increase satisfaction, and boost your bottom line.
Because baseline customer experiences have improved drastically in recent years, you’ll have to strive for excellence if you want to differentiate your business. And with Customer Service Week starting on Oct. 4, there’s no better time to explore avenues for improvement. Here are three ways you can improve the customer experience:
- Invest in an effective multichannel sales strategy.
Figuring out which sales channel produces the best results feels good, but you shouldn’t stop there. Ben Kniffen, CEO and owner of LinkedSelling, cautions against getting too attached to one channel. “If you’ve been seeing a lot of success with your cold emails, that’s great,” Kniffen says. “But there’s no guarantee that your current sales strategy will always sustain your company. Platform adjustments, selling trends, legal restrictions, or even a shift in the technology people use on a daily basis could seriously hurt your company if you’re too reliant on a single channel.”
Additional channels will inevitably add work and complexity to your sales process, but sometimes that’s necessary. It takes many touchpoints to close a sale, especially in the B2B space. By exploring new channels with untapped potential and striving to create emotional connections with prospects, you can deliver a better experience that wins over new customers. What’s the ROI of a multichannel strategy? According to data gathered by Aberdeen Group Inc., companies with omnichannel customer experience strategies enjoy a year-over-year increase of 9.5% in annual revenue.
- Rely on personalization.
Research from SmarterHQ indicates that 72% of customers will only engage with personalized outreach from brands. Given this trend, it’s clear that personalization is worth the investment. “Personalization isn’t just good for marketing teams,” says Pekka Koskinen, CEO and founder of Leadfeeder. “It can also improve sales outcomes by providing sales teams with the data they need to carefully target high-value prospects. A targeted approach allows sales to spend more time nurturing qualified leads and less time making cold calls.”
Accenture research echoes these findings, reporting that 91% of customers shop more with brands that recognize them and offer relevant recommendations. Additionally, data from Deloitte reveals that 36% of consumers say they’re very interested in buying personalized products. It should come as no surprise, then, that 80% of companies that invest in personalization experience a boost in sales. Even if your organization is already personalizing some messaging with sales prospects, you should look for opportunities to fill gaps and double down.
- Create a team of customer experience professionals.
Almost all major companies have customer service teams, but that doesn’t equal better customer experiences. Customer service tends to be reactive (responding to questions and complaints), while customer experience is proactive (improving touchpoints and the purchasing process). More organizations are recognizing this difference and hiring new teams to address their gaps.
In the 2020 LinkedIn Emerging Jobs Report, customer success was named one of the fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. Additionally, an Econsultancy survey found that leading organizations attribute more of their growth to customer experience roles than any other position. A great customer experience will help you land and retain key clients, making it one of the most effective sales tools in your arsenal. Everyone knows that customers share negative experiences, but you might not realize that people are more willing to share positive ones. By creating standout experiences, you’re investing in word-of-mouth advertising that could be even more effective than other traditional efforts.
Customer experience has come a long way, but recent trends indicate it’s more important than ever for you to keep investing in this area. The potential advantages are worth the effort: Improving customer experience can result in additional leads, more long-lasting relationships, and better perceptions of your brand and business.
Written by Rhett Power.
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