When it comes to bad customer experiences, I’ve heard every excuse in the book. One of the most common excuses is that there just isn’t enough time in the day to go "above and beyond" to delight customers.
I want to put an end to the myth that it takes an endless supply of time to create outstanding customer experiences. The reality is that all it takes is a few minutes and the right attitude.
Here are 10 things you can do today with five minutes or less to improve your customer experience:
1. Send a Card to a Power User
“We pay a lot of attention to community management” explains Jess Lee, CEO of Polyvore, an online fashion community. “We have a great community manager, Nadia, who actually talks to and meets them. We had someone who was very ill and we found her blog and found a sweater that she wanted, so we bought her the sweater and we made a cup and printed her Polyvore set on it and we sent it to her.”
The lesson here is that deepening your relationship with your power users sometimes means going offline. It means taking the time to understand how your product fits into your user’s life, and recognizing them and appreciating their business in a way that is uniquely meaningful to them.
2. Offer a Phone Consult
It’s not exactly a secret that bookkeeping for small business can be a real pain. So when FreshBooks launched its no-hassle, user-friendly cloud accounting software, it’s no surprise that small business owners everywhere were ecstatic. But its brilliant product is only one of the many ways that FreshBooks delights its customers.
When you sign up for a free trial, you receive a highly personalized email from a real person with a real name at FreshBooks personally welcoming you to the community and offering to pick up the phone and chat with you about how FreshBooks can support your business goals.
Even if your customer doesn’t feel the need to take you up on the offer, knowing that the company behind the product has a vested interest in improving his or her life is extremely impactful.
3. Set Up Your Customer Experience Analytics
We often think of customer service as a specific, customer-facing department. But in reality, the best thing you can do for your customers is to get to know them through what they do versus what they say by tracking behavior-based analytics and responding to that behavior.
With a behavior-based web personalization platform (like Evergage) you can track and respond to user behavior in real time, proactively offering great service rather than reacting to customer complaints after it is too late.
4. Personalize Your Packaging
The pizza shop Toppers offers a unique lesson. Toppers takes special requests for drawings on its pizza boxes and then adds a personalized message.
Whether you ship a physical product with packaging or simply provide a receipt, you can take a lesson from Toppers.While it takes an extra minute or two, it sends the message to customers that they are seen and heard — that their decision to give you their business is appreciated. This is especially important during a trial period. Taking the time to connect with the customer on a personal level creates a bond between the user and the brand that they will remember when the trial is over.
5. Give Away Free Stuff
One of the easiest ways to make customers happy is to give them something for nothing. But there is a difference between giving away useless trinkets, and providing customers with added bonuses that bring value to their life or to their business. For example, Mailchimp offers free marketing guides, and Clarity, a resource for entrepreneurs, launched a startup advice guide. These companies understand that offering free products to their users allows them to deepen their connections with their customers, increases their credibility and reinforces the value of their paid offering.
The important thing to remember is that you should personalize the free offering you give. Not all customers will want the same types of information. Use a web personalization strategy to help you determine which type of free content or offers should be presented to different customer segments.
6. Fix Problems Before They Happen
When we were creating our product, we wanted to empower companies to create outstanding customer experiences and make customers happy. One of the best ways to do that is to solve your customer’s problems before they realize they exist.
By staying one step ahead of the customer, not only are you able to proactively solve problems and create a seamless customer experience, you are able to plan your customer outreach and personalize it. For example, if you notice a problem with a particular user segment, you can pull their contact information and user history and incorporate that into a personalized email or in-app dynamic message. Being proactive allows you to remain in control of the user’s experience at all times.
7. End User Harassment
Email is a powerful part of your marketing mix and particularly useful when you are trying to pull people back to your digital presence. But even if you are personalizing your emails (including triggered and open-time personalized), emails are always a bit out of context, as your customers are not actively thinking of you while they are in their inboxes. Solely relying on email to power your onboarding process may annoy your users. If you use it wisely and complement it with in-app dynamic messaging, you will create a more balanced and enjoyable customer experience.
Event driven in-app messages are more relevant, timely, and effective than email marketing for increasing user engagement within your product.
8. Make People Famous
Take the time to highlight a power user in your community (with their permission, of course!) in a public way — social media, website, blog post, etc. Most people love to be publicly recognized, and giving a user a moment in the limelight is a powerful way to turn them into a brand ambassador and life-long customer. For your other users, it demonstrates a customer-focused attitude and goes a long way toward creating a sense of community, which can be appealing to new users.
9. Take Users Down Memory Lane
Nothing is as convenient as going to a website for the second or third time and having the content, products, or info that you’re looking for immediately made obvious and available to you.
When a user comes to your website, make it easy for them to build on past experiences by highlighting previous purchases or interactions. As a user, when your preferences and past actions are remembered by the site, not only is your experience easier, it also makes you feel valued and appreciated.
10. Fix Your Ineffective Signup Form
Sign up forms are often one of the first things you see when visiting a product page for the first time, and glancing at a lengthy form can send potential users running in the opposite direction before you even get the chance to explain what your product does.
Take time to re-evaluate your forms, ideally with the help of new and existing users. Incorporate their feedback to create a more efficient, comfortable experience. You should also split test multiple variations of your sign up form to determine which is performing best for your audience (and specific user segments within that audience).
At the end of the day, customer experience is about human interaction and creating a bond between the user and the brand. It’s about making a commitment to understanding how your product positively impacts the lives of your users, and actively seeking out opportunities to maximize those benefits.
So, what will you do with 5 minutes?