one woman holds a bouquet of flowers while pointing at something on a tablet held by another woman. It's a customer experience

Ingenious Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience

The experience you provide your customers matters—possibly more than anything else your business does. Since they’re the reason your business exists, building trust with them is crucial. This trust keeps them coming back to purchase your products or services time and again.  Before social media, word-of-mouth was the best way for businesses to “get their name out there.” Today, however, if a customer is angry at a business, they can easily take their issues public on different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. And sometimes, those complaints go viral

What is a Poor Customer Experience?

We all have different standards when it comes to the service we receive. A couple may sit at a table in a restaurant and wait to be acknowledged by their server for 20 minutes. Some diners might find this unacceptable and leave, while others might just chalk it up to a busy day.  It seems, however, that most of us can agree on some of the more frustrating experiences. Some common complaints from people who report having received poor customer service are: 

  • Long wait times: Whether on the phone or in person, people don’t like to wait. And when those wait times begin creeping past the 10-minute mark, you can pretty much guarantee most people’s patience level drops exponentially with each passing moment.
  • Rude or unhelpful workers: Customers can be put off if they perceive that an employee has a negative attitude or is unwilling to help them solve a problem. The longer these interactions drag on, the more upset both parties become. 
  • Lack of pricing transparency: No one likes to pay hidden fees. However, more and more businesses are adding different types of fees to their pricing—without explicitly stating so during the sales transaction—to cover the increased cost of goods and labor. 
  • Defective or damaged products: It’s disappointing and frustrating to spend money on something only to find out it’s unusable. It’s even more maddening when the business refuses to repair or replace the product.
  • Failure to deliver on promises: Sometimes, customers are sold a service or product that doesn’t live up to what they were told to expect. Feeling lied to breaks any trust the customer had built with the company, virtually guaranteeing they won’t be back.
  • No follow-up: Customers can get upset or annoyed when they contact a business to resolve an issue and don’t hear back. Leaving messages and sending emails with no response paints a business in a negative light. 

Why Good Customer Service Matters

Of course, there are certain customers you don’t necessarily want to keep, especially if they are disrespectful to your team or they break the basic business contract (you provide goods or services, and they provide some type of compensation). But those individuals are often the exception, not the rule. 

When people engage with your brand, they have certain expectations about the way they will be treated. And if you routinely fall short of those expectations, your business will inevitably suffer. For example, if you’re searching for a particular service or product on Google, and you come across a business with a 2.6/5 rating, you may look elsewhere. 

Your prospects are doing the same with your business. Inflation is high and many people live paycheck to paycheck. With that in mind, consumers want to give their hard-earned money to companies that will take care of them and treat them with respect. 

Enhance Your Customer Experience

There are many ways businesses can improve their customer experience, and some of these methods are inexpensive, free, or offer a return on your investment. You just need to get a little creative and think of things from your customer’s perspective. Here are five small ways to keep your customers happy. 

Implement New Technology

Certain types of tech can help you keep your customers happy. They also give your business a modern look and feel while (ideally) streamlining certain processes. 

Booking: People love to book appointments online. In fact, when it comes to scheduling medical appointments, “more than half of Millenials and Gen Xers say they would switch providers for the ability to book appointments online,” reports Zippia

Connecting: Live chat is another way to provide better customer service, since many people—looking at you, Millennials—prefer this method to a phone call. However, AI chatbots are notoriously unpopular with customers. A Gartner study found that out of the small percentage of people who engaged with a chatbot, only 25 percent of them would interact with one again in the future. As AI continues to evolve, this may change. But for now, err on the side of getting customers to a human-to-human interaction as quickly as possible.

Checking in: When your business is in-person appointment-based, implementing a visitor management system allows you to easily welcome clients, delivery personnel, or others to your office. Visitors simply check in on the kiosk, which automatically alerts the contact they are there to see. To learn more, check out our product tour

Overcommunicate

Many people do the bulk of their purchasing online these days. This is convenient because it allows us to purchase items we might not find in a local store. However, it can also be frustrating to wait for an order to arrive, especially when there’s a delay or when a package gets lost.  To combat this, give your customers all the information before, during, and after the transaction. Set their expectations upfront so there is no miscommunication about things that were promised during the sale. 

Take Care of Employees

A great deal of customer complaints are about workers: their attitudes, their knowledge (or lack thereof), or their perceived lack of empathy.  Many business leaders understand the importance of taking care of their employees. After all, those employees are representatives of your company, and if they are unhappy, that will be reflected in the way they treat the customers they interact with. 

Great Place to Work released a list of 100 companies that meet the criteria of “Companies That Care,” according to their employees. It’s worth noting many of them are multi-million or even multi-billion dollar companies. They all recognize the importance of treating workers with respect, and that is reflected in their bottom lines.  Employee Supremacy guides leadership at The Receptionist in decision-making. It is the notion that putting people—employees and customers—before profits ultimately benefits everyone involved, including shareholders. 

Incentivize Positive Reviews

Word of mouth has now transitioned to the digital world. Instead of people telling their 10 friends and neighbors about the great service they received from their HVAC repair company, they can now tell 10,000 strangers about it. 

Social proof is one of the most compelling types of marketing a business can leverage. People are more willing to take the word of another consumer over the word of the business itself when making purchasing decisions. When you give your existing customers an incentive to leave reviews, they are more willing to do it.  Consider implementing some sort of reward for those who leave reviews on your website, Google, or Yelp. The more positive reviews you collect, the more likely it is that you’ll continue to gain business. 

Be Transparent

Since many customer complaints involve hidden fees or failure to deliver on promises, it helps to be upfront, even if it costs you business. It’s better in the long run if customers are aware of exactly what to expect from their interactions with your company.  Businesses that lie about their products, services, or pricing will not be able to do so for very long before their reputation is all but destroyed. Transparency equals trust. 

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

At various times, we are all customers of someone’s business. We have had good and bad experiences with the brands we frequent, and we know how we like to be treated in those situations. If you’re ever in doubt about how to handle a situation, you must ask yourself: How would I like this issue to be resolved if I were the customer? The answer to many customer-related challenges lies within that self-reflection.

 

The Receptionist for iPad Product Tour Presenter Team

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