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Which businesses we choose to stay with often depends on how they make us feel. A global PwC survey found that 60% of consumers would stop doing business with a brand if they received unfriendly service. It's no surprise that our fundamental desire for respect drives our business decisions. Beyond answering customer support calls and replying to emails on time, some businesses manage to reassure us even if they can't provide an immediate solution. They earn our trust and loyalty by being empathetic. That's a good customer experience, and it's at the heart of every successful business.

Customer experience is a crucial investment regardless of your business size. In fact, recognising the value of good customer experience, Australia's Northern Territory Government offers a grant exclusively for small businesses to implement CX improvement initiatives.

Delivering great customer experience

One of the first steps in improving your customers' experience is identifying various customer touch points in your business. Analyse every interaction a potential customer has with your business throughout their buying process, and identify ways to improve their experience at every stage. Fix the little things —no activity is insignificant when it comes to improving your customers' experience. That way, every team shares the responsibility instead of it falling solely on the customer support team. Here are some ideas to get started.

From consideration to purchase, make it seamless

Find out ways to make your offering more intuitive for someone looking at it for the first time. A good customer experience makes your customer feel natural and completely comfortable when handling your product. It's not just about answering questions promptly, but rather reducing the need for questions in the first place. For example, when you buy a product online, the key details you'd look for are the price, delivery costs, and estimated time of delivery. By showing these details on the product listing page, the shopping cart page, and throughout the transaction, you're making sure that your customers are well-informed. This reduces the chances of them going back to previous pages, getting distracted, and abandoning the transaction.

You can also improve experience by offering additional material to help your audience connect with your product. If you're a retailer selling physical goods in a store, have clear signs and product labels to help customers understand what they're buying. The ACCC has prescribed laws about how you should display prices of your goods and services. Unless you're selling directly to a business entity, you must display the total price after adding applicable taxes like the GST. If you sell groceries, you also have to display unit prices. Learn more about the ACCC's guidelines for displaying prices.

Align your marketing, sales, and support messages

Customers hate explaining their requirements to multiple people before they get the help they need. With more and more people engaging with brands on social media, it's vital to have your teams communicate with each other. The sales team, for example, should know which campaigns your leads are coming from and align expectations so they can keep the conversation going. This consistency is key to developing trust in your potential customers, solving their problems effectively, and building successful customer relationships.

Tailor your communication to your audience

We love it when someone we've met once remembers our name at the second meeting. It gives us a sense of worth and tells us that they care about us. The same goes for businesses. Customising the name in your emails and sending birthday wishes are great gestures, but remember that everyone does that now. To make a lasting impression on your customers, go beyond simple customisations. For example, if you're running a campaign to generate leads, make sure you have follow-up emails, support personnel, and information for leads coming through that specific campaign. These resources will have a different tone than your regular lead nurturing process. Though it involves a lot more effort on your part, it shows your audience that they can rely on you.

Train your team members on empathy

It can be hard to admit that we need empathy training, but it's almost always the truth. Even though most of us are inherently sympathetic, empathy is about putting yourself in your customers' shoes, acknowledging their issues, and trying to help them. When your entire organisation approaches their tasks empathetically—whether its product design, pricing structure, marketing, sales, or customer support—you can improve experience throughout a customer's journey.

Empathy is an essential skill for all employees, and especially the ones interacting with customers on a daily basis. Even if you can't resolve their concerns right away, a considerate response can reassure customers and encourage them to continue doing business with you.

Measuring customer success

To assess how well your efforts are working, measure metrics like the lifetime value of a customer, churn rate, return business rates, and customer loyalty rates. Understanding how satisfied your customers are is crucial for growing your business. If you use a CRM and/or helpdesk tool to manage your customer information, most of these metrics will be automatically available. However, there are also other ways to measure customer satisfaction, the most popular one being the Net Promoter Score or the NPS.

NPS is measured by asking your customers a single question: "How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or a colleague?" Variations of the same question include, "How satisfied are you with our business?" and "Would you do business with us again?"

Regardless of the exact phrasing, the NPS is always a one-question survey with a ten-point rating system to determine customer loyalty. Based on your ratings, customers are divided into three categories: Promoters (those who score you 9-10), Passives (6-8), and Detractors (1-5). Your NPS is the percentage of your promoters minus detractors. For instance, if you got 5 Promoters, 3 Passives, and 2 Detractors, that'd mean 30% of your customers are loyal to your brand and will continue to do business with you. The NPS is a good starting point for you to conduct further analysis and narrow down on your customer metrics. It's also the easiest type of analysis to conduct because you only need a simple tool like Zoho Survey to get it up and running.

Customer experience should be a priority for every business. With the pandemic forcing more people to remain socially distant, we're all looking for personal and friendly human interaction in every conversation. Cater to that and you'll see your customer success rates go up automatically.

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