Retail and Customer Experience : News & Best Practices

Is your company really customer-centric?

Despite the expected increase in customer experience budgets for 2016, a gap remains over the way companies perceive the experience they offer, and the way customers themselves view it. In fact, over 80% of brands now believe they offer an “above-average” experience to their customers. Only 8% of their customers agree.

Yet, according to a study by Forrester, customer experience leaders saw their performance improve by an average 43% whereas less experience-oriented businesses saw their’s drop by 33.9%.

Is your company overestimating its efforts? To find out, here are 5 fundamental practices in terms of customer experience which are systematically implemented by the best-performing companies. 

1. Appoint a customer experience manager

More and more Customer Success Managers, Customer Experience Officer and Customer Happiness Managers are emerging in customer-centric companies. Their mission: to develop the company’s relationship with customers and increase customer loyalty by ensuring they are satisfied at all times. In practical terms, this means recruiting a person in charge of assessing current practices, identifying gaps and customer needs, choosing and setting up specific KPIs and monitoring them on a daily basis.

2. Facilitate contact and answer swiftly

Its no longer enough to grant easy access to contact information (email, phone number, chat, social media) on your website. You must also guarantee a quick answer – if possible immediately – but in any case without exceeding one business day for the most urgent matters. It should be pointed out that 33% of customers would recommend a company which offers quick but unhelpful replies, when only 17% would recommend a company which offers slow but effective answers.

The most innovative companies systematically invite customers to contact them after purchase to share their comments via customer satisfaction surveys. Real-time alerts inform them of negative reviews and complaints and give them the opportunity to get in touch with unhappy customers immediately : a great way of retaining customers but also avoiding bad online reviews!

3. Know and segment your customers

Even for a “customer-centric” company, all customers do not have the same value. Getting to know them better helps you deploy resources there where they will have the biggest impact by focusing efforts on high-value customers. And in a world where 73% of e-commerce managers have not yet set up any type of segmentation, this is the perfect opportunity to positively stand out and truly make your most loyal customers feel valued.

4. Communicate on your “customer-centricity”

Its not just about telling the world your customers are your top priority, you also need to communicate on this new policy internally. With a clear, written and largely distributed customer satisfaction policy, your employees will be more inclined to go one step further to make your customers happy.

Business leaders are increasingly willing to take charge of customer service from time to time, even if only a few hours each week. Not only does this helps them better understand their customers’ perspective, but it also helps build confidence within the customer service team in taking initiatives when dealing with customers.

5. Setting up customer satisfaction based bonuses

Each and every employee who joins a customer-centric company must accept the importance  placed on customer satisfaction and understand that everyone has a role to play. To achieve this, what better way than to set up customer satisfaction bonuses? Customer satisfaction surveys sent out after each purchase make it easy to assess customer satisfaction over time.