How to maintain customer experience during cost of living crisis
Many people are currently concerned about their ability to afford necessities such as food and utilities, especially considering the uncertain market conditions and increases in the prices of goods and services.Subscribe
Following an excellent customer experience, most shoppers will repeat a purchase and are more likely to recommend the brand to friends and family, according to my interactions with some shoppers.
However, if a customer has an unresolved service issue in a first-time purchase, some shoppers are unlikely to make a repeat purchase. Others will abandon a brand because it is unable to communicate on their preferred channels. I also believe that today's customers are less patient than in previous years when dealing with businesses, emphasising the importance of firms investing in customer experience and ensuring that customer expectations are met in the shortest possible time, as well as protecting relationships for long-term business stability and growth.
The steps below will assist businesses in balancing their need to grow with empathy for their customers and problems.
Make the experience convenient and seamless
When dealing with the stressors of a high cost of living, the owner of Fafasbreakfast (Healthy Snack Company) in Accra explained that her customers were interested in value for money and would quickly look elsewhere if they experience frustration with her product or service experience.
As a business coach, I believe that current customers are interconnected, that they face an infinite array of product and service options, and that they are always ready to embrace new experiences. Customers' interests are served by a frictionless and consistent experience across all business channels (digital or physical touchpoints).
Get ahead of the competition
Customers are well-informed and expect businesses to meet their needs when and how they want them. As a result, SMEs must deliver messages to customers on time and ahead of the competition, as well as identify and communicate their unique selling propositions. As a customer, I am constantly looking for bargains and ways to save money. Because of inflation, I am concerned about payment terms for goods and services, as well as sustainable products and services. Businesses cannot control the ongoing economic challenges, so they must focus on improving connectivity and providing excellent customer service.
Every business owner must understand that their customers' needs vary and that the current high cost of living influences their spending. I will advise business owners to cultivate customer empathy by being aware of their surroundings and meeting their customers' expectations. They must better understand their customers' needs and feelings and use them to develop products that not only help users complete tasks but also fit into their overall workflow and, especially, the customer's lifestyle.
Create an emotional connection with your customers
Businesses should strive to make an emotional connection with their customers in every interaction by delivering micro-moments that are tailored to their touchpoints (customer calls, emails, checks and support service). Due to the competitive nature of the market and the high cost of living, businesses must have a strong relationship with their potential customers during their purchasing decision process. Many different emotions influence behaviour, and this varies by industry. Some emotional drivers that I will advise businesses to consider include making the customer feel secure, a sense of belonging, success in life, freedom and so on.
Capture real-time customer feedback
These are the observations, insights, problems and suggestions shared by your customers, communities and stakeholders regarding their interactions with your company's products and services. This feedback guides customer experience improvements and can empower positive change in any business. Real-time feedback is critical because it helps to improve real-time performance and allows employees to correct mistakes and even change their behaviour. Allowing for real-time feedback reassures customers that you are with them every step of the way.
Understanding your clients
I understand one of the most common mistakes most businesses encounter is a lack of understanding of their customers. Knowing your customers means having a clear picture of their age, income, lifestyle, expectations, needs and beliefs, articulating into the customer experience strategy of the organisation as well as the firm's staff. Businesses are failing to satisfy their customers' needs just because they did understand who their customers are.
The writer is a lecturer, University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA)