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Monday, July 15, 2024

3 Strategies for Lasting Customer Loyalty and Growth

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Customer experience, put simply, is everything. Every interaction our customers have with our business, no matter how big or how small, can positively or negatively impact the relationship. A stellar customer experience can yield many benefits — increased revenue, brand loyalty, market share growth and competitive differentiation, to name a few.

According to PwC research, 73% of customers consider experience to be an important factor in their purchasing decisions, as well as price and product quality. In fact, 94% of customers who consider a brand’s CX to be “very good” are more likely to purchase more from the company in the future.

On the flip side, a staggering 72% of customers switch brands following one negative experience, according to the State of Customer Support report.

As consumer expectations continue to rise, entrepreneurs need to think carefully about their customer experience strategy. Now, more than ever, modern businesses need to create a tailored customer experience playbook that ensures consistent interaction across all touchpoints to deliver the exceptional experience today’s customers demand.

But how do you know what will work best for your company and customers? Here are some best practices to consider.

Related: How to Build Trust and Transparency With Your Customers While Taking Their Data

If you want to improve your customer journey, invest in your team

There’s no denying that technological advancements like AI and automation can help improve customer service processes and make your team’s jobs easier. Still, I would argue that your people set you apart from the competition. Excellent customer service starts at the employee level, a fact that many entrepreneurs may overlook.

Interestingly, Gartner research finds that two-thirds of customer satisfaction drivers are due to how customers feel during and about their experience. In my experience, when your employees feel valued and connected, those positive feelings often have a ripple effect on your customers. Think of it this way: People who are happy at work are in the best possible position to create happy customers.

Before I became Co-CEO of Marshall Building and Remodeling, it was important to me to step into the shoes of my team to better understand what they were experiencing daily. I worked events, managed crews, set appointments, ordered materials, cleaned our office, scheduled projects, cleaned up job sites, canvassed neighborhoods, obtained licenses and permits and closed in-home sales appointments. This gave me invaluable insight and ensured I never asked my team for more than I could deliver myself.

Related: Don’t Leave Customer Satisfaction To Chance- Design It

Wherever you can remove customer anxiety, do it

In a world where choices are plentiful, customers seek value not just in products but in how confident and secure they feel in their overall experience. If there are moments in your customers’ journey where their comfort level gets shaky, that should be a major red flag, signaling to you and your team that swift action must be taken.

Let me share an example. As we were scaling our business, we realized that having one person handle both the sales and production components of a project was unsustainable. So, we decided to build a sales team focused exclusively on in-home consultations and sales and a production team focused exclusively on crew development and seamless installations. The challenge became finding a way to seamlessly transition customers from their original salesperson to a project manager, knowing many of our customers were emotionally attached to their first point of contact. We decided to implement an important customer touchpoint at that moment, complete with a welcome package and onboarding call.

We called it “Meet Meg” (Meg is our company’s dynamic customer service manager). By introducing our customers to Meg, she became a bridge between the moment our customers signed with their salesperson and the time they began wondering about their next steps. “Meet Meg” became a way to ensure our customers would feel secure knowing they had a point of contact at the company who could handle all of their needs from start to finish.

Related: 5 Tips for Building a Strong Customer-Centric Culture and Fostering Brand Loyalty

Show customers they matter

Even though you may be prioritizing the customer journey, don’t assume your customers intrinsically understand how valuable they are to your company. You have to “show and tell” them how much they matter. My company sends each client a box of chocolates from a local chocolatier when they choose to work with us for their exterior home renovation needs. We pair this sweet treat with detailed information about what to expect moving forward with their project, introducing them to Meg. This lets them know how much we appreciate their business while simultaneously helping manage their expectations. Whether it’s a physical gift, a handwritten note, or a customer appreciation event, small gestures can really make a customer feel valued, in turn building that long-term affinity with your business.

One-size-fits-all customer experience playbooks don’t exist — and for good reason. Every business has distinct customers with distinct feelings, needs and preferences. It’s up to you to define what your playbook should look like. You need to develop the right plays, get your team on board to evangelize your approach and consistently keep your customers at the heart of your business decisions. When you do this, you’ll be able to not only say you are customer-centric, but it will become firmly embedded into your business ethos.



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