If you could do one thing to increase your revenue, stop losing customers, lower marketing costs, improve your business’ reputation, skyrocket your referrals, lower employee turnover and increase satisfaction ratings, would you do it?

Who wouldn’t?

It’s no secret that brick and mortar businesses spend thousands every year to improve each of those metrics, but many business owners don’t realize that they are all fruits of the same tree: customer experience (CX). Improve customer experience, and you improve everything else.

So, what exactly is this all-encompassing customer experience? Ultimately, CX is about how a customer interacts with your company and how satisfied they are with those interactions. A customer can experience several interactions—called “touchpoints”—before, during and after a transaction. For example:

  1. A potential customer finds your company online. They read reviews and visit your website.
  2. At your site, they look around, read product descriptions and check out on-site reviews.
  3. If they learn you have a brick and mortar location, they visit your store.
  4. They walk in and may or may not be greeted.
  5. While shopping, they may or may not be asked if they need help.
  6. They decide to buy a product.
  7. They pay for their order and leave.

Every touchpoint shapes your customer’s impression of you. A CX strategy is a concerted effort to improve your customer’s experience at each touchpoint. So, where do you begin? Start by listing all the ways customers can encounter your company. For example:

  • Website
  • Online reviews
  • Social media
  • Brick and mortar store
  • Email newsletter
  • Phone calls

Are you currently monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction at each of these touchpoints? If not, put customer satisfaction surveys in place. Ask customers about their experience on your website, in newsletters, and on the phone. Have you ever been asked to stay on a call after you called a company for technical support? That automated survey was part of a broader customer experience strategy.

Once you’ve started asking customers for feedback at every possible touchpoint, you need a process to adjust your operating practices and store policies accordingly. How else can will you impact customers’ perception of your company? For example, let’s say a customer leaves your business a one-star review because they felt the cashier was rude. Yes, the bad review stings, but you can turn a negative into a positive. Institute a new employee behavior policy and retrain staff as necessary so customers are met with a smile at checkout every single time.

After you receive customer feedback and make the necessary change, let customers know about it. To continue our example, you can reply to that one-star review with a heartfelt apology and explain how you have retrained all staff members to exceed customer expectations. Then invite the offended shopper to return to your store and receive a free product. A little effort goes a long way. You wouldn’t believe how often irate customers revise a one-star review to a four-star or even five-star review after the owner makes things right.

If you to take away just one thing from this article, I want it to be that you do need a CX strategy for your business. After all, a recent study found that 86% of people who have a positive customer experience are likely to repurchase from the same company (compared to only 13% of people who had a poor CX). That doesn’t mean your CX strategy needs to eat up your annual marketing budget or take twelve months to roll out. For your purposes, that would be counterproductive.

Keep your CX strategy as simple as possible, focusing on touchpoint-specific customer experiences. When you update company procedures, you give customers exactly what they want. And when you let them know about any changes made from popular demand, you’ll find you’re creating customers for life.

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