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During the day I write about customer service, online business and the best use of LiveChat. But after work I like to go out and take a look around at the things that can be improved in customer experience. You can’t really blame me, can you?
Restaurants, coffee shops, airports, renting apartments for holidays…
There are numerous of situations outside of work when customer service leads the prime. And I can’t help but notice when it’s done right or not. If it’s a “no” I immediately have a subject for another blog post. For me, real life examples are the best place for inspiration. So let me guide you through my latest customer experiences. I hope you’ll learn from them.
Customers’ touch points with the brand
Customers, during their whole lifecycle, have many touch points with the brand. Here are just a few examples:
- social media,
- rating and reviews,
- marketing and PR,
- your website,
- sales or support team,
- transactional emails, onboarding emails and marketing,
- service and support teams,
- follow up emails/messages.
In every touchpoint you need to take care of providing the best customer experience. Why? Simply because each interaction is a part of the overall customer experience with the brand.
Things you do wrong in customer service and sales
There are many ways in which you can deliver better customer experience. From learning about customer service, through creating an emotional connection with customers and providing them with memories for the future. Today, I focus on the most popular touch points and all the things we often do wrong.
1. Use your knowledge to guide customers, not to prove them wrong
Whether you’re a salesperson or a customer service agent, you talk with potential customers about your products. You probably have done it a hundred times, every day for the last few years. The product evolves, you evolve, but potential customers stay the same. They know only so much about the product and ask questions you believe are ridiculous. You get frustrated.
And that’s the catch some professionals fall for. They’re irritated and they become cocky towards others. Their “I know better” attitude is absurd and drives away potential customers.
A customer comes to you and asks for you to show them a snowboard. You ask a salesman: “Is this an X brand?” “Daa… I wouldn’t show you anything different, would I?”
Ok, this happened in real life. But what does it even mean? Is it so obvious this guy would show you only a particular brand? What brand is it anyway? Do you have to assume for the future what he will show you? It’s confusing.
Never show customers you know better. I mean, you should know everything about the product, but don’t be conceited with it when you talk with others. Use your knowledge to guide customers and help them find what they’re looking for, not to make them feel worse. Because that’s what insecure people do.
This advice refers to different departments in a company: sales, marketing, support and all the people who have contact with potential customers and can close a sale.
Read about Customer Service Qualities you Need to Provide Better Customer Experience.
2. Learn from the feedback customers give you, don’t fight it
This one applies to all social media channels. Whenever you get negative feedback from your customers, don’t try to fight it. Give yourself some time to think about what somebody said and consider if they might be right.
Many people, when they get negative feedback, immediately feel the need to protect themselves. They either say it’s untrue or attack the person who is the source of the “bad news.” Try to be a bigger, mature person who can handle negative comments the right way.
Let’s say you enabled Facebook reviews on your fan page. For every 10 positive reviews there’s one you wish would never appear public.
Perhaps, a customer claims they didn’t get their package. You respond: “It’s not possible. We gave our courier the package a few days ago and it should be there by now. Maybe somebody else picked it up for you.” Here’s what you’re doing wrong in this scenario: You defend yourself. You tell a customer they’re wrong. You try to win something that can’t be won.
Don’t immediately assume that you did everything right and the customer is wrong for sure. You don’t know that. Did you check their package? No. There’s also one person in the middle of the transaction. The courier. He or she can mess things up too. Instead of defending yourself, claiming that you did everything right, try to say: “We’re so sorry about this situation, we’ll do our best to explain it immediately. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
This way you take the blame, you give customers assurance everything will be OK. That’s how you improve customer experience.
3. Stick to the strategy - consistent language and design on your website
If you’re not a freelancer and work in a company, you probably have a specific strategy when it comes to the website design and the language you use. Even though you might have some sort of freedom in creating, you can’t do whatever you want. Consistency is key to better customer experience.
When it comes to the user experience, you can’t experiment all the time, changing the whole website. The footer, the sidebar and navigation are the things people get used to. They should be kept in the same place. As for the design, users remember the details. For example, they will associate a particular color on your website as the color for active links.
One of the bad UX design examples is when the content doesn’t match the design. Users react to visuals faster than text, so always make sure your content matches the supporting visuals. The best method is to let your content inform your design.
Treat your website as a whole. The design needs to be consistent with the content. That’s why content marketers and graphic designers should work closely together and their work needs to complement one another. Always have people from the team who can give feedback about your project, as you can lose objectivity about your work.
4. Content Marketing - take a chance to show your personality
If you want to improve customer experience with content marketing, you need to be regular and consistent in your communication. If you decide to run a company’s blog, you can’t forget about it. What do you think a reader feels when they enter your website and don’t see anything new for a few weeks? They’re disappointed and stop visiting your blog. They have a bad experience with your brand.
So, the key here is not only to create consistent content but also engage in it hard enough, to show readers your personality. The more they can identify themselves with you and your brand, the better experience they have.
On your social media you announce that you’ll publish a great blog post by the end of the week. It’s Friday, Saturday, Sunday and nothing happens. The readers are waiting and they feel disappointed. You don’t inform them about anything and you publish a blog post the next week, hoping nobody will notice. You might think this is nothing big, but let’s say you have a small group of readers that are waiting for your pieces. Again, how do they feel? Disappointed and they have bad experience.
Many people start writing blog posts, but after a few months without a spectacular results they stop doing it, or they do it rarely.
To avoid this, set up a publishing calendar for your whole marketing team. Decide how regularly you publish blog posts and when do you send emails. Great experience and professionalism is also an effect of consistent work. Wait for a little and the results will come.
Customers will get use to your regular work and when they enter your website or get emails, you can be sure they will have a great experience.
Customer experience at its best
Improving customer experience is constant work. It’s not something you can create or establish and from now on, it will always be great. Each person in a company is responsible for creating a great experience. Support heroes, sales specialists but also designers who create websites. Don’t be afraid to analyze others feedback and implement their advice.
Establish the culture of noticing things that can be improved when it comes to customer experience. People might see things that you don’t, so it’s always worth communicating. After all, customers come first, and we always should have that in mind.