5 customer experience fails and how to avoid them

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5 customer experience fails and how to avoid them
Across industries, buyers’ expectations for service and experience are changing.
Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

Sidestepping these common pitfalls will help you ensure your company’s customer experience is memorable, for all the right reasons.

Conscious that your small business needs to lift its game when it comes to delivering consistent, wow 1-on-1 experiences?

You’re far from alone. Around Australia, scores of SMEs are becoming alert to the fact that impersonal, inconsistent service is no longer tolerated. The pandemic has driven millions more customers into the digital realm, to shop, transact and interact, and delivering a smooth, seamless experience, regardless of how or when they make contact is vital.

Indeed, widespread, instant access to information from mobile and social channels has transformed the consumer/business relationship in the past decade. Consumers have now been conditioned to expect proactive, personalised offers based on their likes and dislikes. In addition, the ability to compare prices, research quality of service and seek opinions from other users at any time of day or night has put power in the hands of the buyer.

Given the effort that now goes into attracting customers, companies are finding they must ensure they make the most of every engagement. Yet some companies, in particular, frequently mishandle the customer opportunity because they fail to recognise that customer engagement is a responsibility that should be shared across the business.

At the same time, creating 1-on-1 experiences is not too difficult when you have a few customers, but it's impossible to scale. Getting it right isn’t easy and it’s unlikely to happen by accident. To remain relevant, companies will need to continuously evolve and automate their business processes and technologies to keep customers  engaged. 

Here are five common customer experience mistakes and our tips for avoiding them. 

1. Overlooking qualitative feedback

Getting customers to rate your company’s performance has never been easier than it is in the digital era. Metrics like Net Promoter Scores, Customer Satisfaction Ratings and Customer Effect Scores do a fine job of condensing customer sentiment into a number. But using those numbers alone to gauge the success of your efforts (as so many businesses do) is unwise because there’s an awful lot that mere metrics miss. That’s why it’s important to use qualitative as well as quantitative research to create your own ‘report card.’ Reading comments and reviews will help round out the picture and provide detailed feedback on what you’re doing well – and areas for improvement.

2. Focusing on the flattering

If you’re a small business owner,– it can be tempting to tune out the haters and hone in on the love you’re receiving from your fans. But doing so can cost you dear because the former group has something valuable to tell you, provided you’re humble enough to listen. Pay extra careful attention to the complainers and you’ll have plenty of options for how you can improve your customer experience and competitiveness. Indeed, those customers providing three out of five star reviews often provide the most constructive feedback on how to improve the product or service.

3. Not sharing customer information between teams

Superlative customer experience is about presenting a professional, consistent front to customers, regardless of which channel they use to get in touch. That’s tricky if your organisation is split into siloed teams that don’t have access to the same set of customer data. Utilising a platform that allows all employees to tap into a single source of truth means those employees will be able to answer enquiries, fulfil orders and respond to complaints smarter, faster and better.

4. Failing to get up close and personal

Today’s consumers love the idea of dealing with businesses that are small enough to offer authentic, personalised service. That can become impossible, if your business builds a sizeable customer base, but using automation intelligently can help you provide the semblance of it, in many instances. But not all of them. Applying a genuine human touch at key moments – when queries or complaints are escalated or a valuable client needs to be thanked for their business – can reinforce customers’ impression that yours is a business that treats them as individuals, rather than numbers.

5. Using generic messaging

‘Dear Sir’, ‘Madam’ and ‘Householder’ have fallen out of use, with most businesses now able to figure out how to personalise their direct mailshots by addressing customers by name. For many businesses, that’s where it ends but it shouldn’t be. Today’s martech platforms make much more sophisticated tailoring possible. Using yours to segment your database and create highly specific campaigns will enhance your customer journeys and help you to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with the individuals and businesses who buy your goods and services.

Across industries, buyers’ expectations for service and experience are changing and customer engagement is evolving. Those companies that automate their processes as they scale will have the competitive advantage of knowing what their customers want, and innovating to deliver it, even before the customers are aware of the need.  Indeed, every organisation has the potential to develop closer customer relationships and drive more business through new customer experience automation platforms. At a time when so much focus goes into competitive advantage and profitability, it would be a shame not to capitalise on that potential. 

Jason VandeBoom is CEO of ActiveCampaign.

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