Why Customer Experience Matters, No Matter What

Why Customer Experience Matters, No Matter What

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I spoke to Deirdre Martin on episode 2 of the Master Your Business Podcast. It is packed with practical suggestions and helpful advice for you to bring to your own business or brand, covering everything from human connections to sales and the importance of customer experience and the customer journey. The following shownotes are taken from her brilliant website and blog: https://www.deirdremartin.ie/blog/customer-experience-matters

How to Create A Sense of Community Around Your Business

[2:20] Before technology became popularised and many people were forced to purchase online due to the pandemic, brick-and-mortar stores were king. The local newsagents, the bank, the church, the bakery, the butchers – these establishments all allow you to physically be in the moment, be present, have a chat, and see people you often wouldn’t notice. There is a major sense of community that comes with that.

To Melissa, The Retail Advisor, that is what the heart of retail truly is: community spirit. In-person, employees spend their time chatting with customers, supporting and helping them, which enables them to grow their businesses and upsell. Retailing is about camaraderie and the customer’s experience while buying and selling goods and services. This camaraderie can also translate to online stores.

As a brand or business, we’re all selling something regardless of whether you’re a dentist, a solicitor or an online boutique. You still have to meet the customer and understand their problems. 

If you walk into a store or search on Google with a need in mind, it’s up to the retailer or the service provider to provide the solution. If they can marry the problem and the solution, then the customer will hand over their money. And isn’t that what every business owner wants at the end of the day?

But – when you do it with an emotional connection, then more than likely, the customer will be a returning customer because you did such a good job. They may even tell their friends and family about your business, and hey, presto, that is free marketing leading to more sales – your business has long-lasting repeat customer relationships. It’s all thanks to the emotion that comes from people engaging with people.

How to Build On The Human Connection 

[06:00] Communication is the key. The last few years have been truly testing. But what Melissa is finding now is that there is a lack of connection in retail. Retailing thrives off traditional human skills, and now, more than ever after the last few years, these skills are vital, whether you’re a retailer or a service provider, in person or digitally. You and your employees need to build on that human connection with potential and current customers. 

Listen effectively, ask questions that you’re genuinely interested in, and make eye contact if you’re face to face instead of tapping away on a computer screen. When you’re on the phone with a client, ensure you’re focused on them and that they hear and feel that. It’s simple and obvious things like this that give you business longevity and entice the customer to come back. 

We’ve all got KPIs. How many sales in a month did we make, or how many customers or prospects have we spoken with? What we don’t measure are vital aspects such as effective communication, leadership or empathy. Unless you can communicate properly and have empathy, whether in an email or face to face and can explain, you have the solution to the customer’s problem. You’re never going to get the sale.

54% of communication is everything you see.

Somebody could be saying something nonsensical, but if they’re engaged with you by facing you with their shoulders and feet, and they’re looking at you, they have got your attention, and that’s when you’re halfway there to either winning over a customer or getting the sale. Communication is vital, not only with customer experience but also with sales. 

What To Get Right To Win At Retail

[10:39] Keeping it basic. It is usually the things you may overlook or deem unimportant that can get you sales and customers.

1) If you have a physical store or premises: 

  • Is it clean?
  • If you stand outside your shop, are the windows grubby?
  • Are there rubbish or cigarette butts outside your door?
  • Is inside the store clean?
  • Does it look enticing?
  • Ensure the store looks full
  • Is everything priced?

Always look at these things from a customer’s perspective. For example, How frustrating is it when you pick something up, and there’s no price? It’s a massive barrier to people buying. Or, when you go into a shop, the first things you see are empty shelves or hanging space – it’s not enticing. You don’t want to look like you’re closing down. 

If there are pallets of stock in the back of the shop or boxes behind the front desk, and your doors are open, you’re trading. When customers walk in, they want to see enticing displays because humans shop with their eyes. Don’t use shopping space as warehouse space. You want to wow and surprise the customer to entice them to buy things they didn’t even know they wanted in the first place. Keep it simple. 

“The final and most important aspect of retailing is ensuring the core customer experience is a positive one. Ensure employees smile at the customers and say hello. Let them know they’re there to help if and when needed.”

2) If you have an online product or service: 

All of the above can be translated to your website or e-commerce shop. People don’t want to land on the landing page and see sold-out buttons everywhere. The attention span of shoppers and online users has decreased significantly over the years.

If a customer comes onto your landing page today and they have to scroll down for more than a few seconds – they will leave and go somewhere else with a quicker and better experience. We need to be mindful of what our customers are seeing. 

As a business, you need to do everything with the customer in mind. It’s not what we want to do or what’s easy for us; think of the customer. If you are results driven when doing so, that is what will sell your brand and create fans, and this is all done without feeling like you’re pushing sales down their throat.

Want to Increase Customer Satisfaction?

[24:16] Doing an exercise like this will point out small issues you may have overlooked since you are so involved in the business every day. 

  • Go to a specific section of your shop, online storefront, or website and turn the tables.
  • Look at it as if you were the customer – what do you see?
  • Are there items missing?
  • Could the area be cleaner?
  • Are the descriptions correct?
  • Is there any way to make the section more visually appealing or easily accessible? 

You are capturing a moment in time. You can gather a picture of that first moment, and then in three or six months, do it again. And when everyone else is on board with the standards you want to keep, and the culture is strong, you will always have a better result the second time around because everyone understands that you’re driving towards that same destination.

If the standards are raised, and employees are happy, your customers are happy. Any improvements made, your customer will see this, and sales will go up.

The Importance of a Seamless Customer Experience

[24:58] Imagine this: You want to buy a new pair of jeans, and you travel one hour to the local shopping centre to get them instead of going to the local boutique up the road. Why have you chosen to go to this destination? What is it that they’ve got that the local boutique doesn’t? What else can they give you? How have you found this information? 

When you begin to ask yourself these questions, you will begin to understand the tiny incidences and touchpoints that go together that make up your customer’s journey. Turn these questions back to your own business.

  • How are people finding you?
  • How do you look to them on your socials or on our website?
  • Is it enticing?
  • Are your online and offline presence married when they come into the store?
  • How difficult are you making their customer journey either in-store or online and what are you doing for them afterwards? 
  • Maybe you are confusing the customer by not explaining the delivery process or the returns process.
  • Are you proving that you have exceptional customer service by having employees chat with customers online or on the phone when there is an issue?

Start making these small changes now to really understand your customer’s experience, and it will become second nature to you and your employees down the line.

In A Nutshell!

Customer experience is not just customer service. Customer experience embodies absolutely every touchpoint that the customer has with your brand or business, and this podcast covers in detail what you should do in order to put the customer first, both in-store and online, for all products, services and experiences. Understanding this is the gateway to change, and you will begin to win over more and more customers when you show mutual understanding.

Listen on Spotify  Listen on Apple Podcasts

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