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6 Tips to Help Master the End-to-End Customer Experience

6 Tips to Help Master the End-to-End Customer Experience

When it comes to buying products and services, consumers have more choices today than ever before. But don’t let that worry you. Even if you are selling the exact same things as your closest rival, you can set your business apart with an incredible end-to-end service experience.

Following these six tips curated from experts and the Dream community will help you crush the competition, keep your customers smiling and create a fabulously loyal clientele.

  1. Understand where your customer experience starts and stops.

    This is key to the success of your business. The reality is that it begins the moment someone thinks about making a purchase and ends long after they’ve left your place of business.

    For example, if you are operating a high-end spa, potential customers will likely go online to read reviews, see what types of services you offer and check out your prices. What others are saying could sway their opinion, so do everything you can to earn positive reviews. Encouraging happy customers to share their experiences and offering an incentive to do so will help build your online reputation. The quality and functionality of your website can also subconsciously contribute to a customer’s perception of your business – well before you have a chance to serve them.

  2. Be aware of all potential touchpoints.

    From the time that someone decides to book an appointment or make a purchase, every interaction or touchpoint with your business forms part of a seamless customer experience. Regardless of the way you interact with a customer, when or how you do it, make sure you are genuine, caring and interested in helping. Smiling is important too! It looks great in person and makes you sound friendly and warm on the phone.

    Your online presence is a touchpoint too. When you are writing web copy, social media posts and thank you emails, let this heartfelt tone flow as you type. You never know what people will read or share online.

  3. Help customers transition from thinking to buying.

    According to Google “today 77% of in-store purchases in Canada are influenced by digital”. Your website will often be the first touchpoint that people have with your business. Create a great website that is welcoming, makes it easy to book an appointment, order a product or sign up for a service. Customers want what you are selling or they wouldn’t be seeking you out! Make sure your website is mobile friendly or you could lose a sale or a loyal supporter who becomes frustrated trying to place an order.

    Frontline staff should always be well trained so they can answer questions and offer helpful advice on the phone and in person.

    Social media also plays an important role in your digital footprint and the overall customer experience. Remember to create conversations when you are using social channels to link customers to your products and services.

    “There will be further integration of our digital and physical worlds, especially as users expect brands to engage with them through the digital channel of their choice, not the other way around,” explains Peter Blair, VP of Marketing with digital experience testing company Applause. “This will put an increased demand on retailers in 2017 to provide customers with the best digital experiences possible that blend the benefits of online, in-store and mobile into a single frictionless customer experience. The stakes are high as people who have bad digital experiences will immediately go to a competitor — often with no switching cost at all.”

  4. Offer an omni-channel experience.

    When you integrate different methods of shopping – such as allowing a customer to make a purchase in store and have it delivered, or place an order online and go pick it up in person – make sure that the level of service is the same across all touchpoints and sales channels.

  5. Meet customer expectations at checkout.

    Consumer demands for speed and convenience are driving changes at the point of sale which includes a shift to paying with contactless cards and mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. According to Payments Canada contactless payments grew by 70% in both volume and value of transactions in 2015, while cash use has declined by 20% since 2011.

    Make the payment experience as frictionless and convenient as possible by allowing customers to pay the way they’re most comfortable. That means accepting Chip & PIN cards, especially Interac® Debit and contactless payments versus swiping credit cards.

    Provide a more personalized touch by moving the checkout experience from behind the counter to on-the-spot checkout using a mobile point of sale solution. You’ll definitely wow your customers and they’ll spread the word.

  6. The customer experience doesn’t end at the register.

    If you have a way to contact your customers, don’t be shy! Pick up the phone, send a thank you message, blog, fire off an email newsletter (with consent of course, because you’ll want to comply with CASL) or keep the conversation flowing on social media. We all love to learn about the people behind the businesses we support, so get out there, tell your stories and show your customers why they should keep doing business with you.

The customer experience is an end-to-end journey that starts before you meet or chat and ends after the transaction. Focusing on every possible way that customers can interact with you, learn about you or hear from you will help your dream business continue to grow and prosper!