Written by the loyalty experts at Data Candy.
It’s no secret that satisfied customers are better for your business: they’re more likely to recommend their favorite brands to family and friends and more willing to forgive mistakes than their unhappy counterparts. Making your customers happy should therefore be a top priority.
Here are three ways to ensure a smooth customer experience and increase overall customer satisfaction and retention.
1.Recognize Your Customers
There’s nothing like walking into your favorite shop and having the staff remember your name or even your usual order. That kind of recognition should be the foundation of the long-lasting relationship between a business and its regulars.
As a business owner, you should find as many ways to show your customers that you appreciate their loyalty, and in return, they’ll become brand ambassadors and help your business thrive.
But we’re all only human; we can learn only so many names. Launching a modern loyalty program will allow you to identify your members at your point of sale and track exactly how many purchases they’ve made, so they can automatically be rewarded for having chosen your brand. That way, you can make sure that your loyal customers feel valued by your staff and brand, no matter when or where they visit.
A loyalty program is also an effective marketing tool, as it will allow you to send your members personalized communications and more relevant offers and promotions based on their past purchases. You could even send them product recall notices, as Loblaw did.
Whichever way you choose to reward your customers, showing them how much you appreciate their business will go a long way toward providing an exceptional customer experience.
2. Give the Gift of Convenience
The modern consumer wants and expects one thing above all else: convenience. By simplifying your customers’ everyday interactions with your business, you’ll leave them with a positive impression of your brand and overall sense of satisfaction.
Consumers expect quick and modern payment options. If your business doesn’t support any yet, consumers who are in a hurry or younger generations might not stop by to visit you again. Trading in your old payment terminals for newer models that accept tap and mobile payments is an effective way to give your customers the convenient payment experience that they expect.
If you were to sell gift cards, you’d be considered a lifesaver for last-minute or uncertain shoppers who don’t have the time or inspiration to look for a gift. Gift cards are also one of the only ways to gift an experience such as a dinner, short of making a reservation at a restaurant or cooking it yourself. What’s more, your customers can save your brand’s e-gift cards to their e-wallets, so you’d be adding onto your mobile payment options.
Have a strict return and exchange policy? Gift cards can also be used as store credits when an unhappy customer tries to return an item past the usually allowed period. And if you need to resolve customer complaints, you’ll be able to give your customers promotional gift cards as compensation — and as an incentive to come back and see you.
With the right gift card solution, your customers will even be able to access self-serve options online, such as reloading their gift cards or checking their balance.
These are all simple ways to improve your customers’ experience by making it easier it for them to interact with your business.
3. Provide a Consistent Experience
Let’s say you run a one-location shop that’s only open when you’re on site. Because you oversee all daily operations, you have near-complete control over most customer interactions. But how do you maintain a consistent customer experience when you manage a multi-franchise restaurant that’s open seven days a week, with locations in multiple neighborhoods, cities or even countries?
If you have the time and resources to analyze customer feedback, asking your customers what they think directly is one way to know if anything is amiss. You can reward customers who leave a review, for instance with prize draws, loyalty program promotions or e-gift cards, then use what you’ve learned to advise your staff on ways to improve the overall experience.
If you’re looking for a less manual solution that provides more in-depth visibility, implementing smart video surveillance will help you develop and enforce standardized processes from one location to the next and reduce friction points in your daily operations. It will also help you train and coach your employees. That way, you can ensure that your customers enjoy a consistent experience no matter which of your locations they visit.
For example, video can help you identify and eliminate bottlenecks or inefficiencies in your processes to reduce waiting times for customers. You can also determine if your staff is mentioning your gift cards and loyalty program to customers and give them pointers to increase member sign-ups and gift card sales.
The best experience you can give a customer is one in which they’re oblivious of your operations because your business runs so smoothly.
Loyal, returning customers are much more valuable for your business over their lifetime than one-time visitors. The more streamlined, convenient, and consistent you make the experience at your establishment, the more positively your customers will perceive your brand and the more they’ll want to come back.