Our fast-paced lifestyles have deemed the slow, traditional ways of handling customer experience largely obsolete. Nowadays, customers have limited attention spans as a result of the quantity of options presented to them. And, they are more educated as to the ulterior motives of many of the traditional marketing messages.
Therefore, you, as a business owner need to consider how to amend both your marketing message and delivery. Both in order to fully engage your customers. This will entail improving what you are offering as well as upgrading your overall customer experience strategy.
It’s fair to say that improving customer experience is something business owners discuss at least once a year. If you haven’t yet, it’s probably time you do.
In fact, according to research undertaken by Salesforce, 75% of customers are expecting a consistent experience whenever they engage with a business. This point is really noteworthy: take note of the word consistency.
In the minds of the customer, consistency builds trust. I have met countless business that are continually experimenting with their marketing, trying to discover some hidden secret, but all at the expense of being consistent.
So in marketing words, here is a good rule of thumb: when you are bored of your message, as are your staff and maybe your suppliers and close friends, this is NOT the time to stop with the same messaging.
The time to stop is when you see the ROI on your particular message (advert etc) no longer working in your favour. Which reminds me, are you measuring this?
An additional point from the Salesforce study was that 87% of customers think most businesses need to work on providing a seamless experience. i.e. one of your competitive advantages could come from making the entire transactional journey with your customer as hassle free as possible.
Seems logical does it not? Are you currently improving this part of your business?
How often have you been in the situation of calling a company and getting stuck on the phone for ages? Being tossed from menu to menu, or being placed on hold, before the phone system either disconnects you or you hang up out of frustration. So as a last resort you try to look online for the answers.
Just imagine the amount of business you could lose if this was your system.
Fortunately, there is a steady stream of new technology being released that has been specifically designed to improve customer satisfaction. If you are not exploring these newer options, and figuring out which ones will genuinely add value to your business, then you are simply being left behind.
Let’s look at some of the popular tech used by small businesses to help employees boost satisfaction levels.
Autopilot with Automation
Automation is basically putting certain tasks on autopilot. So that you and your employees can focus your energies and talents elsewhere.
In this case, using a chatbot could be a game-changer for your business. The bot will allow your customers to get a solution for their issue quickly, if not in real-time. This efficiency builds the customer’s trust and satisfies the need for instant gratification.
In addition, chatbots act as a customer service channel for basic questions which can decrease your phone and email volume. By automating simple queries, your team can focus on more complex customer issues faster. Another side benefit to this is an improvement in the levels of staff satisfaction.
Of course, chatbots will only work if you program them to the correct level of intelligence. Your bot needs to get smarter over time and this will only happen if you are consistently fine tuning it, or it has self-learning functionality built in.
A New Level with Machine Learning
Collecting and analyzing customer data can be a time consuming task, particularly when done manually. This is one area where machine learning can significantly help us.
Machine Learning is swiftly changing the way we see data. If you were given the chance to examine a negative customer experience, to understand why it was negative and to compare this to a positive customer experience, then you’d be foolish not to grab it.
This is what machine learning can do for us. They can take all the data connected to positive and negative experiences and gain understanding from it. The built in artificial intelligence (AI) then learns the difference between the negative and positive.
For instance, an on-line customer is on a particular path leading to a negative experience based on the data collected. The AI can then decide on the best next step to improve it.
These tools are already well entrenched in some of the larger corporate businesses, like Amazon, which have sophisticated models, however it is just a matter of time before they filter down to the micro-business level
AI and the Buyer’s Journey
Assuming that your customer has a need and you are providing something to fulfill this, what is the primary factor that gets them to do business with you?
We know from prior research that the majority of transactions take place due to some level of emotional commitment or reasoning from the buyer, although the reasons often given for why a customer made a specific choice usually indicate a logical as opposed to an emotional pathway.
Effective marketing taps into this emotional pathway, but how do you go about identifying what are these emotional triggers in your customer?
This is where AI again comes into the picture, as it can provide us insights into a buyer’s journey to answer the “why this and not that” part.
During the customer’s journey, the customer gets to decide when to commit to purchasing. AI helps determine where the decision was made and why. Was it the cost of the item? Was it a negative website experience? Or was it another ad that caught their attention? AI can analyse these insights, helping the business to update their strategies instantaneously.
The more AI gets in-depth with your customers, the better your team can tailor messages for each stage of the buyer’s lifecycle. Envision a marketing campaign that is custom-made for every stage, with everything your customers wants to hear. This is the type of customer satisfaction at hand’s reach with AI.
Even I bleat on about narrowing down your niche, understand exactly what they want, build internal capability. This is so you excel in this niche and design your business so that you can profit. Well this is sound advise and is genuinely the recipe for business success.
But with AI advancements even this paradigm shift is being challenge because through AI it is possible to tailor your messaging to a much broader niche. The opportunity in this area is massive.
Internet of Things (IoT)
It’s crucial to get to know as much as possible about your customers. This is In order to design products and create campaigns that convert prospects to paying customers. IoT collects vast quantities of data and can present a better understanding of what your ideal customer looks like.
How your customer uses the internet, down to their average age and even the type of experience they wish to have, can be extracted. The IoT, can help you customize the customer’s experience to fit their preferences.
This includes aspects of your personality, various demographic details, interest, what social groups they belong to, buying and viewing preferences etc.
By designing your company to satisfy these needs that your customers have, they will experience your business as being part of their family, and they will keep coming back.
Summing it all up!
The upcoming year is expected to bring in many cutting-edge advancements to aid positive customer experience. If you are observant, you will notice that SMEs access to this technology will become increasingly affordable and easier to operate.
Utilizing technology to maintain or improve your competitive advantage dictates that you can no longer ignore these changes. It is better for you to be on the front foot and to actively explore and pursue these newer technologies.
Your market and your customers are constantly changing. Many times, because you are entrenched in your market, you will not notice the subtle changes that are taking place. But, believe me when I say they are happening.
I urge you to take some time out, step out of the forest and examine what has changed and what is likely to change. Determine where are you able to develop your next frontier of competitive advantage where it matters most: your customers!
There is an easier way to move your business forward in relation to gaining this competitive advantage. Of course, aside from doing it the DIY way. The DIY is the hardest route, it is the reason why 99% of business struggle in this area.
Engage an experienced “outsider” who will not only see you’re your situation differently to how you do, but will also challenge your current thinking.
So yes, my hand is now raised. If you are open to considering working with me, then click the button below!Contact Sean Today!