When researching how to improve customer experience, especially in a big business, you’re often met with quite a bit of frustration. The problem is that people often aren’t really clear on what customer experience really is. Until fairly recently, even experts in the field didn’t identify this field by this term, despite it not being new. The advent of the internet has caused a proliferation of somewhat obscure terminology spreading across blogs and business discussion forums, and of course, there’s that horrible phenomenon called buzzwords, which gums up terminology even more. Customer experience is kind of a buzzword, but for a change, this one actually means something useful.
So, before I give you a few pointers on how to improve customer experience, let’s very quickly define the term. Customer experience is basically the entire interaction between a company and a customer. This includes the marketing that results in their becoming aware of the company and their product or service. It also includes research they do both on the company’s site and on third party sources, as well as comparison to competitors. Finally, along with the use of the product or service (which is the most one-sided element), it also includes customer service or support in the event it is needed.
So, knowing this, how can you improve it?
#1 – Multi-Channel Marketing
It’s easy to get pigeonholed into one marketing channel or another, and that’s the first mistake. A lot of traditional marketing tactics, while they will effectively reach most prospects, are actually really obnoxious. Everyone mostly hates commercial interruptions in their radio or television programming, and popup ads or interstitial ads on pages are also really rude. So, while you may have little choice but to dabble in these, consider more homeopathic advertising channels that will leave the prospects interested, not annoyed with you.
These can include social marketing, buzz marketing, a number of things. We’re not here to outline these in detail, just know looking into this is your first step to better customer experience.
#2 – Control the Media
So, your customer’s interested. They’re aware of you, and now they need to research you. Being big business, you have the budget for good SaaS solution to track what people are saying about you on social mediums, and you can afford a lot of publishing space for white papers, case studies, and of course morally appropriate espionage on your competition. So, use this. Control the media as much as you can by being proactive and forthcoming with information, engagement both on your site and on third party channels (blogs, forums, social channels) and don’t just let the people at large have their way with your reputation. Be visible and inform your customers.
#3 – Efficient Customer Support
We’ve talked a lot about ways to improve your customer support, but this is probably going to be the place you can do the most, as a big business, to improve from your current status. As a big business, you’re probably already engaging the changes above, but no matter who you are, your customer service can always improve.
Not unlike marketing, it’s all about dynamism and parallelism here. Don’t rely only on the horrible call center concept. Adopt social support, help desks and self service if you can. This is where customer experience tends to go visibly wrong, as far as how a customer sees it, so make your support fast, convenient and pleasant for as many different tastes as you practically can.
If you heed this advice on how to improve customer experience, then you’re on your way to happier customers from the time they become aware of you to the possible time they need to complain or get help. Happy customers are returning customers, and no matter how big and wealthy your business has become, this is something you cannot take for granted even once.