Regardless of how big or small your business is, customer experience is an important aspect of what you should focus on when it comes to making meaningful connections with your audience. It’s the whole process your customer goes through from start to finish when they interact with your business. From that initial research to interacting with your sales team, to purchase and follow up customer service, and everything in between. Every. Single. Touchpoint.
While there are certain things that are out of your control, it’s important to set yourself up for success – which means a great customer experience that creates happy customers and loyalty. And, just like your social media strategy, you can’t just “set it and forget it” because your approach needs to change along with changing customer behaviours.
Here are a few things to remember as you are setting up the best possible customer experience in 2022.
Customers want it… Now!
Let me start by saying that you need to set boundaries as a business owner. You can’t be available 24/7. It’s not healthy. On the flip side of this, we live in a world where your customers are used to instant gratification. We get packages delivered within 24 hours. We can call up a food delivery service and have a gourmet meal delivered immediately. Heck we can even have a coffee delivered from our favourite coffee shop. And don’t even get me started on communication. Sometimes, if I don’t get a response from someone within a few hours I wonder whether they are OK or not. So what does that mean for your business? Well, for starters, the 24-hour turnaround for response times is likely too long. You need to find ways to check and respond to your emails more than once first thing in the morning. You also need to find efficiencies throughout the purchase process so things go smoothly and your customers get their purchases delivered as fast as possible.
Don’t bother hiding anything
We’ve been through a lot digitally in the past few years. Privacy issues and data breaches are common topics of discussion. But even more than that, your customers are more aware of all the tricks businesses used to use to hide things like surprise fees and unexpected restrictions on what happens after the purchase. In 2022, part of your job is to be as transparent as possible. The old saying “honesty is the best policy” is really the way to go. Not only does it help you build stronger relationships with your customers, but you really also don’t want to get caught in a deception. It will only end badly for your business. And while you’re at it, make sure you are taking good care of your customer data so they don’t have to worry about any security issues.
Make digital a top priority
The world went digital in the past couple of years – even the people who hate digital – because we all had to. While we’re all eager to get back to face-to-face, don’t forget the killer digital strategy you put in place. (And that’s all I’m going to say about that!)
It’s not too late to invest in e-Commerce
To sell online or not to sell online… Is that really the question? If you’re on the fence about eCommerce you should probably just go ahead and do it. But remember that any strategy you build and implement for your business should always be based on your customer behaviour. If you have customers that are finding it hard to buy from you because you don’t have an online store set up, then it’s definitely time. If you know your target audience hangs out a lot online, then it’s definitely time. And it’s not too late to get started.
Build community and environmental impact into your strategy
Your customers want more from you. They want to know that you share the same values and beliefs they do. They want to know that you’ll stand for the same causes they do. Remember that the impact you have on your community and the environment can’t be an afterthought. You need to weave it through all of your planning and all of your strategies otherwise it’s temporary.
Your customer experience starts from within
This isn’t a fortune cookie or anything, just fact. If your whole team isn’t on board with your vision for the customer experience you are creating, it will never work. Ever. Employee satisfaction, employee mental health, diversity within the workplace, creating a safe working environment. All of those things will not only affect how your team interacts with customers, but they will also affect how your customers perceive you.
There you have it. These are a few things you need to focus on to create the best customer experience in 2022.
Candace Huntly is Founding Partner at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
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A version of this article was originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications blog.