With smarter consumers comes higher demand for truly exceptional experiences, and this is how you can provide them.
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It doesn’t matter what your industry is — the better experience customers have with you, the likelier it is that you’ll grab more market share and be successful. In this sense, ensuring customers have a good experience with your company is always important. In 2021, however, it’s going to be crucial.
The fundamentals matter, but so do the native aspects of your industry
Every company has to follow some fundamentals when it comes to offering their customers a great experience. They have to communicate properly, keep things clean and neat and make sure they’re knowledgeable about whatever products or services they’re providing. But customer experience also has to relate to what’s native to your specific industry.
Let’s take Amazon. The vast majority of what they do is online, so they have to be sure their interface makes it really easy to search for and buy products, regardless of whether customers are on their computers or cell phones. They have to offer a lot of choices, and checkout has to be super easy. That’s all unique or native to them.
Compare that to a dental office. Sure, you still need a great website that’s informative and simple for people to use. There should still be interactive elements, like a payment portal or an online medical history intake form. But what really matters more than the website, in the dental industry, are factors like how the receptionist answers the phone, how they explain procedures, the results they get, and whether billing is correct. You can have all the online tools, but if those other things aren’t falling into place, then the customer experience probably isn’t so great.
So, when you think about how to deliver a great customer experience, you have to be thinking about both the fundamental pieces and what’s native to you and your industry. It’s when you get both of those right that people really start to feel like they can trust you and want to come back.
Why customer service will come into even tighter focus
Right now, people are more connected to the internet than ever before. COVID-19 has only increased how important it is to stay in touch virtually. And a lot of companies are doing a great job communicating through technology, using phone calls, video calls, and sometimes even texts.
But whatever tools you’ve got, technology is only as good as the team you’ve got behind it. It’s never a curtain that can hide big flaws, because eventually, the real you shows through. Maybe that happens when your tone shifts in your messages. Maybe it’s when somebody falls short on the accuracy of someone’s account or bill. Whatever the shortfall, we must be able to recognize it and correct it to have a graceful recovery.
What this means is that we can’t keep thinking that customer service is just about going digital. It’s not. It’s about considering the fundamentals and your native aspects of the industry together and figuring out how to create an overall feeling for your customers that they’re well taken care of.
In an eventual post-COVID-19 world, where we’ve accelerated the use of technology even more, businesses are going to face a real reckoning about how they’re operating. They’re going to have to think about how to modify the technologies available so that those technologies complement rather than define them.
A good example is restaurants throughout the pandemic. Really quickly, they had to come up with ways to get food to people without coming into physical contact with them. So, they took technologies they already had and were playing with, like paying through your smartphone and touchless card readers, and they put those front-and-center. At the heart, though, they still had to make the food taste good. They had to deliver it curbside quickly. Technology helped them serve the customer well through a really tough time, but it didn’t change the core of what the businesses were trying to do.
A great customer experience is the holy grail for most companies. It’s what ensures that people do repeat business and refer you for growth. It will be a major focus for businesses throughout this year and beyond as leaders try to figure out how to use more technology transparently and authentically in ways that make buyers happy. By combining innovative technology solutions with world-class customer service in the areas that count for your industry, you’ll ensure the future of your company looks bright for many years to come.