This post has been sponsored by Rio SEO. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the sponsor.
Customer experience (CX) is more than just a buzzword – it’s what shapes a customer’s impression of your brand and how they talk about you to their friends, family and business partners.
But when you think about scaling your customer experience efforts and Local experience Optimization, you may be wondering – where do you start?
When it comes to thinking about your customer experience, you want to think about your company:
- Local business listings, like your Google Business Profile or your location on Apple Maps.
- Online reviews.
- Easy payment.
- Customer service channels.
- Ease of word of mouth marketing.
With all of these factors at play, how do you know that updating your customer service experience is worth it?
The data suggests that it’s worth taking the time to update your customer experience.
fact, 94% of consumers say a bad review convinced them to avoid the business altogether — and that’s just within one big area for improvement.
What if we taught you how to improve all areas of your customer experience?
Today, we’ll talk through five ways you can easily improve your customer experiences and increase your company’s profits at scale.
But first, let’s talk about why you want to improve this experience.
How will improving customer experience help improve my sales?
Your prospects have expectations before they even discover your store on Google, so it’s imperative that your brand aligns with their needs.
In fact, building a positive customer experience begins the moment a search for your product or service is conducted.
It then extends from navigating your website to shopping in-store or online to after-sales opportunities to leaving a review.
What areas of the shopping journey help influence a customer’s purchase?
CX is a huge factor in whether someone buys a product or service from your company.
It begins the moment a customer becomes aware of your business and continues in five full stages:
- awareness stageYour future customer has a problem and is looking for a solution. This might happen with a Google search looking for a product or service, and your potential customer might be convinced to check you out through a file List of local businesses.
- contrast stageYour potential customer will weigh several options, and determine whether your business will best meet their needs. They might read Online reviews to help them make that decision, so it’s important to make sure your feedback is engaging.
- The purchase/decision stage: During this stage, your website visitor becomes your customer.
- retention stageYour business continues to build a relationship with your customer to turn them into loyal shoppers. You can do this through email marketing, personalized discounts, digital feedbackand more.
- advocacy stageIf your business provides an exceptional customer experience, customers may feel inclined to defend the business through word of mouth marketing or by leaving a positive review.
Customer perceptions are shaped at every step of the customer journey, which is why CX must become a top priority for all companies across all sectors.
We know it sounds like a lot, which is why we want to focus on scalability – how can you easily implement these upgrades with minimal work or bandwidth?
What strategies can you implement to make these positive changes easier for you and your team?
Here are our five favorite actionable strategies for delivering unparalleled service that builds customer loyalty and leads to customer advocacy, post-sale.
Strategy 1: Improving the local search experience with the right information
First, let’s think about how a potential customer will find your brand during the awareness phase.
When it comes to consumers who are unfamiliar with your brand, their digital journey begins the moment they conduct a search.
The first time they see a SERP, they find your business listing, which contains a minimum of:
- Trade Name.
- phone number.
- Other relevant information.
They expect the information to be true.
How annoying can it be for a customer to try to call, only to find out that the incorrect number makes it look like your company is no longer in business?
If your business listing contains only one piece of inaccurate information, you risk creating poor customer experiences from the start.
55% of consumers say an inaccurate or missing website link frustrates them most when searching online for a business, while another 50% say an incorrect or missing phone number frustrates them the most.
Therefore, it is very important to nip awareness stage issues in the bud by making sure that every piece of information in your business profile is correct.
What exact information should my Google Business Profile have?
At a minimum, make sure of the following Google Business Profile fields Updated for each of your lists:
- Trade Name.
- base category.
- Job description.
- phone number.
- Website link.
How can I easily make these improvements at scale?
While you can manually update this information across multiple search engines, we have an easier way.
Local menu management It is an integral part of any customer experience strategy.
It can help eliminate misinformation, ensuring accurate and up-to-date information across the entire search ecosystem.
This way anytime a customer is looking for your business, regardless of location, they will find the right way to get to you or find you.
This ensures that you never miss a potential sale, and helps your business build a positive experience from the start.
Strategy 2: Smoothly deliver exceptional and fast customer service
Customer experience management means meeting customer needs anywhere, anytime.
This includes the time you spend in the discovery phase, when your potential customers decide whether they should make a purchase through your business.
