5 ways to improve the customer experience

Published: 03/ 02/ 2020

The customer is king, that we all know, but how do you turn a first-time buyer into a repeat customer? With grade-A customer experience (CX). 

CX is so much more than just ensuring your staff are welcoming and helpful, it’s the impression you leave on a customer based on their interactions with every area of your business - from adverts to customer service, the sale itself and beyond. 

Research shows companies who focus on delivering a top class CX will be rewarded with healthier profits, so you probably want ways to improve yours, right? Well, the search is over thanks to our five surefire ways to help boost your CX. 

1. Map it out

Start off by taking a step back and looking at your business as a whole in order to create a customer journey map. It’s a bit of an industry buzz word but essentially what it means is mapping out all the areas within your business that the customer interacts with you. 

Areas that are likely to be included are:

  • Social media engagements
  • Your website
  • Instore 
  • During a sale
  • Via email marketing
  • Through customer service channels (telephone, email, webchat)
  • Post-sale support

Creating a map will make it easier for you to visualise the CX as a whole as well as identify any gaps or areas for improvement. The goal is to create a cohesive and consistent CX where the customer feels engaged and valued throughout. 

2. Break it down

Next, you can start to look at each aspect of your business individually and identify any areas for improvement. Naturally, every business is different and there’ll be variances between sectors, but to help get you started we’ve broken down four common areas to show what you need to do.

Marketing

Whether you’re a brick and mortar store or online business, your marketing efforts need to project a clear brand image. Look at your social feeds, flyers, email campaigns and so on, and aim for consistency across all marketing channels. 

The impression your marketing efforts leave on customers will affect how they view your brand, so it’s important your ads don’t feel disjointed and leave consumers confused. Areas to focus on include:

  • Tone of voice
  • Iconography
  • Brand colours
  • Font
  • Photography and graphics style

A great idea going forward is to create a guide for any future marketing efforts. Within the guide, you can include all of the above and more, clearly defining your brand image. Doing so will make your life easier while improving the CX consistency going forward. 

Ease of use

Is your website easy to navigate? The rule of thumb is users should be able to find any page within two clicks - any more and research suggests you’ll lose them. So, developing a user-friendly desktop and mobile website is key to a positive CX. 

Top tip: A great (and free) way to check your website’s user-friendly is with Google Analytics. It gives you data on which pages users typically leave your site, along with heaps of other useful titbits which you can use to improve CX. For more info head here

If you’ve got a physical store then you can adopt this methodology in much the same way. Ask yourself:

  • Is the store layout user-friendly?
  • Are my products easy to find?
  • Is the pricing clearly visible?
  • Do I have too many items packed in a small space?

Remember: Consumers don’t like to feel overwhelmed with choice, nearly 50% would abandon a purchase if they entered a store that was overcrowded, and 47% would walk away if they couldn’t find what they were looking for. 

Sales experience

Once you’ve successfully got a customer through the sales funnel and they’re ready to make a purchase, it’s key they’re happy with their purchasing experience or they might not come back.

Here’s a fun fact for you, in 2015, mobile internet usage overtook desktop for the first time, so mobile optimisation is absolutely key to offering a seamless and simple sales experience to potential buyers. Make online purchases quick and easy with a payment gateway and you’ll effectively boost the CX as well as your revenue.  

Instore sales experiences are just as important as customers demand convenience - if they can’t pay for their goods the way they want to there’s a good chance they’ll go somewhere they can. 

Cash is on the way out, with payments on plastic galloping ahead of the competition in recent years. The latest options, contactless and mobile payments, are quickly gaining momentum too with 27% of UK consumers citing ApplePay as their preferred method. 

Customer service

To provide a top-notch CX you need to put the customer at the heart of every aspect of your business. Doing so will boost their engagement  and loyalty, both of which will ultimately improve your bottom line. 

So, here are a few areas to consider:

  • Be responsive - if you’ve got an online presence that allows for consumer interaction, make sure you’re replying to both positive and negative comments. It’ll demonstrate to them and anyone else who’s looking that you really care about your customers. 
  • Be helpful - If you interact with customers on a day to day basis (i.e. in a shop, cafe, etc.) offer support and guidance with product navigation, selection and purchasing.
  • Be flexible - Go above and beyond to give the consumer what they want and their experience will be second to none. For example, if a diner wants to swap their salad for some fries, or a customer wants to pay over the phone rather than online, if you can say yes you’ll exponentially increase the chances they’ll be back for more.  

3. Seek feedback

All of the above is important, but the best way to understand what customers want is from the horse’s mouth, and that’s why companies are constantly asking us for feedback. 

Wherever possible you need to be asking customers how their experience went, what areas they think can be improved and whether they’re satisfied. 

Here are a handful of ideas on how to get started:

  • With online sales send a follow-up email asking for feedback on the usability of your website. Were there any glitches? Any pain points? Or anything they think could be changed to make the experience better? 
  • In a shop, at the point of sale, ask your customer “Did you find everything you were looking for today?” Or if you want a more in-depth review pop a link to a feedback questionnaire on the bottom of your receipts (and don’t forget to tell them it’s there!).

Top tip: To increase the chance customers will agree to give feedback offer an incentive such as 10% off their next purchase or a voucher for future use. 

Once you’ve collated feedback you can use it to improve your offerings and enhance the CX.

4. Train

Once you’ve been through the areas of your business with a fine toothcomb and worked out a plan to improve the CX, the next step is to train everyone within the business on how to implement your strategies. 

Remember: Keep all your employees in the loop and you’ll increase buy-in and optimise the outcome.

As part of the training, fill everyone in on the feedback you’ve received so you’re all on the same page and can use the information to refine your customer service - and don’t forget to train all members of staff to be regularly asking customers for more. 

Part and parcel of the CX is the point of sale, so it’s critical everyone in a customer-facing role is well versed in using your payment systems. After all, a fumbling store assistant struggling to accept a payment won’t leave a great taste in customers’ mouths. 

5. Analyse & improve

Developing a strategy to improve CX isn’t a one-off task, but a long-term and ongoing job. All of this might sound a lot, but once you’ve been through the steps initially, going forward the workload will be reduced. 

Going back to Google Analytics, you can continually monitor your exit pages and sales conversions to check the improvements you’ve made are doing their job and identify any new areas that need work.

Google Analytics also gives you data on where your website leads are coming from - whether it’s social media or otherwise, so you’ll be able to see whether your new streamlined brand image is boosting your sales. 

If you opt for a feedback questionnaire, continue to ask customers to fill it out and compare the results month-on-month to ensure your efforts are making a difference. 

Worried your payment systems are hindering your customers’ experience? Then make sure you’re accepting all the latest methods including contactless, mobile, phone and online payments. 

Here at takepayments, our systems are second-to-none and our local consultants are on hand to help you every step of the way. Chat to a friendly expert today on 08082 393254 to get the ball rolling. 

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