When I was a kid, we played a game called“the floor is lava”. If you’re not familiar, the basics are this: The floor is lava (as the name suggests), and there are various safe areas (usually furniture) that you try to make your way across to get from one place to another to find permanent safety.
After our initial runs through the course, we’d usually take away different safe areas, making the journey a bit more treacherous each time. Earlier in the game, when options were abundant, you could meander and still eventually find your way to safety. With fewer options, each safe zone became increasingly important and your margin for error grew smaller.
A similar thing happens for businesses. When the economy is booming, it seems like you can’t make a wrong move. You’re able to experiment and try new things. Even if something doesn’t work, you’re usually able to make it out unscathed. However, when things slow down and budgets get smaller, so do your options. Making the right move becomes even more important.
Though there is no such thing as a sure bet in business, there are certain areas where you can invest that almost always bring a return. The safe zones. One of those is customer experience. In this article, we cover why investing in your customer experience is a solid strategy in slower times and offer a couple of tips you can use to improve your customer experience.
Good customer experience drives revenue
There is an outdated idea that customer support and experience are simply cost centers to a business, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, research found that 84% of companies that are actively working to improve customer service report an increase in revenue.
Better customer experiences also lead to more long-term customers. And long-term customers, on average, spend more and are more receptive to new products and services than newer customers. Continued positive experiences with you and your products and services make those long-term customers trust you more, making them more willing to continue investing in you.
Further, around 80% of customers polled said they’d actually be willing to pay more for a better customer experience, with customers in America saying they’d be willing to pay up to a 17% premium for a better experience. Add all that up and it becomes pretty clear that offering a better experience is a great way to boost your bottom line.
Multiple departments benefit from positive customer experiences
Improving your customer experience doesn’t only positively impact your customer support and experience teams. It can also have a positive impact on multiple teams across your organization. Being able to positively impact multiple areas of the business at a relatively low cost is another reason customer experience is a great investment in slower times.
For example, when you offer a great customer experience, you create fans of your brand. Those fans are usually more willing to talk extensively with your company. This can give you insights into how they use your products and services without any cost to your business.
Access to those customer insights can help your marketing team create better ad campaigns that speak more to customer wants and needs. They can also give your product team new ideas to pursue for future features and products.
Your sales team also is able to benefit greatly from better customer experiences. When people have a good experience, they’re more likely to refer others to your business. And research shows that referred customers not only convert better, but they also have a 37% higher retention rate and are 25% more profitable than customers coming from other channels.
Creating a good customer experience helps you stand out
When you think of the biggest brands in the world, what’s one thing they always seem to have in common? They offer great service. As it would turn out, that’s no coincidence. In fact, 55% of people first become customers of a brand because of its reputation for great service.
Think about Apple and Amazon, two of the biggest companies in the world. Both are well known for their exceptional service. In Amazon’s case, it’s pretty much what set the company apart in the early days and helped them become a market leader.
Really, there’s one reason a good customer experience helps your brand stand out: When someone has a good experience, they tell other people about it. In fact, on average, when someone has a good experience, they’ll tell around seven people. The more people hear positive reviews, the more your reputation grows. As a result, the likelier they are to do business with you.
Improving your customer experience
Now that you know why it’s important to invest in your customer experience, I wanted to share a few high-level tips you can use to start improving right away. Depending on your team, product, resources, and goals, some of these tactics may make more sense than others.
Listen and take action
It may seem simple, but listening is one of the most powerful ways to create a better customer experience. Take customer feedback seriously and act on it when possible. When you show you’re actively investing in your customers, they’ll be more likely to invest in you too.
These days, most customers are pretty savvy. Because of that, they don’t always want to wait around to get answers to questions or be limited in the actions they can take on their own. Because of that, it’s important you create resources that empower customers to help themselves. Consider things like knowledge bases and other self-service tools.
Review your effort
As the saying goes, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Though there isn’t one specific customer experience metric you can measure, there are a few that can clue you into how you’re doing. Things like customer satisfaction, net promoter score, and customer effort score are all good options to track to get a better idea of where you’re excelling in the customer experience and areas you can improve.
Personalize the experience
One of the best ways to make a memorable and positive customer experience is through personalization. When you’re able to tailor a message to address someone’s needs, it makes them feel seen. It also makes them more receptive to the message. In fact, 78% of consumers are more likely to make repeat purchases from companies that personalize the experience.
Investing in the future
Even if the floor isn’t currently lava, the past few years have certainly shown the possibility is always just around the corner. In those times, it’s important to be prudent and focus on areas that are most likely to have a positive return on investment. In our books, there’s no safer bet than customer experience.
Improving your customer experience positively impacts your business in growing your bottom line, reducing costs for others, and even increasing your brand awareness. And that’s all without needing large amounts of capital investment. When you consider all those factors, it becomes very clear you could hardly make a better choice.
About the author: Jesse is a content marketer at Help Scout. After years of working in customer service and writing freelance, he made the switch to writing full-time and now spends most of his days writing about customer service and daydreaming about cheeseburgers and assorted pastries.