Surely at least once in your life you've heard of "customer experience"This expression indicates everything that concerns the customer experience, which is becoming an increasingly important topic not only for multinationals, but also for small and medium-sized companies and freelancers.
Today, in fact, the customer is not simply interested in the product or the service itself, but it gives a lot importance to the total experience he has with the company or the freelancer, from the first contact to the sale.
But why is it important the customer experience? Simple, a customer who is happy with the service or product he has received and encouraged to speak well of this with colleagues and friends, also returns to make purchases or otherwise cooperate with or request the services of the professional because they have experienced a good experience from his first contacts with companies and businesses to the use of the product or service. In addition, a customer "happy" is also willing to pay more, especially if you don't complicate his life.
Working to get customers to like you allows you to get better results while giving you the ability to not struggle with competitors, but simply build great relationships with customers and new potential leads.
Let's see some tips from the book The customer experience: Handbook to improve the life of your customer and yourself of Francesca Taddei.
The importance of the beginning of the customer relationship
Today customers are increasingly well informed and for this reason they are able to perceive much better the differences between your company, business or professional practice and that of your competitors.
The difference, however, is no longer perceived based on what you offer or even on price (in fact, there is always someone offering a lower price).
The difference is in the "how" or how the relationship between the company and the customer is set up.
Many people think Costumer Experience change between B2C (i.e. business to consumer) or B2B (i.e. business to business) companies. Actually, in this field it doesn't make sense to make these differences, because companies are made up of people who sell, and customers are made up of people who buy. In any sector the customer experience therefore depends on the interaction the customer has with the company, whatever that is.
What customers feel or think when they try to purchase a product or service when they interact with your facility or personally with you through the various contact addressesleads them to Develop from the outset their first impressions of you, which will consequently also determine their subsequent actions.
For example, the contacts for: the website, email, phone, social network, sending the quote, product presentation, all together constitute the first experience that leads customers to work with you (if you are a freelancer) or to buy your products.
The journey, or rather the customer journey, starts with the details and the first interactions he has with you and your company. In fact, from these initial tools, such as the email contact, the customer starts to evaluate the service and the product, chooses whether to buy it and eventually how to use it, and if he needs it he could request assistance. Depending on how you manage this path the customer then can buy, come back to you for a second purchase or leave your competition.
Making the customer happy as a goal of the Custumer Experience
This may sound strange, but the main objective of the customer experience is to make your customers happy. There is a strong correlation between increased profits and the happiness of your customer base.
By making a customer happy with the shopping experience in fact you can get several benefits such as:
- the possibility that the customer speak well of your product or service to friends and colleagues, thus encouraging word of mouth, which is often the basis of the buying process for many products or services;
- the customer is more likely to make new purchases or request your services again, thus increasing their LTV (lifetime value);
- you can charge a higher price than the competition;
- will easily forgive you if, during the various collaborations or in the case of purchasing multiple products, misadventures occur;
- he senses your professionalism and therefore tends to trust you and your services and products more.
In addition to these obvious advantages, scholars of the Forrester Research they found out that people usually judge their customer experience on the basis of 3 different aspects:
- response to needs;
- ease in sustaining the business relationship or completing the purchase;
So you can Think of the user experience as a pyramid with three different levels:
- At the base is the satisfaction of customer needsso when he finds what he's looking for;
- On the second level we find the facility with where the customer finds what he wants;
- At the highest level of the pyramid we find the pleasantness instead. That is, during her relationship with the company she found this experience very reassuring and enjoyable.
The moment it reaches the highest level, this will most likely come back to shop while also sending you colleagues and friends, increasing your customer base and profits.
In fact, when the customer thinks that your product or service is really improving life effectively, for example by making the customer journey easy, quick and proactive, or by offering a very usable product and service, feels a sense of happiness and well-being that makes his experience with your company enjoyable inside his mind.
Customer Experience: a good start is half the battle
The costumer experience journey is very important in order to be able to map the customer's needs from the very first contacts. In addition, you need to avoid some specific behaviors that could drive the customer away from the beginning.
For example, when a person who contacts you is not in your professional field, they may feel stupid and uninformed if they do not understand what you're talking to him on the phone or when you send them a email during the first contact.
These difficulties may annoy him and therefore the customer will feel unreassured and also confused and angry. In this case, you will have failed from the first contact and will most likely not bring the job home.
Another behavior that could make the customer's experience unpleasant is, for example, a failure to respond to their emails or questions.
If the customer sends you an email and you respond after so many days, or they write to you on a social channel and you don't respond to their request, then you will most likely not complete your relationship with the customer.
The customer experience starts from the very first contact, in fact for a good path you have to start with emails. It doesn't matter how many emails you get, you still need to be able to respond all the time. Education and respect for the customer are in the first place to be able to make him happy with the choice he has made.
Learn about customer expectations
A fundamental aspect for a job well done and for the establishment of an optimal relationship with customers is the knowledge of their expectations. Therefore, knowing what a person expects is very important to be able to work so calmly with your customers.
Customer expectations are usually based on out of three different macro-areas these are:
- implicit needs: are those that the customer knows he has and for which he wishes to obtain satisfaction in a simple and obvious way;
- the needs expressed: represent those that the customer is aware of having but for which he does not take satisfaction for granted;
- latent needs: are the ones he doesn't know will give him satisfaction. In this case when they are satisfied the customer will get a surprise.
To be able to surprise customers and also reach his latent needs it is necessary to overcome his expectations, with something that is tangible and that can show him that do you really care about the experience who's living with you or your company.
How to best manage quotes and make the customer happy
The quote is a very important opportunity for the customer experience. But how not to go wrong in the creation of this document that establishes the economic conditions at which you will be willing to offer the service?