At this point, shoppers can contact the customer service team if they have questions.
Your call center should be equipped with the tools they need to answer customer questions as quickly and effectively as possible.
Almost half of all customers (46%) Expect companies to respond faster than 4 hours after the question is asked.
Additionally, 12% expect a response within 15 minutes or less.
What platforms should I use to allow quick answers to customer questions?
Every customer has a preferred way to reach the company.
Your strategy is to be everywhere your customers hope to see you.
Consider upgrading to connect with your customers with:
- contact forms.
- Google Q&A.
- Google messaging.
- Your social media channels.
The key is to be ready to answer quickly on any available platform.
The customer support team should be ready to provide a response. And quickly.
If you wait to respond to customer questions or concerns, you run the risk of not meeting customer expectations, and thus, those customers turning to your competitors for their needs.
Our favorite way to reduce the number of questions your customers have is to reduce friction during the buying process.
This brings us to our next way to scale the customer experience.
Strategy 3: Create a seamless buying experience
Improving business listings and communication channels are just the first steps towards building positive customer experiences.
Next, you’ll want to create a seamless conversion experience.
Whether you want your customers to book an appointment, create a reservation, request a quote, drive to a physical location, or make an online purchase, your potential customers don’t want to face any friction when completing a required conversion.
How can I reduce questions and improve conversions?
Here are some ways to ensure that customer interactions with your business lead to more sales:
- Make sure all of the calls to action (CTAs) on your business listings link to the right landing pageswhether that’s a link to book an appointment or a link to your site’s landing page.
- Keep the checkout process short and simple. The average exit flow is 5.2 steps long It contains 11.8 typical fields.
- Improve your website design. Avoid too much text and clutter, and make your calls to action stand out.
- Improve your site speed. This has always been important to Google, so much so that they may penalize sites with slow site speeds. It also negatively impacts the overall experience for your customers.
- Reduce the number of requirements to make a purchase. Customers should not have to jump through hoops to buy from you. For example, they should have the option to create an account or sign out as a guest. If your only option is to create an account, the end user may find this time consuming and cumbersome and abandon their bandwagon.
Strategy 4: Improve customer retention
Once a customer makes a purchase, customer experience management doesn’t end there.
Now, your business can convert your new customers into loyal customers in the long run.
How can B2C companies improve customer retention?
For B2C companies, this could mean building relationships with customers by sending targeted emails and marketing offers based on their previous search and purchase history.
Or you can encourage the customer to join a loyalty program.
How can B2B companies improve customer retention?
For B2B companies, this could mean providing in-depth product training, ongoing first-class support, regular check-ins, and clear communication when products are being improved to reduce the risk of customer disruption.
Strategy 5: Make it easy for customers to leave reviews and feedback
If your company provides positive customer experiences, customers may feel inclined to leave positive feedback.
By turning your customer base into loyal supporters, you can improve your business’s ability to retain existing customers and acquire new customers.
Your loyal supporters or customer advocates are more likely to leave a positive review of your business and share their experience with friends, thus perpetuating word of mouth marketing.
How can comments and reviews help my business?
Feedback allows your business to measure customer satisfaction or identify areas for improvement.
It also helps you identify common topics, such as a lack of available payment methods or issues with customer service.
How can I easily get reviews and feedback from customers?
include a Digital feedback solution in your local landing pages, locators, and mobile apps to intercept these important feedback from existing customers.
This allows consumer experiences to be shared in an organic way and is an easy way to get customer feedback.
Use simplified tools to upgrade your customer experience
When marketing teams prioritize customer experience management, they are better able to meet customers at every stage of the buying experience with the right content and information.
Having a solid understanding of how customers respond at different stages, from finding your business in search to defending your brand after the sale, can ensure a positive experience and hopefully a repeat customer and brand supporter.
As with most marketing efforts, customer journeys are always evolving and require consistent analysis and refinement to ensure you meet your potential customers at the moments that matter most. However, this cannot be achieved without the right tools and technology.
This is the place Customer experience tools Come to play.
Rio SEO has teamed up with Forsta to deliver a complete suite of Local Experience (LX) solutions, the industry’s only comprehensive Local Marketing and Customer Experience platform for enterprise brands.
Featured image: Rio SEO