Customer experience (CX) is everything. If your customers don’t have a good experience, it can have a detrimental effect on your brand. You can get negative ratings and reviews, build up a bad reputation, and lose business.
The problem is, many customer experience solutions can be expensive. If you’re a small business, pricey customer management platforms and armies of customer service representatives may not be possible for you to utilize. The good news is, there are many affordable CX options that can help you still come through for your customers.
Here are some of the best ways to deliver a great customer experience on a budget.
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Understand Your Customers’ Collective Story
The needs of your customers have nothing to do with your revenue stream. In most cases, a customer won’t care if you make hundreds or billions of dollars each year. All they want is a genuine solution to their problems, regardless of where that solution may come from.
This makes understanding your customer story a critical piece of quality CX. If you can grasp the deeper reasons that bring your average customer to you for help, you can deliver a better experience. Take the time to dig deep into your customers’ struggles. Understand the options that they have available besides your own (obviously superior) solution. Try to figure out why they would have reservations about choosing you over a competitor.
Understanding the story behind your average client is how you can create loyal customers. Experience management platform Experience.com explains that truly loyal customers are created where your story and their story intersect.
In order to locate this critical intersection, you must know your customer story as well as your own. You can do this by practicing active listening and leading with empathy when you interact with customers. From there, use your knowledge of their pain points combined with your authority in your field to help deliver a top-notch experience.
Train Your Staff Well
If a customer calls you and is greeted by a grumpy employee or someone who lacks the information required to help them, it’s only going to create (or exacerbate) a negative experience. In the same vein, a well-trained customer service representative can turn a bad experience into a great one through the way that they address the situation. Even if they can’t solve a customer’s problem, if they handle things well, it can leave them feeling cared for.
The quality of your customer-facing personnel is critical and requires careful attention from the beginning. This starts with who you hire. When vetting customer service candidates, consider more than just if they have good people skills. Try to figure out if they are teachable, if they have technical skills, and if they can remain consistent with each interaction.
As you onboard a new hire, train them thoroughly. Customer service platform Zendesk suggests that the onboarding process include:
- Product and service training;
- Best practices for customer interactions;
- Technical skills;
- Policy knowledge;
- Support workflow;
- Clearly demonstrated consistency.
Don’t stop there, either. It’s important to invest in your customer service team on a regular basis. Train them on new products. Keep them up to date on various policies. Make sure they’re well informed regarding promotions and other marketing specials.
These are the nitty-gritty aspects of customer service that won’t take up as much money as they do time. If your budget is tight, make sure you’re investing the time in order to perfect the customer service capabilities that you already have.
Consider the Entire Customer Journey
The traditional view of customer service consisted of support after the point of sale. Modern customer service experiences, though, are a holistic affair. According to marketing platform Hubspot, the customer experience is “the impression your customers have of your brand as a whole throughout all aspects of the buyer’s journey. It results in their view of your brand and impacts factors related to your bottom line including revenue.”
The heart of the definition lies in the two words “buyer’s journey.” The customer journey doesn’t start at the point of sale. It begins the first time a customer makes contact with your brand.
As such, it’s important to invest in a holistic and comprehensive journey for your customers. This may sound like a daunting task if you’re working with a limited budget. But in reality, a lot of the process boils down to perfecting what you already have.
For instance, if you want to provide a great customer service, it’s important to tend to a plethora of important details along the way, such as:
- Creating a website that is easy to navigate: A user-friendly site is essential. It allows customers to move from one resource to the next, respond to calls to action (CTAs), and convert from a prospect to a paying customer with ease.
- Making sure that your content is SEO optimized: This will attract the right people with the issues that you can solve. This is much preferred to a site that generates high traffic but doesn’t meet the needs of many of those that visit it.
- Interacting well with customers: The way that you interact with customers should be inclusive, accessible, professional, and reflective of your brand’s personality. This includes everything from a polite greeting to making your site keyboard accessible to including a follow up note after a purchase.
There are many small factors that can impact the customer experience. Most of them require little to no monetary investment to address. However, each one can make or break a customer’s view of your brand. If you want to deliver a great customer experience, take the time to invest in the details along the customer journey.
There are many ways to enhance the experience that you’re offering your customers. Some of these are internal in nature, such as keeping your staff well-trained. Others are external, like studying your customers story and perfecting the customer journey.
In either case, minimal financial investment should be required. Instead, try to apply a sense of quality and perfection to your existing customer service infrastructure. Maximize the effectiveness of what you have, and the great customer experiences will follow, regardless of the size of your budget.