A business is only good as its customer base. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter the quality of what you sell because if customers have a bad experience, they’ll simply take their hard-earned money elsewhere. Good products and services die every day because a competitor provided a better digital or in-person experience.
What exactly is customer experience and how does a company build a winning digital strategy that is relevant and realistic to implement? Let’s break this down in ways that will help you formulate your own. Additionally, if the goal is to partner with vendors like a website design agency in Toronto, then customer experience is something you should consider as part of the pitch. The last thing you want is to feel unsupported and lost because of a lack of process.
Remember, a good experience will not only bring a customer back but could result in them spending more per visit.
Defining Customer Experience
Businesses should have multiple interactions, or touchpoints, with their customers. These touchpoints are opportunities to excite and engage customers. There are the typical ones like a homepage or a storefront display or the checkout process. These are moments where a customer experience will naturally exist.
Here are some other touchpoints that are often overlooked:
- An out-of-nowhere promotion or discount.
- Some type of follow-up to determine how their experience went.
- A survey sent via email or text. Keep it short and to the point with key messages.
- Appearing at or sponsoring community events. This creates more opportunities to communicate your brand but also allows you to start your customer experience earlier and more subtly.
The more positive touchpoints the more likely your customer experience will produce increased engagement. Engagement will pay off in spades as customers move through your sales funnel to become repeat customers, or even better, ambassadors.
A great way to think of it is that you are building a mutually-beneficial relationship, not these one-off scenarios that are purely transactional. It’s sometimes hard to put the sale in the background and to think about the big picture where greater benefits exist.
Building a Digital Strategy
Treat customer experience like you would any other business operation. It requires a sound strategy followed by impeccable execution. Start your strategy-making process by considering these things:
- Who are your customers?
Where do they live? How old are they? What do they want from your business? A simple form on a website’s contact us page can capture pertinent data to help build a customer experience strategy.
- By what means do you engage them?
Online, TV ads, radio spots, in-person, etc.
- What is the journey from first engagement to sale?
By mapping this out, you can see all the different touchpoints. You can also uncover new possibilities, including fresh ways to streamline a process or where you can potentially upsell.
Smart businesses invest in perfecting their digital and real-world customer experience, understanding the potential impact to their bottom line.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. The last time a company went the extra mile, did it not leave an impression? Did it make you excited about the prospect of doing business with them again? Also, think about how easy it was to ditch a company that was difficult to deal with.
The value comes not just from the customer experience being positive but also by delivering what was promised. Whatever you do to initially engage a customer—a gift or promo code—needs to be delivered promptly without fail.
Over-delivering isn’t a bad idea either. Everyone loves to be pleasantly surprised and made to feel as if they are truly valued. This doesn’t mean dishing out bonus promo codes but it can come in the form of exceptional customer service or improvements to a website’s user experience.
The Value of Customer Experience
The value of customer experience goes far beyond selling a product or service. It’s about turning people into customers and customers into brand ambassadors who support your business in several ways.
Data suggests that customer experience done right can lower a business’ customer acquisition cost and can curb attrition, which is defined by customers leaving you for a competitor. In the long run, you can spend less on acquiring new customers while increasing the amount your current customer base spends per transaction.
It’s a true win-win situation. A business receives a greater return on the investment made to acquire customers, and the customer receives a significantly better experience.
Start with Employees
Even the most comprehensive customer experience strategy will fall flat if you don’t have the right employees. Your employees connect, communicate and help customers through the experience while ensuring they understand the value of giving you their business.
Choose employees who are coachable, friendly and truly get your value proposition. Make sure you teach them every aspect of your customer experience from beginning to end and their role in executing it. This should bleed into your digital marketing and communications. Pick the right personalities to manage your live chat and respond to inquiries.
It’s not a necessity but it’s never a bad idea to incentivize your customer experience so employees are engaged with the process.
Soft Selling Can Work
Unless you’re Amazon, who can berate a user with “other items you might like” prompt, you need to find the appropriate time to upsell. Coming on too strong could be a turn-off so try to incorporate soft selling into your customer experience.
A simple tactic is to express gratitude to your customers. Keep it simple and don’t go over-the-top. If you capture data via your website, then wish your customers a happy birthday via email and be sure to include a small promotion. Lastly, reach out to customers you haven’t heard from in a while to let them know about new products or developments with your business.
When it comes to a website’s homepage, you want to communicate clearly, appeal to their sensibilities and not sell too aggressively. A good customer experience should lead to a sale, but you need to earn it through factors like user experience, core messaging, digital marketing and customer service.
Brand & Mortar’s Approach
Brand & Mortar is a digital marketing agency in Toronto that specializes in branding, website development and design and graphic design, among other services. We believe that working with a marketing firm should offer a positive customer experience from ideation through planning and execution and all the way through implementation.
Like any digital agency, we would not exist without customers. Founder and President, Jordan Shea, states, “We invest heavily in our customer experience because we believe it influences our customer service and drives our business.”
Shea also notes the role that his digital agency plays in creating customer experience through website design, marketing and graphic design. “No matter what we do — a website, paid ad or blog post —we are contributing to a client’s customer experience.”
Contact a Digital Marketing Agency in Toronto
Brand & Mortar, Toronto’s premiere digital agency, specializes in creating unequalled experiences for brands with respect to social media, graphic design, website design and development, mobile application development and public relations. Reach out to discuss how we can help you build a wow customer experience that will impact your bottom line. We’d love to learn more about your business and how our talents and expertise can take it to the next level.