The Customer Experience Must Take Center Stage in the Post-Pandemic World
About the Author: Josh Delaney is a serial entrepreneur and founder of numerous startups including health and wellness focused FAB CBD.
Entrepreneurs worldwide are navigating through the new normal while simultaneously trying to figure out ways to future-proof their respective businesses. For some businesses, it comes down to revamping the product offering. For others, it can be about increasing data security, or becoming more green in their own unique way. One universal element that ties all entrepreneurs together is the need to offer a better customer experience. While customers do appreciate great products and great prices, they ultimately stay loyal with companies and brands that offer them the most delightful experience. The Temkin Group found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within 3 years of investing in customer experience.
Consumers are willing to pay to spend more for a great customer experience, and all it takes is a few quick adjustments to deliver on that for consumers. Every company can come up with its own unique way to improve the customer experience. It can serve as a game-changer, as seen in the case of Netflix. The company went from 21.5 million paid subscribers in 2011 to over 158 million paid memberships worldwide in 2019, simply through the introduction of personalized recommendations, and the ability to download content to consume later. Ikea is frequented by customers entirely for the shopping experience of wandering through the aesthetically-pleasing store for an afternoon, instead of being a quick shopping trip. The fact that their staff goes above and beyond to make guests feel welcome and cherished is just the icing on the cake.
A great example of this is sending personalized emails to customers after they make their first purchase with you. I send out a friendly welcome email to all new customers from me, from my email address with a picture of me and the products. This single email generates more buzz, loyalty, and respect than anything else we do. Customers feel important, included, and respected. Sometimes that is all it takes. Then if you want to take it one set further, send them another personalized email after they spend $1,000 at your store, just showing them more appreciation as a loyal customer. Maybe send them a Starbucks gift card or t-shirt with a handwritten note.
The deep importance of the customer experience
Customer dissatisfaction is widespread and, because of customers’ empowerment, increasingly dangerous, according to the Harvard Business Review. Their research states that “although companies know a lot about customers’ buying habits, incomes, and other characteristics used to classify them, they know little about the thoughts, emotions, and states of mind that customers’ interactions with products, services, and brands induce.” Companies need greater context. They need to know about these subjective experiences and the role every function plays in shaping them, because without making enhancements based on that understanding, customer satisfaction becomes more so a slogan than an actual goal.
The customer experience refers to the perception that consumers have of how companies treat and value them. The modern entrepreneur must understand the importance of investing in the long-term relationship, and determine ways to enhance every aspect of the customer journey across each touchpoint. Even the most seemingly mundane items add up, as many would remember with the iPod when it launched in 2001. Its appeal started with TV advertisements featuring silhouettes that danced to catchy tuned. Teaser campaigns set social media abuzz. Its beautiful and recyclable packaging set the bar, leading to people saving the boxes because of its appeal. The user experience of downloading tracks from iTunes instead of buying an entire CD from stores felt groundbreaking. Every touchpoint was perfected. Everything about the experience set the gold standard for manufacturers of all products, especially tech products, from that point forward.
The most efficient ways to improve the customer experience
Improving the customer experience in the post-pandemic world starts from the inside out.
Internal team members need to start by creating a customer journey map, while considering every perspective. This includes everything from the website, to social media engagements, to online ads, to customer service tickets, to email marketing campaigns, and everything in between. Every experience impacts the customer’s perspective differently. Mapping it all out will help identify gaps from the get-go.
The next step would be to see how employees feel about every touchpoint. Do they have the tools needed to do their job correctly? Are they swamped with inquiries? Do they feel underappreciated? Are there any internal pain points that need to be addressed?
UX and UI design would also need to be revisited. Up to 88 percent of users are less likely to return to a website after a bad user experience. The best way to avoid complicating customer experience, it would be ideal to have engineers or marketing teams optimize the digital domain to provide the most engaging and informative experience. This will ensure that the customer journey starts on a positive note.
We are collectively at the cusp of new beginnings, and there is no time like the present for entrepreneurs to future-proof their businesses by being proactive in enhancing the customer experience.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.