The market is only getting more competitive by the day, but it is also full of new opportunities to explore. As an online business, you have more competitors and more potential customers at the same time. It is up to you to win the hearts of those potential customers and stay ahead of the market.
The way to do that is by improving on the customer experience you deliver. Exceptional customer experience filled with personal touches is exactly how you gain a competitive advantage. There are several strategies you can implement to better improve customer experience as you get ready for the challenges of 2019.
Fast Delivery Every Time
Making a purchase is a huge milestone in the customer’s journey. That moment when visitors turn into actual paying customers is crucial indeed, but you also need to pay close attention to several moments after that decision. I’m talking about getting the customer’s orders prepared and shipped quickly and accurately every time.
This is a big challenge to overcome, and overcoming it actually begins with getting products ready for the customer. For online businesses who manufacture their own products – or do so with the help of third-party manufacturing companies – the process begins with tracking products along the pipeline better.
You can start by assigning a lot number to each batch of the product. If you want – and if it is necessary – you can also attach a serial number to every product you sell. The lot number combined with a good inventory tracking solution like inFlow Cloud lets you know exactly how many products you need to have in your inventory at any time.
The use of a lot number also makes quality control easier to handle. Remember that you don’t only need to deliver products to the hands of customers quickly, but also ensure quality standards are met on every product you ship. A good inventory tracking system is absolutely necessary if you want a competitive advantage.
The last piece of the equation is shipping. Make sure you work with a reliable shipping company that is ready to deliver your packages in a timely manner. Ask for a detailed set of shipping estimates to top destinations and make sure you add an extra day or two to provide room for potential shipping errors. It is much better to under-promise and overdeliver rather than the other way around.
Good Customer Service
Customer journey doesn’t end when a purchase is made. In fact, the first purchase is only the beginning of a (hopefully) long relationship. The way you maintain that relationship is by offering good customer service with every purchase made by customers.
Offering warranties is the perfect starting point in this case. Stand behind the products you sell by giving customers that extra peace of mind knowing that their purchases come with sufficient warranty coverage. When something is wrong with the product, deal with the issue in a pleasant and confident manner.
Let’s say a customer complains about a defect in your product. Take immediate steps to verify the complaint. The last thing customers expect when launching a complaint is a long, tedious process just to verify that the complaint itself is valid. Once you verify that there is actually a defect in the product, send a replacement immediately.
Yes, you should always send a replacement product first, and THEN ask the customer to ship the broken product back to you. This way, you can observe the damaged goods more closely and figure out what went wrong. Once you do, follow up on the customer’s complaint and provide information about what you discovered.
The cycle is not only reassuring to customers, but it also helps with turning complaints into opportunities. That customer is now a loyal fan of the way you do business and an extra person promoting your products and your brand. Treat every complaint as an opportunity to win a loyal customer and always deliver the best customer service possible.
Develop Your Team
The last strategy we are going to discuss in this article is developing every member of your team and aligning them with customer experience goals. Even those working in your production lines are affecting the way your customers feel about your products. When the entire organization focuses on the customers, staying ahead is a lot easier to do.
The little things you do matter. The way your marketing or social media team converse with followers and potential customers help shape the image of your brand and your business. The extra care production workers take when packaging your products is capable of putting a bigger smile on customers’ faces.
The more you realign the entire business towards customer satisfaction and good customer experience, the more you will find that an investment in employees is a worthy one. Everyone in the company is working towards keeping the customers happy – on a more personal level – with the brand and the products, giving you a bigger competitive advantage, especially against larger corporations who aren’t so flexible.
Once you have reached that level of understanding, you can start adding personal touches to the internal processes. For example, you can let workers who are involved in making and packaging products for customers to leave a personal note or simply sign the product off with their names. It is a small tweak to the manufacturing process, but this tweak alone will make your products feel more special.
To a certain extent, large brands and corporations are trying to do the same thing. If you buy certain models of Mercedes-Benz, for example, you can see the name of engineers who are involved in putting the engine together on the engine cover. As mentioned before, it is indeed a small touch to add to the product, but it is a small touch that matters to the customers.
With these strategies in mind, making your business more competitive and customer experience-oriented is easy. With 2019 just around the corner, there is no better time to start making these adjustments than today.