By Gabriel Benjamin
It costs many times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. However, not all customers are the same. Some require more attention than others, some need guidance from time to time, and some simply do not wish to be disturbed.
In 2014, by gaining insights into the needs, preferences and behaviour of customers, their experiences can be optimized at critical touch points. This can be achieved by consistently delivering positive experiences and establishing a cordial and strong relationship with them. This will inadvertently build loyalty and drive the growth of an organization. Because one of the basic facts about being human is that we seek to repeat experiences we enjoyed and avoid those we didn’t, having these at the back of our mind can have a profound impact on how one runs a business. If all you want in 2014 are loyal customers and not just one –off, then it stands to reason that to create a positive customer experience is the route to achieve it.
Here are some of the elements for a better customer experience in 2014
1. Know about your customer’s psychology – This looks so simple, but so often forgotten. When we go to buy something, there are certain psychological elements that well put us into a buyer’s frame of mind. Though often the case, we are not consciously aware of being in this state. This is good for the service provider because it gives a massive opportunity to create a positive experience and leave the customers with a warm, glowing feeling without really knowing what has happened to them.
Conversely, service providers who fail to recognize what is going on in the minds of their customers are likely to make some big mistakes. The big question now is what is: ‘customer’s psychology’? Put simply, every customer believes that they are paying the service provider the greatest compliment by entering their shop, visiting their website, or calling their sales line. In a very great sense, they are right. They have chosen you over other competitors; from now on the customer is only yours to lose. Welcome them, make them feel important, flatter them, reassure them they have made the right decision, assist them, inform them, but above all,– repay the compliment because customers are no slave to you–You are not their master.
2. Create a pleasant environment – Creating a pleasant environment is relatively simple in a shop, restaurant or hotel. The interior design, the fixtures and fittings, the temperature, lighting, fragrance, all conspire to make your customer feel welcome and most importantly want to come back again – they are powerful tools.
Poorly enough, not all business organizations have contacts with their customers in this way. You have to create a virtual environment in 2014. You can do this by building strong corporate identity, and delivering consistently at all touch points. The uses of colours, imagery, typography, packaging, interactivity on the website all come to create positive feelings.
3. Don’t give your customers what they want – solve their problems – We are always let to understand that the strongest business model is, to find out what the customers want and give it to them. However, a more powerful was is ‘to find out what problems customers have and solve them’. A problem solved, leaves a customer with a better experience, and a powerful perception about your business for
4. Delight in over delivery – There is nothing more guaranteed to make a customer happy more than delivering more than they expected. There are so many low cost but high value things that you can do to over deliver. However, be careful to manage your customers’ expectations. Over deliver, but don’t over promise. This can have as powerful a negative effect as over delivery is positive.
5. In the end it’s all about your organizational culture – For many years, creating a good customer experience has been focused on consumer goods. Although marketing fast-moving consumer goods has its challenges, the beauty of mass manufacturing means that the same experience can be consistently delivered over again. And once the customer experience is established for your product, you will then not have to struggle for the hearts and minds of your customers in an entirely different way.
Above all, when dealing with dissatisfied or angry customers, try taking the blame. Nothing defuses an agreement more quickly than this. Once you have turned the table this way, be swift to offer a solution which is of minimum disruption to the customer.
To be a customer winner in 2014, you have to create ‘A Better Customer Experience’.