If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know we’ve talked about how to meet customer expectations. But this is easier said that done. So we’re starting a new series on the Areedi blog where we give you tips about how to make sure your customers are delighted and satisfied. These are some overall tips to help improve their experience. Future posts will have more detailed information and actionable steps.
- Manage Customer Expectations: One of the most important things you can do to reduce friction is to let customers know what to expect of your business. If your storefront is only open 9am to 6pm for three days a week – is this clear to your customers? If delivery for their order within Lagos will take 3 – 5 business days for whatever reason – have you let them know? If you only answer phones at certain hours – is this information available to them? One big reason why customers get upset at businesses is because there was a mismatch between their expectations and what the business provided. It is a continuous process – you must use your channels (social media, websites, emails etc.) to help you meet customer expectations.
- Train and retrain employees: It is crucially important to have a training program for your employees. They all need to know how to deal with customers, even if their primary role is not customer-facing. You never know when a customer might interact with someone who thinks his role is only in the back office – and what could be a positive moment may become negative without the right training. Training must be appropriate and done regularly so that the employees understand the importance of interacting with customers the right way. Employees have a really key role to play in helping a business meet customer expectations.
- Figure out what the data is saying: Most businesses have access to interesting data today. Social media like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter all come with free insights, especially if you have the business versions. You can see what posts resonate with your followers quite easily. There are many tools that can help you understand how customers visit your website and interact with your content, and even how many times a particular product page is visited. Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools for this, and it is also free. You can use your sales data to figure out which products are most popular, and which ones aren’t selling enough to meet business expectations. You’ll also be able to figure how many of your customers are repeat customers via a number of tools (sales data, customer databases, repeat purchases from your online store etc.) If you don’t meet customer expectations – they won’t come back to purchase again.
- Ask the customers: Do you need to figure out what your customers want? You should ask them. Many of them will be glad to tell you 1 or 2 things. You can use surveys after purchases – either in person or via email. You can ask them when they call in if there’s anything else you can do to serve them better. You can invite a select few to give feedback or to test a new product / service you’d like to offer (we can do this for you in our usability lab if you’re not sure where to begin). You don’t have to immediately implement everything your customers ask for – but you should at least hear them out. It will help your business figure out ways to meet customer expectations.
These are the basic stepping stones for improving your customer experience. They should form the backbone for the actionable steps that you can take within your own business. In a nutshell: listen to the customers, check out the data, figure out what to implement, test and iterate. What else would you suggest? Let’s hear it in the comments!