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According to the Family Firm Institute (FFI), there are currently 24 million private and “closely held” businesses in America. With that many businesses out there offering products and services, it creates a great deal of competition and rivalry in the pursuit of customer acquisition and retention.
With millions of consumers in the U.S. alone, what makes your company worthy of a consumer’s business? While price often gives businesses a competitive edge against the opposition, customer experience is rapidly gaining traction.
If your customers aren’t happy with your offering, what’s stopping them from venturing off to the competition?
According to the Starcom Mediavest Group, 51% of marketers identified customer experience as the biggest opportunity for their business in 2016, followed by content marketing (42%), big data (38%) and social media (33%). Despite the findings, only 6% of marketers believe they are successfully implementing a true customer experience program.
So how do you create a promising customer experience plan? Here are five steps to developing a customer experience mindset at your company:
1. Understand who your customers are
First and foremost, it is essential to understand who your customers are. By doing so, you can gain a deeper understanding for what your customers expect, want and need. With this critical information, you can deliver above and beyond their expectations, blowing away the efforts of competition in the process.
2. Create a clear customer experience plan
Develop a clear-cut customer experience plan that is shared across your organization. By communicating guidelines to every department and employee, your company can maintain a level of consistency and transparency across all service areas. Everyone must be on the same strategic page in order to deliver a consistent customer experience.
3. Create an emotional connection
Many businesses underestimate the power of emotional connection. Yet it’s the primary reason many consumers remain loyal to a brand. When a consumer is emotionally engaged, they are three times more likely to recommend your business and three times as likely to re-purchase.
Keep this in mind:
“Marketing research has discovered that it takes 12 positive experiences to repair the damage caused by a single unresolved negative one. In today’s competitive business environment, even one negative experience is enough to lose a customer forever because people now are less tolerant toward poor encounters than ever before.” – Daniel Newman, Forbes
4. Listen to and absorb all feedback
Feedback can be collected in a variety of ways, from annual surveys, to direct email outreach to social media monitoring. However it is collected, and whether it is positive or negative, any feedback is good feedback. Listen, understand, and act on feedback where applicable and appropriate. It is one of the best ways to improve your ongoing customer experience.
5. Add an extra touch
Customers love to feel special and appreciated for their business. Adding a touch of personalization, consideration or recognition goes a long way. Is there anything you can do for your customers to remind them that you pay attention to their needs, wants and preferences? These experiences add value, and can also help instill an enormous amount of loyalty. Going the extra mile for your customers often pays greater dividends than you might think.
Ensuring your customers are happy and satisfied with your product or service is essential for long-term prosperity and survival. After all, 20% of customers typically bring in 80% of revenue, which is definitely worth investing the time, money and effort in delivering an exceptional customer experience.
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