Looking back to everything we have learned since COVID-19 arrived on the scene, several strong patterns have now become clear. One of the biggest is the growing importance of the Customer Experience. While for decades we’ve heard lines like “the customer is always right,” the truth is that you only needed to go to your nearest fast food location or dial-in to almost any corporate customer service number to know that line isn’t exactly being taken to heart… Then Covid came. Suddenly uncertainty became the norm and everyone became much more selective with where they chose to spend their money. With that selectiveness has come higher standards and a desire for a deeper connection, resonance, and meaningfulness. This has also meant a rejection of impersonal, cookie-cutter marketing approaches that ignore the reality of a global pandemic. It’s more than likely that once Covid is over these higher customer and client experience standards will be a lasting impact. In fact, from a marketing perspective we might just look back at this moment in time and call it the genesis of the Consumer Experience Revolution.
So what does that mean for you and your business? Let’s unpack this and run through some ways your business can embrace this movement and use it to fuel your growth beyond Covid…
First: understand, integrate, and speak to the new normal. Today there is a deep hunger in the Covid era for exceptional customer experiences, which opens opportunities for the businesses willing to meet those needs. The flip side of that coin is that there is now also sharply less tolerance for lackluster or poor customer experiences. It’s important to take this fact to heart when reassessing how your business engages with customers and clients. To address this, everyone in your business needs to be on the same page in committing to improve customer experiences across the board, wherever possible. This is truly an all-hands-on-deck operation to rise to the occasion and meet the opportunities presented in this new landscape. Fortunately there’s a lot of options out there to do that and we should start by embracing that there’s always room for growth.
Place a new emphasis on seamless and efficient processes. Have yourself and your team step into your customer’s or client’s perspective and go through their process in engaging your business. What is your website like? Are you easy to get in touch with? Are there long wait times? Do they have avenues to express questions and concerns? Are you answering their questions/concerns wherever possible? Are your online payment options easy to use? How are your online reviews? When addressing these points make sure all communication going forward is positive, empathetic, and ready to help. This applies not only to your website messaging, but also your regular emails, phone calls, and social media. Bonus tip: after reviewing your own customer experience, take the extra step of going through the same process with your competitors, especially the larger ones with access to more resources. If your business manages to surpass their consumer experience, that can leave a big impression as you market to new audiences.
In addition to a consistently positive tone and having easy processes in place at every step, another key principle to employ is personalization. Look for any and all opportunities to personalize the customer experience. Be flexible for them, train your staff to know their name, and use automated systems that use personalizing features in emails. Bonus tip #2: Most businesses have at least one negative review floating around out there online and publicly visible. The best way to handle them is not to ignore them, but instead to respond to them in a positive and empathetic tone. Apologize for their experience not being up to your business’s standards, promise to look into it and improve, and offer them an opportunity to reach out personally through an email or, better yet, a call. If they follow-up with the outreach, hear them out and offer them an incentive ranging from a significant discount on their next purchase to a free product or service.
Finally, make sure you are communicating this new Customer Experience emphasis to your audience. If done successfully, it will greatly increase the likelihood of long term brand loyalty. At the end of the day, remember that investing more resources into improving customer experience is well worth it every time. Even a slight increase in brand loyalty and retention leads to substantially higher recurring profits year-to-year that you can count on.
Stay tuned for more Covid Marketing and Messaging tips and strategies!
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