Personalization is something companies like Amazon, Sephora, and Nike have trained us to expect. It’s no longer enough to be customer-centric. We want experiences— a positive customer experience. That goes beyond personalization.
In this time of massive upheaval and uncertainty, we’re looking for easy. Things that simplify our lives. People want easier, healthier, safer, more rewarding, and help us get things done.
While we’re happy with our experiences in some areas, we continue to feel neglected and frustrated in others.
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We don't need to reinvent or recreate the wheel in our marketing. Just look at what's already earning companies like Amazon and Sophora millions.
These companies and many more are investing and involving more AI and analytic data to improve the customer experience. Amazon has been a leader in this.
When you look for something, Amazon includes what other people who searched for the same item also considered. They show you what people who bought this item also purchased. Subtle, helpful, and boosting the value of your order with add-ons.
Sephora hasn’t become the worlds leading specialty beauty retailer by accident. They started incorporating AI in the early 2000s. Using various tech tools, they personalize everything from their choices for you to their 1:1 loyalty rewards.
The long-term goal for Sephora is to continue to enhance the virtual and in-store customer experiences. Not only will they help you shop virtually, but you can also try the makeup on virtually.
Nike has innovated, so you can now design your own sneaker. They have a 3D platform that allows you to create a sneaker that fits perfectly and matches your unique style. Fans love the option.
They also love the experience in the personalized NikePlus loyalty program. Fans get personalized benefits, product recommendations, and the ability to check and see if their favorite styles, colors, and sizes are available.
Customers used to make buying decisions based on loyalty or price. Those things are changing. More and more make those decisions based on the experience you offer them.
In a recent survey by SuperOffice, they asked 1920 business professionals what their number one business priority is for the next five years. By a distinct margin over product or product, customer experience came in at 45.9%.
Thought leaders say businesses who have unsatisfactory experiences are headed for trouble. They will start to see their client base erode if they don’t make the technical changes to improve it.
The level of stress doesn’t look to be dropping anytime soon. Stressed shoppers are less friction tolerant. If your buying experience is complicated, if your customer support is lackluster—you have challenges to solve.
More than ever before, buyers don’t want transactions that are company sales-centric. It makes them feel like you’re just after their money.
Now I know you need their purchases to run your business, but the experience shouldn’t feel that way. Feelings are pure emotion. You want to keep those feelings positive if you want to earn their trust, purchases, and loyalty.
Companies with the most significant growth and success embrace the customer experience from the top down. Everyone on the team needs to understand and have the power to improve it. For some businesses, it may be outside-the-box thinking. It may involve more work and initial expense. But if you look at the potential future revenues, it’s well worth the effort.
Start by thinking from the customer’s point of view. Sometimes we are so close to the process that we can’t see the problems an outsider sees.
Ask your customers, “what could we do better?” “How could we make shopping easier?” In essence, how can you help them?
If you have a customer service team, ask them. The marketing and management teams need to know what customer service is hearing. What the customers need and want that they aren’t getting.
Customers’ questions and their problems provide the answers to improving your sales.
Lousy customer service is a pet peeve of mine when I’m shopping online or in-person. I understand company limitations but I also handle customer service for one of my clients. I get the challenges, but I know the value. I've gotten those evening and weekend calls where I've rescued a customer and solved their issue.
We recently went to Best Buy to find a laptop. The store was busy. The staff was few and far between. We found something suitable, but without the ability to get questions answered, they lost the sale.
When we checked out, we mentioned the lack of staff to our checker. His reply, Best Buy just let another 500 people go. Team members are going to be in short supply for the foreseeable future. In the end, Best Buy will lose its status as a provider of excellent customer care, and they will lose money.
Both brick and mortar and eCommerce businesses need to step up their customer service. With all the options out there, companies need to find a way to expand the routes and time frame where people can get help.
Look for ways to provide support beyond a few business hours. Many times companies on the east and west coast ignore the three-hour time difference. So if I’m on the west coast, I’d better not need anything after 2 PM local time.
Expand your FAQ. Add an AI help option. Outsource or give someone a part-time job, so you are more accessible. Make sure your website is easily searchable so I can find what I need. If your competition is more available, it will cost you money.
The most successful businesses are making use of technology to track shopping patterns and offer recommendations. Per 2020 research by Gartner, we conduct about 85% of all purchases without assistance.
That means there is a significant 15% opportunity to increase revenues by helping shoppers solve those issues.
Companies have many new ways to allow their customer support team to automate repetitive or straightforward tasks using artificial intelligence. Automation enables them to reduce costs and empower shoppers to solve their issues. Learn about your options and employ them.
It is essential to do this in a transparent way to maintain trust and credibility.
Chatbots or voice-enabled chatbots are a top choice for businesses. Their effectiveness ties directly to the quality and comprehensiveness of the dialogue provided to the bot.
My final tip is to make sure your system works on all channels across all types of devices. More and more people are switching back and forth from phones to tablets to laptops and computers. Your system needs to deliver in all.
Looking to increase lifetime buyer value, build sales, and more engagement? Let’s have a quick chat. You can message me: [email protected].
Judith Culp Pearson receives three top honors
at the annual Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals in
Ft. Worth, Texas - October 7-9, 2023