We’ve talked about the changing customer a fair bit, and with good reason, if you want to stay competitive and remain in business you need to adapt to their changing needs and offer the experience they’re looking for.

The pandemic shifted people online and opened their eyes to a wide range of new businesses they may have never heard of or thought of shopping with in the past. This could mean that your customers have experienced new ways of doing this with others, good or bad, which will have shifted their perception of what they want.

It falls to us to make sure we’re doing everything we can to create the best possible experience for our customers, now and in the future. And with that in mind, we’ve looked at some of the most common customer experience mistakes businesses are making, often without realising they are doing it. Check yourself against them and see if you’re guilty of any and take a deeper dive to see what you could do to learn from them, shift behaviour and take your customer experience to the next level.

 

Everything Can Be A Learning Opportunity If You Allow It To Be

Mistake: Not understanding who your customers are

As marketers or business owners we know the importance of creating customer personas so that we can create messaging that will appeal to them but how often do we go back to those personas and validate them against the data, feedback, and insights we collect through doing business?

This is an easy mistake to make. We stick rigidly to the idea of our ideal customer forgetting that sometimes we get things wrong, often people don’t always fit the little box we created perfectly and that that group of people we call personas, is filled with individuals who all have slightly different motivations and personal beliefs.

Solution: Use the data you have to validate and personalise

Your key advantage over your competitors is the data and insight you have for your customers. Using it to truly understand who your customers are, what motivates them and drives them to action allows you to build an experience that they are looking for.

You can validate the personas and adjust so that you’re always moving forward, adapting to meet their ever-changing demands and when you look at and use the data you can go beyond the persona, looking at your customers as individuals and personalise experiences for each one of them.

A truly personalised experience does not mean a different journey or message for each persona, it needs to go down to the individual level.

And the research backs this up. 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them and 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalised messaging.

Ignoring the clear message customers are sending and not using the information you have to your advantage are huge mistakes.

Mistake: Not listening to your customers

This can somewhat tie back to the first mistake but also goes further. Not listening to your customers loses you the data you need to understand who they are but customer feedback and reviews, good, bad, or indifferent are a goldmine.

Ignoring their voices and blindly going off in your own direction can only be met with customer churn, falling sales and revenue and competitors taking the lead. The hard news to hear is that sometimes we’re not the experts we think we are, and we must open ourselves to what our customers have to say.

Solution: Start listening. Pretty simple really.

Every piece of feedback should be treated as a valuable insight for the business. You need to be collecting, analysing, and acting on it. Mining it for gold, looking for opportunities to enhance the customer experience and create loyal brand ambassadors.

To support and help validate and somewhat predict the direction your feedback might be going in you should be reaching for NPS (Net promoter Score) and CSAT (Customer Satisfaction). These will help you drive out truly measurable insight that gives you a solid answer to how you’re doing.

Thinking of making a change to a product or your digital experience? Ask before you dive in. Feedback can go both ways. You don’t have to sit and wait for it to come in, you can ask for it. User testing sessions should be part and parcel of your business practice.

Customers feedback because they want you to either do more of the same or less of something. If they’re doing this voluntarily, it shows they care. It is your job to listen and act.

Mistake: Not being where your customers are

It is just a fact that people are discovering and buying products differently now. The days of going to a single place, website, or store, browsing what’s on offer and then checking it out are over.

Failing to understand that and adapt means you’re missing out. To further add to the challenge, your customers expect the experience to be seamless regardless of where they engage and how they engage.

The businesses with the best customer experience are already doing this and it has gone from being a nice to have to an expectation. I can 100% assure you that once a person has experienced the best, they’re not going to go back to broken or old just because it’s been around a while or is deemed ‘traditional’

Solution: Put yourself in the places people are looking

You need to adopt an omnichannel approach. If you’re in the position where you have physical stores as well as a digital storefront, they need to be brought closer together.

Checking product availability in-store from online is a must, being able to reserve online and pick up is a must and being able to return products in-store for a refund or exchange without losing online discounts is a must. And it goes the other way. Being able to find more information for products online from instore is a must. People have gotten used to having a lot of information to hand. They want to check size charts, they want to see reviews from other shoppers for fit and quality, and they want to see if alternative sizes are available should they not be right in front of them, and it needs to be easy.

Easy is key here. Expecting people to try and search on a website to find the product that is right in front of them for more info is asking too much. Does it have a name? Is the colour or pattern searchable? They should not have to guess. Adding QR codes to in-store pricing tags either on the shelf edge or the product itself takes them right to where they need to be.

When we think online, we need to be where people hang out or go looking for products. Be that Google search, social platforms, or marketplaces to name just a few. However, this does not mean you need to be on every social platform and marketplace, you just need to be in the ones that are relevant to your customer, both present and future.

And if you’re using social, make sure it is seamless and that you’re keeping things up to date. There is nothing more annoying than using products you know will drive clicks but are out of stock.

 

Now To Start Fixing Or Avoiding These

These are just some of the biggest mistakes being made when it comes to Customer Experience, but we think getting this right can have a major impact on your success.

If you’re listening to your customers, adapting to meet them, understanding the value of feedback and user testing, and striving to create the best possible customer experience at every turn, you’re on the right track.