Make everyone feel welcome
If a customer walks through your door for the first time, or the tenth time, it’s important to make them feel welcome. While it may seem like an obvious thing to do, friendly service is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to create a positive customer experience.
It might just be a warm smile or a friendly chat. Maybe a follow-up note or email, to thank them for their business. Little things like this cost almost nothing but can have a major impact on customer satisfaction.
If there’s more than one person who tends to customers, it might be a good idea to create a set of guidelines that the team can follow so each customer is treated the same way every time.
Value everyone’s time
Everyone’s time is precious. If a customer ever feels that their time is being wasted, it can leave them frustrated. That’s why everything from ease of parking near you (if you have a store) to ease of finding your website online, needs to be considered from the customer’s perspective and made as easy as possible for them to do.
If you have a store, it’s important to make navigation easy, or assist customers so they can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
If you have a website, navigation is especially important when customers are searching or shopping. If your website is difficult to navigate or search, customers may just leave and head to a competitor site. So it’s important to ensure you have a good user experience (often referred to as UX) so that the use or navigation of the site feels seamless and intuitive.
If you’re seeing abnormally high bounce rates (which is the rate of people visiting your site and then leaving abruptly) or high exit rates without purchase, these could be signals that visitors are finding the navigation too complicated or frustrating.
You can use Google Analytics to find out your site’s bounce rate, time on site and page views, and then compare it to averages in your industry to see if your site could do with a few improvements to help boost online sales.
Make it easy to pay
Regardless of whether a customer has found what they’re looking for, they could still leave at any time; without purchasing from you. That's why it's important to ensure that there are minimal barriers when it comes time to pay and that the customer always feels confident purchasing from you.
If there are queues formed in your store, just acknowledging those people in the line who are waiting, will make them feel valued and subsequently willing to stay a little longer.
If your customer is online and ready to pay, minimising any friction during the checkout process and reassuring them with appropriate payment security is important. So the whole process needs to give the customer confidence to give you their details and have as few steps as possible.
It’s also important to have a clear returns policy and process that customers feel confident using. This will often help convince those customers, who might otherwise be on the fence about a purchase, to proceed with the purchase.
Respond quickly and honestly
When customers have questions or concerns, this stops them on their path to purchase, so it’s important to respond to them quickly. Without the answers they’re looking for, they may lose interest. Or worse, find the answers with a competitor.
Responsiveness is particularly important when dealing with customer issues. As happens in any business, things can go wrong, and customers may get upset. The key is what happens when they do.
If something does go wrong, acknowledge it. Quickly. And try to fix the problem. You might even offer some form of compensation if you can, even if it’s something small. Most people are willing to accept human error or a product failure as long as it’s acknowledged and resolved quickly.
Make feedback your friend
Often the best way to give your customers a great experience is to simply ask them what’s working and what isn’t, and then adapt accordingly. You’ll often find that your repeat customers are only too happy to give you feedback if you ask for it. Plus, it shows that you recognise their loyalty and value their thoughts.
There are several ways you can go about this: you could simply have a conversation with them and ask them what they think, you could create a form – either physical pieces of paper or digital versions that you can get customers to fill out, or you could use one of the many third-party applications online that can build you your feedback form and then simply send your customers a link to it.
Any customer feedback you get will be invaluable for your business. It’ll help expose any issues you may unknowingly have, find out where improvements can be made, and might even uncover some great ideas to implement. It’ll all help. Armed with feedback, you can continue to give your repeat customers the best experience possible, every time.