It’s not too early to start working on your 2019 small business customer experience strategies for better business operations. In fact, the holiday season is an ideal time to collect intelligence about your new and existing customers. That’s because there will be more people out there shopping in stores and online now than the rest of the year.
Here are some customer experience methods to consider for 2019:
1. Expand omni-channel strategy for consist customer experience.
Omni-channel addresses key customer experience expectations. But, its true potential has yet to be untapped because companies are not developing the channel.
The most important way to leverage this customer experience opportunity is to go beyond creating several service channels. As with a website and social media page, the act of creating and having it is not enough. You need to activate the power of these service channels.
Having a single customer view helps you understand how to make the customer experience consistent across every channel. For example, consider and plan how you can replicate the support experience a customer has in your store. Then, they have consistent service whether they reach out through social media or smart home device.
2. Use machine learning technology to nail personalization.
Like omni-channel, personalized customer experience has been the focal point of many brands as the answer to customer expectations. But, those expectations are growing about how personalized the experiences should become.
That’s why machine learning technology deepens the personalization brands deliver. While brands like Amazon and Spotify started the algorithm process to personalize shopping and listening experience for their customers, there is an opportunity to go beyond those initial curation techniques by using predictive analytics.
For example, the data gathered from support calls can identify common customer experience scenarios. That way, a call never needs to happen because the issues were already addressed. Thus, the customer experience is further personalized for users. Machine learning can identify customer concerns and send out information before they even contact the company. This creates the feeling that the company already is looking after that customer rather than waiting for them to call. It’s this proactive support that can elevate a brand’s customer experience.
3. Feed customers’ desire for instant gratification.
Everything is about timing when it comes to the ideal customer experience. Customers want instant responses when they interact with a brand, whether that means a mobile website that loads in a second or support personnel that answers a call rather than keeping them on hold. Also, excellent customer experiences mean that they can avoid waiting to check out online or in a store.
While you may have already faced this need for instant gratification with your customer base, this upcoming year is when you do more to address it. For example, assess all those touch points that involve timing with a customer.
In-store, this means finding ways to shorten lines through mobile payment systems that allow personnel to meet customers where they are waiting and immediately start the checkout process. Or, incorporate on-demand options so customers can buy through their mobile devices and go to a pick-up counter when they arrive at the store.
Online, you will need to upgrade technology on your website and shopping software to speed checkout and cut lag time wherever possible. Also, invest in chatbots that can provide around-the-clock responses so customers don’t have to wait for answers until regular business hours.
4. Start implementing episode management.
An enhanced customer experience means that brands have to go beyond creating and shaping experiences around specific products or putting the strategy in the hands of certain departments or functions. Instead, the new approach involves managing customer episodes. These episodes include both customer-facing and back-office actions linked to achieving a specific customer goal.
A prime example of a customer episode is when a customer changes their payment and location information because they have moved and decided to use a new card for their next purchase.
Thus, the customer episode involves handling these changes in a way that doesn’t feel burdensome to the customer who now has to update their information online. To achieve the goal of making this change as easy as possible, you need to develop a simple form or prompt that allows them to update that information even when they are in the middle of checking out.
Here, predictive analytics also has a role in helping a brand collect and assess all the various types of customer episodes that could occur to address each one.
5. Use extra security measures.
If a customer is already nervous due to ongoing data breaches they read about, or if they have already been a victim of identity fraud, layering more security measures becomes a very important customer experience tactic in 2019.This includes implementing a cloud-based platform and more security protocols for all that customer data.
Also, this is where machine learning can provide help in 2019. For example, it can identify any issues with data that could be a threat like authentication fraud or some type of malware. Finally, biometric solutions like facial, voice, and fingerprint recognition tactics can bolster security. With this level of protection, a customer can feel at ease knowing their information is safe.
A Comprehensive Customer Experience Strategy
Starting now with your 2019 strategy can help you cover all the components that go into creating memorable customer experiences. That means focusing on other tactics besides technology and tool investments. Also, concentrate on customer interactions across all channels and touchpoints for a consistent experience.