Did you know that your customers have already formed an opinion about your brand? It's true, and it's also more complicated than that. The fact of the matter is that their opinion of you is in a constant state of evolving. When a shopper interacts with your store, no matter how small or significant the encounter, their experience will influence their opinion of you. Every interaction a customer has with your business impacts their ever-shifting perception of your brand.
This perception is called customer experience, or "CX" for short.
Whenever a shopper engages with your brand, that interaction is referred to as a touchpoint, and yes, "touchpoints" are where the customer experience is either improved or degraded. Here are some common touchpoints that impact CX:
- Entering your retail location
- Encountering cashiers and sales personnel
- Experiencing your products or services
- Speaking with customer service to resolve an issue
- Engaging with your brand on social media
- Considering the opinions that other shoppers have formed about your brand
As you can see, CX is not impacted by customer service experiences alone. Customer service is only an aspect that contributes to CX.
To understand the full scope of CX, consider the "customer journey," which begins when consumers become aware of your brand and ends with them buying your goods and services. Every touchpoint a consumer experiences with your business along their journey will contribute to their personal CX with your brand.
Provide shoppers with positive CX, and their loyalty will increase along with your sales. Slack off from delivering the best CX possible, and you'll soon find that your customers have started shopping elsewhere.
All brands should strive to improve CX.
In this blog post, you will learn how to create a better customer experience at your store.
PERSONALIZE EVERY INTERACTION WITH CUSTOMERS
When retailers are able to personalize their interactions with customers, their customers tend to have a positive customer experience. Now, you may not be able to personalize every interaction, but if you're contacting your shoppers via email, social media, SMS text, or even snail mail, you better have a very good reason.
Meaning, the message you're sending needs to contain information, discounts, or some other content that your customers will find personally relevant. If you contact them with generic deals or generalized clearance sales, they're going to feel annoyed rather than excited.
A great tool you can use to offer your shoppers as much personalization as possible is a customer loyalty rewards program. Loyalty programs have powerful CRM software at their core, which collects valuable customer data as members interact with the program and shop at your store. You can then leverage that data into personalized marketing campaigns, all within the loyalty program itself.
PLACE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AT THE HEART OF YOUR COMPANY
We firmly believe that living up to the golden rule always produces the best results, no matter what. When you treat other people the way you would like to be treated, they can tell, and they appreciate it. That positivity will return to you, and the good vibes will really start to circulate.
You can also apply the golden rule at your business. By developing and implementing protocols for your sales staff to treat customers the way in which they would like to be treated, you will improve customer experience and boost customer loyalty.
Take the golden rule one step further by using your customer loyalty rewards program to treat others the way you would like to be treated. You would probably appreciate it if your friend told you about a huge sale that's happening right now, especially if your favorite eco-friendly cleaning product is available at a quarter of the price. Your loyalty program can be just as thoughtful by alerting members to relevant promotions when their favorite products are on sale.
PROVIDE AS MANY OPTIONS AS POSSIBLE
Consumers love options. Some shoppers love the self-checkout aisle, while others prefer to have cashiers ring up their purchases. Most customers want to pay with a debit or credit card, but that doesn't mean there aren't customers who like using Apple Pay's tap-and-go. And let's not forget those rare customers who decide to "get rid of all their pennies" when cashiers least expect it.
Retailers who provide as many options as possible find that they're able to accommodate a broad spectrum of customers, and improve CX for everyone across the board. Contact methods are another area where shoppers appreciate options. Can customers reach you via phone, SMS text, social media DM, email, website chatbot, and carrier pigeon? By opening up the channels of communication, you can respond to more customer inquiries and convert more potential shoppers into loyal customers.
Your customer loyalty rewards program can add an extra layer of options that members will love. By including the option to shop at your digital swag shop 24 / 7, your customers can add items to their Wish Lists and redeem points for cool merchandise. Also, by including multiple channels of communication, you can reach your loyalty members via in-app mobile push notifications, SMS texts, and emails, and vice versa.
THESE NO-NO's WILL HURT CX & CUSTOMER LOYALTY
Finally, in addition to ensuring that you provide your shoppers with excellent CX, you'll also want to avoid these common no-no's that contribute to bad CX. Definitely do not do the following:
Fail To Update Customers When Their Orders Are Changed, Delayed, Or Canceled
We wish retailers and especially eCommerce businesses never did this, but unfortunately, some retailers have slipped into the nasty habit of failing to alert their customers when changes or delays have occurred on their orders.
As soon as a product on your website becomes unavailable, you have to change the "Buy" button on your website to "Join the Waitlist." You cannot continue to collect payments for items that you do not have on-hand to sell. And for any customers who have ordered and paid, you have to contact them immediately to either issue a refund or propose another product.
That's just one example of many, but a general rule of thumb to follow is that you should alert your customers to any changes or delays in their orders. Do not wait for them to contact you, wondering what happened, because once they find out that you failed to contact them, they will resent you.
Put Your Customers Through the Ringer with Customer Service Transfers
Have you ever called a customer service number, explained your issue to the representative, waited on hold for an eternity while they transferred you to another rep, and had to explain your issue a second time to the new representative?
If the first customer service rep wasn't relaying your issue to the second rep while you were on hold forever, then what in the bloody hell took so long? Unfortunately, some customers are transferred to two, three, or four reps, and have to explain their issue over and over again every time. By the time they get to the final customer service representative who's actually in a position to help them, they're ready to bite the guy's head off.
When the internal organization and communication of your customer service department is poor, the CX that you provide your customers will be too, so be sure to work on your internal systems.
Offer Dead Channels of Communication
Convenience is everything to consumers these days, which is a theme we've written about often on the Loyal~n~Save blog, especially when it comes to contacting companies online. Contacting customer service via social media DM, using website chatbots, and even sending emails are all convenient methods of communication that customers like using.
If you claim that customers can contact the customer service department of your company via social media DM, you better appoint an employee to respond to those DMs. If you offer your business email address for consumers to get in touch with questions about your products or services, then you have to reply to those emails quickly. If you add a chatbot to your website, make sure it's programmed with enough intelligence to actually be helpful, otherwise consumers will know their time is being wasted and they’ll feel frustrated because of it.
Aim to offer the highest level of integrity, first and foremost. Meaning, if you can't live up to handling social media DM inquiries, then simply don't offer this form of communication. It's far better to only offer your telephone number if that's the lone method of communication you can handle than to claim you have multiple channels that customers can use to reach you when in reality they're all "dead."
At Loyal~n~Save, we put the action in customer satisfaction, and strive to help our retailers improve CX at their stores with our customer loyalty rewards program. Our loyalty platform offers personalization, automation, and the essential tools you need to provide your loyal shoppers with one positive experience after the next.
Our loyalty program includes a customizable mobile app that members love. The Loyal~n~Save mobile app uniquely offers a digital swag shop where customers can redeem their earned points on exclusive items. Not only will our swag shop increase awareness about your brand, it will also keep rewards points circulating through your business whether or not your retail store is open. Nothing improves CX like the option to claim exclusive products via the mobile app 24 / 7.
Ready to sign up for Loyal~n~Save? Check out our pricing packages to determine which tier will best serve your business. Have a question before you commit? Contact us to speak with a loyalty strategist that specializes in your retail industry.
This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.