I am a sponge when evaluating and researching customer behavior and how it affects the customer experience. Partucularly when it comes to helping my clients and small businesses. In fact, I recently hosted numerous consumer focus groups for my clients, to obtain important feedback and knowledge about their customers to evaluate how their business is doing. (By the way you should consider doing this as well. It is a tremendous valuable tool.)
During our focus groups, we discovered four major themes regarding consumer behavior that all businesses need to consider carefully. In this “Magic Minute” I will be happy to summarize a few of the main trends we discovered that would be good for you to know, that can help your business and team with your customer experiences strategies in the new year.
- Common courtesy and the little things matter!
One in four respondents said their customer experiences have gotten worse over the last year. As one participant commented: “Just good manners and common courtesy is so lacking these days.” Another said there was a need for “focusing on the little things that actually matter but are mostly neglected.” These types of negative experiences seem to be especially concerning in the older generations – Boomers and Gen X.
Your business needs to pay close attention when such comments are expressed and understand how your customer experience is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Businesses should review and assess every customer experience touchpoint – even digital ones –across all age groups and geographies they serve. It’s important that voices from all generations and demographics are included in your customer experience strategy to ensure you’re meeting the diverse – and changing – needs of every customer.
- Your customers expect to be treated as individuals
When customers decide whether to be loyal and stick with your business , their first-hand, personal experience is twice as significant as external opinions or price. It’s so important that 79% said if they have a bad experience, they will avoid that business in the future. And if the business has an opportunity to address the bad experience with a customer and wants to do something about it, the personal touch with a sincere apology is a must. Consumers say that’s more meaningful than even receiving a refund.
What this tells the business owner is how every interaction matters. Strengthening the bond and relationships you have with your customers by delivering exceptional experiences is what will ultimately have them returning again and again. All because they leave with a positive and lasting impression.
To ensure this happens, I strongly suggest that you constantly evaluate your touchpoints with your customers and keep track of any changes. It means you need to tap into numeous ways of obtaining feedback regarding your customer experience. – not just customer reviews. You need to learn more about your customer’s changing emotions and expectations, along with ongoing operational data like purchases and service history.
- Customer are keeping an eye on your company values
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There is a strong connection between customers’ values and the businesses they choose. This surprised many of my clients. About 86% say they are more likely to spend and do business with a company that has values that align with their own, 82% say they will never do business with a business that discriminates, and 80% said a strong position on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is a priority when it comes to making purchasing decisions with a business.
In fact, DE&I was among the top five reasons for choosing a business. As one respondent explained: “Treat all of your employees fairly.”
How does your business come across to your customers? Because customers want to know what you stand for and how you treat people, your business needs be transparent about your efforts in these areas, and share the results with your customers. That will help to increase their trust and loyalty. In fact, research has showed this is particularly important for women and younger customers.
- Businesses need to take action on customer feedback
If your customers know their feedback will be acted upon, about 97% say they are likely to share that input. The problem is that many customers don’t think businesses actually listens and or they feel some businesses completely ignore their feedback. Does your business?
So, the message from customers is clear: They have things to share about your business and they want you to listen. As one respondent put it, they want their feedback to be “respected.”
By actively investing in customer communication channels and feedback opportunities, you can demonstrate to your customer base that you do in fact, care about their opinions to help make their experpience and your business successful. The key is to not only obtain the information but to also address any problems that come to light. Then communicate what ended up happening, to show your customers that their feedback was taken seriously and it led to change or concrete results.
While managing hotels in my career, I would often follow up with a customer, who had a legitimate problem and tell them what we implemented based on their feedback to prevent this same problem from ever ocurring again. They loved hearing that their feedback mattered and they soon became loyal customers.
Engage in conversation with your customers
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that customer experience and a strong CX strategy are essential to maintaining competitive advantage for your business. Keeping a pulse on your customer behaviour through evaluations, active listening and feedback programs are critical for driving the lifetime value of your customers.
An equally important aspect for success is creating a way to act on what your customers are telling you, both at the individual level and employee level. By doing so and having the right training in place, you can ensure every interaction your customers have with you, your employees and busniness is memorable, positive, and ultimately drives customer loyalty. Now that would be Magical!
Need help? Contact Coach John today for a FREE 45 Minute Strategy Session Call. No Fluff and Nothing For Sale. Let’s make your 2022 year a more successful one. Info@johnformica.com or (704) 965-4090