Three ways to deliver an exceptional customer experience

Customer focus as directon on a compass for a satisfaction concept (3D Rendering)

According to the latest CommBank Retail Insights report, 83 per cent believe customer experience is very important to their business, strategy, yet only 30 per cent rate their customer service as being greater than 9/10.

A great customer experience can turn a client into a raving fan who actively advocates for your business.

Here are three ways you can deliver an exceptional customer experience which won’t cost you a cent:

1. Engagement matters

Your customers want to interact with you. Some more than others. Provide opportunities for this to happen through social media channels, a chat line on your website and blog comments.

I believe that all small-business owners should be investing regular time every week, if not daily, interacting with their customers or clients on social media and other channels. It not only drives engagement but it allows you to develop a relationship and gather great insights into your target market.

Engagement is critically important for businesses who target women as their decision making process differs from men. They take more time to make a decision, they want to understand you and your business, and what it values, before transacting with you.

By being engaged, you can assist your prospective client on the path to purchase. This is also of importance post purchase as you want to keep them engaged so they can either recommend your business to someone else and come back and purchase from you again.

2. Be responsive

We all know that problems can crop up within a business. Mistakes happen. It makes us real. It is how we deal with these business mistakes that can differentiate us from competitors. Customers want to see you take the lead and proactively manage issues which arise. They want to be kept informed and updated on a regular basis.

Most problems can be solved easily and without damage to a relationship by admitting the error and taking immediate steps to resolve it. Your job is to ensure you have a process to support this.

I always recommend leaving a negative comment on a Facebook page rather than deleting it. This provides an excellent opportunity for your prospective clients to see how you handle issues. It gives a more balanced assessment of your business and, arguably, makes your positive reviews and feedback stand out even more.

3. Exceed expectations

The fastest way to build your army of raving fans is to be extraordinary and exceed your customer’s expectations. Go the extra mile and it will pay back in droves. Mums in particular demand a high level of customer service as they are time poor, juggling multiple commitments and well researched. They understand what’s available in the market and at what price.

Delight mum by exceeding her expectations and you have a powerful competitive advantage. Early on in my entrepreneurial journey, I made an awful decision and represented a client who didn’t share my business ethics. My customers started complaining immediately. I immediately took the extraordinary action of admitting my error of judgement, apologising to my customers and issuing a refund to all 120 customers within 48 hours.

My proactive approach was rewarded. My customers understood that mistakes can happen but immediately owning it and refunding their transactions was unexpected, particularly for those who had not complained.

It told them that I understood and heard their concerns and they knew that I had their best interests at heart. It actually turned a disaster into a PR success story simply by doing the unexpected.

Sometimes the unexpected is simply a handwritten note inside each of your orders, a card sent out to your top clients letting them know how much you enjoy working with them or a bonus service offering. What extraordinary measure can you take in your business to delight your customers?

Support the above three tips with processes to deliver a consistent, exceptional customer experience and you are likely to create an army of fans who will act as your most cost-effective marketing tool.