To create a good quote you need to:
- write it in such a way that the customer can easily understand all the directions, especially if he doesn't work in your industry;
- insert within your quote the reasons why he should choose you as a professional;
- explain the benefits and products you're selling and the specific benefits to the customer you're sending it to;
- never send it without agreeing on a telephone contact to explain the items in the quote;
- be honest with your client.
Writing an optimal Quote is the first step to improve customer acquisition. The activity is often underestimated, but this is actually quite important because this document:
- gives you feedback on your sales actions that gives you a chance to improve your offer;
- helps you to optimally plan your work in the future;
- gives you a revenue forecast for the next few months;
- monitor your estimate work;
- lets you know when and which customers to contact at all times.
After you have sent the quote and the client will have paid you the expected down paymentthere comes a time to close this business contact in an optimal way.
Indeed, there are many customers who wonder what happens after the quote, so they don't get lost, you're gonna have to fix a meeting via Skype to clarify the details for him.
Then you can:
- explain to him how to work together;
- what tools you will use during the collaboration;
- what will be the phases in which your work will be divided;
- what, if any, contribution you need from the client;
- how you will communicate whether by Skype, email, phone or Whatsapp.
Create a Welcome Packet
Have you ever heard of Welcome Packet?
It's some kind of rwelcome gift that is usually given to your clients to give them the right welcome. To welcome your customer in the best way you can choose to send a pdf or a personalized email.
Within the email you must first include a thank you message after which you can proceed to send the welcome object.
But what to send? Naturally, the advice is to send a customizable object that matches your business or the service or product that the customer has requested.
Segment your customers by the service you offer them
In order to improve your customer's experience you must have a tool that allows you to optimally monitor your customers' needs and any needs and changes in progress.
I'll give you an example, if work as a copywriter for Davide, and you know that this is a very demanding person and that he trusts you, so he will let you work quietly, but you know that sometimes something may not be right, so you have to protect the customer.
Aware of this, within the quote and your monitoring document you should insert the possibility to make changes to your work, even after the draft is approved.
If you have a new client, but this meanwhile always asks you for new additions and new actions, you have to try to convert these requests into a paid service.
The changes in this case can be firstly an element that differentiates you from others and at the same time offers the opportunity to earn more money.
For these reasons, it is important to build a complete database with your customers' data and you can segment them based on the type of service they requested and the behavior they had during your working relationship. Finally, you can also define the services they may be interested in.
The importance of a good end to the relationship
The experience the customer has is very important, but it's more about the memory you leave behind. Indeed, people tend to evaluate the entire relationship with the seller not by each individual stage of the relationship, but by what happened at the moment of greatest intensity, i.e. at the end of the relationship.
In fact, the customer certainly cares about the experience they have when they establish a professional or purchasing relationship with the company, but it's really the final report what sticks out most in his memory.
Now think about how much effort you put in trying to attract new clients, isn't it a shame to let them leave with a "bitter pill"? The last phase is therefore very important, the closing of the relationship must be the most pleasant moment of the entire experience to be able to convince the customer of your true value. interest in him.
The final moment, i.e. when the invoice is sentis usually the most neglected. In fact, many do nothing more than send a dry email with invoice or payment details.
Leaving a cold invoice as a last memory is definitely not the best way to end a costumer experience path.. To close it properly you need to create a polite email, in which you thank him for having relied on you or your company, and finally you can invite him to tell you about his experience and to contact you in case of possible future problems.
Then at the end of the email remember to include your phone number, email address and any requests for information.
Costumer Experience: the sale never ends
The Costumer Experience is important because the sale never closes. In fact, the best customers are the ones you already have. We often spend a lot of energy trying to attract new ones, according to a lot of research... In fact, current customers are up to 9 times more likely to purchase from those I already know versus those who are unknown, all the more reason to devote yourself to the Retention.
The subsequent services you can offer to your customers can be your own self-sustaining revenue base that you can ensure good economic security. To achieve this you have to think the sale never ends, because what matters is that a customer is forever or at least for as long as possible.
If you want to have a client that lasts "forever", remember to make the most of all the customer experience steps and objectives, Never shy away from explanations of any kind, always try to respond with helpfulness and kindness. If something didn't go well before, remember to be even more helpful and kind and use this opportunity to achieve a pleasant relationship with him.
Clarity, kindness and firmness
There are three determinants that really affect the customer experience: clarity, firmness and kindness.
- la clarity allows you to gain a specific advantage i.e.: Set up payments, such as down payment, interim correspondences and balance. I mean, as they often say: clear terms, long friendship.
- la firmness and kindness are two other very important factors, in fact you must remember that you can listen to any reasons or excuses in justifying the non-payment of the invoice. Remember that you are not a bank, so try to demand payment of invoices but without getting angry. By getting angry you won't get anything done and consequently you will lose the customer. So try to deal with them with absolute politeness, reminding them of the need to proceed to the balance of the invoice;
- Finally, you must be determined, in the unfortunate event that the customer does not pay the invoice, try to understand who is really in charge of payments. Once you figure out if it's the client or if the administration takes care of it, explain to the person in charge that you have not been paid your invoice. Often, in fact, those who have the habit of paying when they want, pay first those who heel him closely, so try to be among those who insist politely, for a good regularity and frequency of payments.
Handle complaints well
Finally, for a complete customer experience and optimal to your customer you must also be able to properly handle any complaints you receive.
You need to know that having complaints is really a "boon" because usually only 4% of customers complain, while 96% just switch.
So try to see these complaints as positive data, in fact offer you feedback and allow you to modify what you're doing. You may have a good opportunity to succeed in increasing the value of your business, you can save money on market research, you can improve for your customers. Thanks also to the negative feedback you will be able to stay with your customers and keep them that way.