No matter which products or services your business provides, customer experience is a critical factor in keeping your business competitive. According to the State of the Connected Customer report conducted by Salesforce, 80% of customers say that the experience a company provides is just as important as its products and services. Customer experience (CX) sums up every way in which a customer interacts with your business, from advertisement to point of sale, from physical interaction to customer support.
However, finding out what your customers care about isn’t always easy. Gathering feedback can be time-consuming and difficult, and analyzing that feedback to find actionable solutions can be even more complex. At Spytec GPS, we understand that businesses need the right tools and methods to improve customer experience. We brought in our in-house expert, Customer Success Manager Natalie Barzilai, to explain the whys and hows of CX for small businesses.
Tell us about your experience! How did you get started working in CX?
Well, altogether I have thirteen years of experience in working in tech. I started working on data and product teams after college. Seven years ago I was offered an opportunity to build out a customer success team and the role just clicked. I liked working between all the departments (marketing, product, sales, client outreach, even engineering) because I could get a 360 of the entire company. Having visibility into multiple departments allowed me to always bring the customer perspective into the conversation, and ensure that customer experience was a key part of everyone’s decision making.
Why should businesses care about providing their customers with a good CX?
The driving force behind CX is that it’s cheaper to keep a client than to acquire a new one. And a huge part of keeping clients is listening to them. For example, you want to avoid building out the wrong tools and features--what’s the point of developing a service that your customers don’t need or care about? Customers remember both good and horrible experiences, and they might have dozens of interactions with your company. Great CX is about improving each of those interactions, from the first time they encounter your brand on social media, to their first sales call, to a help desk interaction.
Why is CX especially important for small businesses?
At the end of the day, smaller businesses are working with more limited resources. They don’t necessarily have the budget to develop flashy branding or to build out unlimited features, but they do have experience, and the ability to work closely with clients to make sure they are happy with the services they are receiving.
What are some ways a positive CX can help your bottom line?
Consistently providing positive CX goes beyond maintaining clients. Understanding your customers’ needs bleeds into every aspect of your business, and can help keep every department on track. If you make decisions based on CX, your business has one vision, and you can allocate resources to improving in ways that actually matter to your customers. The idea is to take your customers to the advocacy stage, when they’re referring people to your business, or speaking positively about their experience. At that point you can start to increase the size and duration of your contracts, or begin to scale up the product or service that you’re offering, and ultimately decrease customer churn.
Where is a good place to start when you decide that improving CX is a goal your company has?
The first thing to do is to map out the customer journey. What are the touchpoints and interactions that happen from start to finish? At this point you have to engage not just your customers but your team: what kind of feedback do they receive from customers, and how are they applying it? It may be too much information to tackle all at once, so break the customer journey down and address each interaction. And when you do start making changes to your processes, do it slowly and intentionally, so you can really see what’s working and what isn’t.
What are some tips you recommend small businesses take today to improve CX?
For our customers, improving CX means providing visibility. For example, for shipping or logistics companies, being able to give their customers updates about arrivals and potential delays can make all the difference. Nobody likes to be left in the dark not knowing why their scheduled work is not happening on time. On our side, understanding why visibility is important to our customers helps us develop more robust and effective features, like smart notifications. Sharing one vision of improving CX helps everyone’s business stay competitive, even as trends shift and technologies evolve.
Making changes to your business’s CX can be challenging, but we hope these tips from Natalie will help you get started. You know your customers, and engaging with them throughout their journey can help them grow as your customers for years to come.