A happy customer is more likely to become a loyal customer - and loyal customers help boost your bottom line. But what’s the secret to making your customers happy? A clue - a great product or service isn't enough to cut it in today's competitive marketplace.
A great product or price is no longer enough to win you loyal customers. Today, customers will stay loyal to the companies that provide a great experience.
According to HubSpot, "A remarkable customer experience is critical to the sustained growth of any business. A positive customer experience promotes loyalty, helps you retain customers, and encourages brand advocacy.”
The stakes have never been higher
The customer experience stakes have never been higher, as new research from Salesforce demonstrates. Of over 8,000 B2C and B2B customers surveyed in 2019:
- 84% say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services
- 73% say one extraordinary experience raises their expectations of companies
- 66% are willing to pay more for a great experience
These stats are even higher when you look at B2B buyers alone. 89% of B2B buyers say the experience a company provides is as important as products and services. And a whopping 82% of B2B buyers are willing to pay more for a great experience.
Customers today are a pretty unforgiving bunch too. A third of people say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. And even if they do stick around, it can take up to 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative experience.
We can thank brands like Amazon for raising the bar for customer service. People now expect the same level of convenience, personal attention and multi-channel engagement from every company. That’s easy if you’re as big as Amazon. But it’s not always so easy for small businesses.
What really matters to customers?
So, give people a great experience and they’ll buy more, stay loyal to your brand and sing your praises to others. Sounds simple, right?
But what are customers today actually looking for?
In an always-on world, waiting isn’t something today’s customers are used to. Instant service and fast delivery are things we’ve come to expect from brands. And when it comes to your website, 56% of people expect to find whatever they need in just three clicks or less.
Multichannel behaviour is a fact of life. It’s not uncommon to start an enquiry or transaction on one device and finish it on another. Customers expect to be able to jump seamlessly from tablet to smartphone to human at their convenience.
It’s important for customers that brands really know their stuff. Do they know what their products are made of? Can they offer advice on the best solutions? Can they help me with my specific problem? The brands that excel in customers’ eyes are the ones who make themselves indispensable through the knowledge they impart.
It’s become increasingly vital for businesses to build relationships through digital channels. But every interaction still needs to feel human. People are more likely to be loyal to brands who are personable, friendly and welcoming.
Customers today are uber savvy. They’ve been around the block a few times and know when brands are being genuine and authentic. Showing authenticity is a key driver for building trust. Communicating honestly with customers helps them understand you, which leads to belief in your value and ultimately, leads them to take action.
How to create positive customer experiences
Get to grips with the customer journey
At each stage of the buyer’s journey, consider:
- What are your buyers’ thinking or feeling?
- What actions do they need to take?
- What information do they need from your company?
Brands who take the time to get to grips with what’s happening in the world of their customers as they move through the buying journey are far more likely to succeed in delivering a positive customer experience.
Leverage buyer personas
Developing comprehensive buyer personas will provide you with clear insights on the needs, wants, fears and aspirations of your customers. You can use these to understand the problems your buyers are looking to solve and the questions they need answering. These insights can help steer how you organise your website, the messages you deliver and the content you create so that you can deliver positive experiences at every touchpoint.
Establish a positive connection across touchpoints
Customers interact with brands through a variety of touchpoints, from desktop to smartphone to tablet. The experience they have should be seamless, with people able to accomplish the tasks they want, whatever device they are using. If your website is clunky or unresponsive when viewing on mobile, you’ll turn people away fast.
Create helpful content
Share your knowledge and build your position as a thought leader with helpful, informative and engaging content. Buyers don’t want to speak to a person until they’re at the very final stages of the buying journey. So make sure you’ve addressed the answers to their questions with your content, whether in the form of blog posts, eBooks, infographics or videos.
How to make happy customers even happier
The role of marketing isn’t just to attract new customers. Delighting your existing customers is just as important. You should be aiming to ensure your customers continue to have a great experience with your brand after they’ve signed on the dotted line.
So, how can you continue to make your customers happy?
- Create customer-focused content - create content content around industry news and trends, content that helps them get more out of your product or service, and exclusive customer-only content
- Leverage social media - engage with your customers by regularly sharing valuable content on your social media channels, responding to posts your brand is mentioned in, and sharing or reposting customer posts
- Ask for feedback - asking your customers for feedback on your product or service will show them you care about them and prove that your helpful, authentic manner wasn't just a sales tactic
A happy customer is someone who values your brand beyond your products or services. They trust that your company is aligned with their needs and is committed to helping them achieve their goals.
Tactics like offering a discount can be great for making customers happy in the short-term, but they won't help you develop a lasting relationship with them. Building lasting relationships with your customers relies on delivering a positive experience at every touch point in the journey - from when they first become aware of your brand until long after they've bought from you.