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How to Stay at the Forefront of the Customer Experience

To stand out in your industry, provide your customers with experiences that evoke positive and memorable emotions.

You don’t always need to invest in costly technological or operational projects to innovate in this field. Improving the client experience is primarily an everyday business challenge that must be placed at the heart of your SME’s culture and strategy.

With this in mind, it’s your role, as business leader, to clearly define the client experience you want to offer and make it a priority that engages all employees. Remember that today, above all else, clients (individuals or businesses) are looking for speed and simplicity in their interactions with suppliers as well as increasingly tailored service offerings.

Know your client well

Where can you find new ideas to enhance the client experience? Of course, you could get inspiration from the best of the best in the industry, but first and foremost, it’s all about being able to listen to your clients and knowing their expectations, what they want to live as a rational, emotional experience, and only then will you discover how to improve your delivery.

While some expectations are clearly defined by your clients, others are unclear or not defined at all, but they still exist and therefore can influence your clients’ behaviours.

You can use various methods for determining their expectations and actual needs.

Traditional methods

  • Perceptual surveys;
  • Mystery clients;
  • Analysis of the records of complaints and comments;
  • Operational follow-ups after a transaction, etc.

Social media

They allow you to maintain a constant dialogue with your clients.

New technological tools

You could gather continuous information about your clients using advanced analytical tools, for example. These will help you analyze your data, determine client trends and decode their behaviours.

Regardless of the method, it’s much more than just asking them for a list of desired improvements, hoping to foster their loyalty and inclination to recommend your products and services.

Make the most of new technologies

New analytical and artificial intelligence tools enable you to get to know your clients well by analyzing large quantities of data from a variety of sources: client databases, transaction history, email communications with clients, comments on social media, etc.

Fortunately, technological development in the past years have made these technological tools more and more affordable for SMEs. They can help you analyze the current client path accurately and detect what’s really important for clients and what can irritate them. This way, you can improve in the way they really want.

Think, for example, of automated management applications where suppliers can monitor their client’s inventories in real time (B2B) in order to always have sufficient quantities on hand. On the other end of the value chain, think about clients that can follow the progress of their order and be informed in real time of delivery time frames. Also, think about personalization tools on e-commerce websites where consumers have the possibility of configurating products based on their preferences.

Engage your employees

Lastly, in the same way you have a conversation with your clients, you should continuously maintain a client experience dialogue with your employees. It’s the best way to give this topic all of the importance due and mesh it with your business culture.

Furthermore, since the client experience is delivered on a daily basis, interaction by interaction, your employees are at the heart of this delivery experience and are also an invaluable source of improvement ideas.

In recent years, managers have tended to be very present in the field in order to supervise employees’ activities and coach them, for example. This helps gather comments to improve and discuss the client experience, while ensuring that the guidelines are followed by all staff.

As a result, you will improve the client experience, little by little, every day, by making small gestures that will add up and help keep you at the forefront of this game.

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