The customer experience can make or break your company. While a great experience instills confidence and trust, and keeps customers coming back for more, a negative one can ensure a first-time user never returns. As a service department, you can take steps to streamline and improve each step of the process, from first contact to post-sale communication.
Keep It Simple
Modern customers have short attention spans and an endless variety of options, which leads to a lower tolerance for hassle and frustration. If any part of your customer experience is slow or confusing, users can jump over to a competitor in seconds.
To find weak spots, employ testers to go through each part of the marketing, communication, sales and service processes. Make sure each step is clear and easy to complete. Hire testers who have little to no knowledge of the company and industry; they can help you spot overly technical sections that might confuse industry outsiders. Then, tweak the back-end programming to reduce lag time and eliminate form errors. This process is time-consuming, but it is one of the most important things you can do to create a better customer experience.
In the age of Twitter and text messaging, customers are accustomed to quick responses and instant gratification. Stay current and improve your customer experience by reducing response time. Whether you're dealing with a service department request or a project change request, aim to respond as quickly as possible, preferably within 24 hours. Consider factors that might be slowing down the system, and replace them with faster options. If you currently accept project change requests by mail or email, switch to a digital app to cut processing time. If you use an outdated online form for customer questions, use a customer service Twitter account to provide real-time answers.
Customers often have a set of expectations when it comes to business dealings. By over-delivering, you can exceed these expectations and create a customer experience packed with surprises. Try to beat delivery deadlines whenever possible. Help customers streamline installation by including small, inexpensive items they might easily forget to get, such as batteries, Ethernet cables or adapters.
Don't worry if you're on a tight budget; delighting customers doesn't have to break the bank. Focus on personal interactions that build a strong relationship. Ask service agents to follow up on a big purchase with a call or an email to make sure the customer is satisfied; this proactive step creates a chance to answer questions and head off potential issues before they grow into a frustrating problem. Use your knowledge base to create a set of resources that help the customer get more from his investment, and send the resources with the products. By anticipating and meeting customer needs before they even think to ask, you can establish yourself as a thoughtful, caring business.
Next to product quality, the customer experience is one of the most important factors of business success. By investing the time to create a positive experience, you can build brand loyalty and create a lasting edge over the competition.
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