How Businesses Can Improve Customer Experiences
There are numerous examples of customer experiences going wrong. From unsatisfied in-store visits to unmet delivery timeframes for products purchased online, businesses run the gauntlet when faced with the task of earning a consumer’s loyalty. One little exchange can set a bad customer experience in motion, which can be compounded by the viral nature of social media. However, businesses can learn from these experiences to improve future customer interactions.
From customer conversations to updating policies, businesses have multiple ways of resolving a bad customer experience. As companies implement these solutions, they should look to customer feedback on how to cultivate better interactions. Here is a list of methods for improving or learning from a bad customer experience or interaction.
Continue to Treat Customer Conversations with Care
Businesses can converse with consumers on a variety of platforms. Online chat support options are growing in popularity for consumers due to their twenty-four-hour availability. Organizations need to use automated replies in order to convey to customers that their problem will be solved with urgency. Some consumers expect immediate responses from businesses and get frustrated when that doesn’t happen. As Oracle CEO Mark Hurd points out, “customers can cross shop at any time,” which means they have the ability to jump to another website if they don’t receive an answer to their question.
Many businesses now augment traditional customer service phone calls with chatbots. Companies now automate their calls by having a natural language processing robot manage the first part of a call to try and solve a person’s problem. Other businesses have added soundtracks or sales information to their hold lines.
Recognize Social Media is the New Customer Service Area
Social media is a key area for collecting consumer input on a business. People quickly take to social media channels to vent their frustrations or post about bad experiences. Companies are adding social media tactics and planning to their customer service department for that reason.
Businesses that plan ahead or organize their social media responses have the biggest impact on customer experience. Companies that ignore or do not respond to social media can face backlash from consumers. Customers spend a large part of their days on social media and businesses that do not actively engage with people or fail to respond to negative feedback lose valuable opportunities to help customers. Additionally, social media provides insights for companies on what consumers like and don’t like about their products or services. This information can be helpful in making future decisions or creating promotional campaigns.
Protect the Loyal Customer
Loyalty and shopper reward programs are meant to build goodwill between a business and consumers. However, company policies can sometimes get in the way of giving consumers what they want. Certain situations may call for a bending of the rules in order to prevent long-term harmful effects to a business. A loyal customer is more likely to continue a relationship with a company if they make small but meaningful accommodations.
Outside of rewards program members, a business should treat all consumer data as if it were real money. Data is becoming the new currency for businesses, and collecting and protecting it is a big driver for future endeavors. Although data breaches do happen, companies need to work to prevent consumer data from being hacked in order to maintain consumer trust.
Putting It All Together
Customer experiences vary from individual to individual. Businesses need to be cognizant of interactions to give people the best service possible. However, if a bad experience does occur, companies need to recognize and learn from it.
Each consumer conversation, no matter where it takes place, needs to be timely and polite. As consumers turn to social media, businesses should monitor conversations on their own channels. Organizations can maintain loyal customers by bending policies when necessary and protecting all consumer data. All of these steps aid businesses with improving consumer experiences.
Author Bio: Amanda Peterson is a software engineer and regular contributor to Enlightened Digital. Located in New York City, she enjoys Netflix binging and visiting record stores.