A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to update my wardrobe. I scoured the internet, found Stitch Fix, and signed up immediately.
During the process, I uploaded pictures of clothes I liked and wrote down detailed notes on my style.
When my Stitch Fix arrived at my house, there was a personalized note from a stylist. This note referenced what clothes I liked and even mentioned my written notes for what I wanted in the outfits.
It was clear that an actual stylist had reviewed my notes and made selections based on what I said I liked.
That personalized note made my customer experience that much better. I felt listened to and like this stylist could actually help me find clothes that I like (even though there were some items in the box I didn't like).
All that to say, providing a great customer experience is crucial because people will talk to their friends, family, colleagues, and maybe even write a blog about it.
But this doesn't have to negatively impact your bottom line. A well thought out customer experience program will help you be methodical about your approach, measure your success, and save money in the long run.
Below, let's discuss how you can create a great customer experience on a tight budget.
Customer Experience on a Budget
- Think about your goals.
- Plan your budget according to your priorities.
- Focus on onboarding.
- Invest in the right tools.
- Engage with your customers.
- Don't cut corners.
- Hire a great team.
- Track your success.
1. Think about your goals.
Why do you want to start a customer experience program? What do you hope to achieve? If you don't know, then it will be hard to track and measure the success of your program.
Before you get started, think about your goals. Perhaps it's to reduce churn rate, standardize your processes, or scale your customer support efforts.
Whatever it is, once you decide on your goal, you can begin brainstorming ways to improve the customer journey at every touchpoint. To do this, you might want to create a customer journey map. With a customer journey map, you can visualize the process your customers go through.
Think about who your customers are and what they value. Then, you can begin to brainstorm areas where you could improve the customer experience.
2. Plan your budget according to your priorities.
Now that you have a good idea of what your goals are and you've brainstormed some ways to improve the customer experience, it's time to prioritize.
The best way to create a great customer experience on a budget is to prioritize what you want to get done with your budget in each quarter or year.
To get started, think of the ideas you came up with during your brainstorming session. Now, figure out what you'll need to spend money on to make it happen:
- Resources (personnel)
To properly plan for your budget, you need to know how much each task is going to cost and prioritize it in case you can't get everything done right away.
3. Focus on onboarding.
A great customer experience starts with the onboarding process. Right when someone becomes a customer, you'll want to start delighting them right away.
Does your current onboarding process leave customers confident or confused? To improve the experience, create a strategy and send surveys when customers finish onboarding to get feedback immediately.
4. Invest in the right tools.
You're going to need great tools on your side to enhance your customer experience. Whether that's a CRM or customer service software like Service Hub, it's hard to provide a memorable customer experience without having tools that allow you to do that.
Customer service tools will help your support team get complaints down, respond faster, and improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
5. Engage with your customers.
A budget-friendly way to create a great customer experience is to engage with your customers on a personalized level.
Personalized customer outreach will make your customers feel heard and valued. If they feel that way, they'll be more likely to stay with you and be loyal to your company.
One way to do this is to implement customer sentiment surveys and track customer satisfaction so you can learn where you can improve. However, don't forget to close the loop. Don't just gather survey results without responding. Follow up with those who have had disappointing experiences, and show all your customers that you're listening and their feedback is being addressed.
Another way to engage with your customers is through CSMs. Right now, if you don't have enough CSM's, think about hiring more. This could help reduce churn as customers will get more personalized attention.
An important thing to note with customer engagement is that it's a two-way street. Make sure it's easy for customers to get in touch with you and engage with you when they want.
6. Don't cut corners.
Yes, we all want to look out for the bottom line, but there's no point in cutting corners with your customer experience. You can't buy bad software, and then be surprised when it doesn't improve the customer experience. You have to invest in the right tools, even if it's a little more money.
Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to find a good deal. To save money, you can try renegotiating with your vendors (perhaps a cost reduction in return for a longer contract) or outsource some services. Just make sure you aren't saving a quick buck at the expense of your customer experience.
Even when resources cost more money, you can just prioritize those projects and wait to do other initiatives until your budget is reassessed.
7. Hire a great team.
To truly implement changes and improve your customer experience, you need to have the right team in place.
Whoever is leading the charge should be responsible for identifying challenges in the customer experience, determining the best solutions, and tracking the success of those initiatives.
Additionally, your CSMs should be well-equipped to do their job. They should have up to date product knowledge and be able to communicate any changes with your customers.
8. Track your success.
Of course, if you implement a new customer experience program, you need to track your success. You should have reporting in place so you can see how well a project is doing. You can track metrics such as churn rate, customer retention, customer satisfaction scores, and net promoter score.
Ultimately, you don't want to forget to continuously iterate on your customer experience. This is what helps you retain customers and attract new customers through a customer-first reputation.
Originally published Feb 11, 2021 8:00:00 AM, updated June 15 2021