This week we feature an article from Chelsea Lamb, co-founder and head tech writer at Business Pop. She provides multiple strategies to improve the customer experience in order to gain and retain repeat customers.
It’s been said that customer service is dead. Unfortunately, for many businesses, this is true. We live in such an instant gratification world that customers will often simply seek the next best thing if they don’t get the desired outcome to start. But, that does not mean that you cannot improve your customers’ experiences with your business. Doing so is the best way to retain the loyalty of those clients you’ve worked so hard to secure. Here are some tips.
Cut out the middleman where you can.
Depending on what you do, it makes sense to look at your processes and pipeline and find ways to reduce customer wait time. If you sell products, such as T-shirts, jewelry, or some electronics, you can do this by cutting out the middleman. Instead of ordering products, having them sent to you, and then, in turn, shipping them to your customers, look into dropshipping. This process, which involves your branded materials being packaged and shipped straight to your customers from the manufacturer/supplier, means you don’t have to keep inventory. It also means you are unlikely to run out of products that are in high demand. You’ll cut down customer wait times, and can offer a bigger variety of goods. There’s plenty of information online about drop shipping, and a quick Google search will tell you all you need to know.
Seek input from your employees.
Your employees are not only the backbone of your business, but they are also a voice that can tell you how you’re doing overall. Shep Hyken discusses this in the blog, “How to Avoid Roadblocks to Great Customer Service”. Don’t be afraid to ask your workers what you can do to eliminate bumps along the path from potential customers to happy, repeat clients.
Insert money where it matters the most.
When it comes to customer service, there are some areas that are going to be more impactful where your budget is concerned. Spend your funds wisely, and start investing in systems, products, and services that will ultimately lead to happier customers. This will look different for each business, and only you can make that determination. This might include things such as adding new staff members, buying new equipment, or upping your inventory levels if you are not dropshipping. You may need extra cash-in-hand, and you may need to seek small business funding to do so. Some programs, like the SBA Express Bridge Loan, a traditional SBA loan, or the Main Street Business Lending Program offer business owners the capital they need to achieve success.
Listen to your customers.
You’ve listened to your employees, and you’ve created better processes because of their feedback. But now it’s time to open your ears even further and listen to what your customers have to say. As Customer Thermometer explains, customer surveys are a great way to gain insight that you can turn into an action plan. A great customer survey will be targeted to the right people, be as distinct as possible, and be void of personal questions and biased opinions. Ask questions to your customers that revolve around product availability, shipping times, or customer service hours availability. Whatever you inquire about, listen carefully, and make changes that will benefit the majority of respondents.
At the end of the day, everything you do to improve your company will benefit your customers. But not all changes are created equally. If you want to have the biggest impact, start by listening to your customers and employees, and make sure that your investments are benefiting the people that fund your business.
Chelsea Lamb uses her tech background to provide insight and advice to those tackling the tech side of entrepreneurship. She is a co-founder and head tech writer at Business Pop.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Ten Business Predictions for 2021