6 tips for small business owners to improve their customer experience

Imagine you order a new pair of earphones from a reputed brand but they turn out to be faulty. You reach out to the brand and request an exchange. And, the next day they deliver a new pair of earphones at your doorstep! Wouldn’t you be happy with this experience and recommend the brand to your family and friends? The chances are high that you will.

Customer experience is the impression your brand creates among buyers. Besides, the products/services, customer experience can make or break a business. It transcends packaging, shipping, usage and even advertising. Business owners need repeat trade from customers. They need to create a positive experience for the customers—right from the start. This is especially relevant for startups and SMEs looking to make a good first impression among their customer base.

However, cultivating a great experience that customers never forget requires effort and a focused strategy. Here are six tips you can follow to improve your customer experience.

1.Create a customer-focused culture

A small business cannot afford to have any loose ends when it comes to treating their customers right. One misstep and they could jump ship to your competitors. According to Bain & Company, businesses that provide great customer experience enjoy 4-8% higher revenue than industry norms. 

As a small business owner, your mindset should always be customer focused. This will help you understand what they like and what they dislike. Focus your energies into designing a friendly experience for your customers based on past experiences (both good and bad) and on the basis of their feedback. This can help drive repeat business from customers and increase loyalty. 

2.Deliver an omni channel experience to customers

Your company should adopt an omni channel strategy to provide a seamless service experience to consumers. This means your customers contact you, irrespective of the channel. If buyers have queries or issues, they can reach out to you on social media, blog comments, in-app messaging, emails, SMS, website, helplines, etc. 

If you listen to your customers, no matter where they communicate with you, it is very likely that they will see this as a wholesome after sales experience and commitment from your brand towards them. This can help you increase loyalty among your customers and they might also become your brand advocates. A report by Salesforce shows that 91% of buyers are more likely to make another purchase from companies that provide good customer service.

3.Address customer issues without fail

In order to improve your customer experience, you need to evaluate and elevate every touchpoint at which the customers interact with your company. According to PWC, 80% of customers consider efficiency, convenience, friendly interaction and easy service important.

Here’s a list of engagement tools that you can use to make your customer service more efficient:

  1. Social media including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Linkedin
  2. Listening tools such as Sprout Social or Kustomer
  3. Messaging Platforms such as Whatsapp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, or Signal 
  4. Customer surveys to keep track of their sentiment and feedbackLive chat and video calls to connect with customers in real-time and provide a personalised experience
  5. Website Analytics tools like Google Analytics
  6. Email to initiate, sustain and keep track on conversations with customers

4.Always try to engage with your customers

There are several stages through which a customer explores a brand. These are the touch points when you can connect and engage with your customers. This also helps drive personalisation in engagement which is of great value to startups and SMEs. A report by Zendesk states that 90% of consumers are willing to spend more with companies who personalise the customer service experience.

You can try these tips to establish great relations with your customer throughout their life cycle:

  1. Customers become AWARE of your brand: Create engaging content in the form of display ads, social media posts, videos, messages, emails, that acts as the first point of contact with your potential customers. 
  2. Customers ENGAGE with your brand: The customers can reach out to you via any of the channels indicated in the point above. Make sure your customer support team engages properly with them and help them with every information they need. 
  3. Customers EVALUATE your product/service: Customers like to evaluate products and services before purchasing them. You can share sample(s) of your product or limited access to your services with them.
  4. Customers PURCHASE your product/service: Customers simply don’t buy a product/service, they buy the experience. And, a good experience ensures repeat business. Make sure that their purchase to after sale service experience is seamless. 
  5. Customers form an OPINION about the experience: A good experience is directly proportional to the customers forming a great opinion about your brand. Ensure that your small business delivers a ​​good quality product as well as exceptional support. 
  6. Customers become BRAND ADVOCATES: If you deliver the best experience to the customers across their lifecycle, they will make sure they recommend your business to their friends and family. 

5.Train your customer-support teams effectively

Empower your frontline customer support team so that they can make the right decisions while engaging with customers. You can conduct regular training programs to help your sales, support, partnerships and marketing teams to deliver seamless support. According to Microsoft, 96% of customers are loyal to the brands on the basis of their experience.

Make sure you cover these key points with your customer support team:

  1. Your teams should have a crystal clear understanding of your business
  2. The teams have to provide correct and compliant information to customers about your products and services
  3. The teams should understand the customers’ needs and provide solutions faster
  4. Ensure the team is well versed in empathy and patience
  5. Train the team to provide best possible assistance to customers in real-time
  6. Your team can personalise conversations, to build trust and increase confidence

6.Use customer feedback to enhance their experience

As a small business owner, how would you know that your efforts towards ensuring a great experience for your customers are getting you the expected results? For improving the customer experience, it is essential that you collect, analyse, and implement the customer feedback across the value chain. Microsoft says that nearly 80% of customers favour the brands that seek out and implement their feedback.

You can follow the tips below to understand how to apply customer feedback:

  1. Start with choosing the right communication channels to connect with your customers. Through channels like social media, in-app and live chat, emails, surveys, you can regularly ask for customer feedback
  2. Implement the customers’ feedback into the development and improvement of your product/service. This will help you standout as a brand that genuinely listens to its customers
  3. Identify the most satisfied customer you have through various communication channels and turn them into brand advocates for your company

What will your business gain by listening to the customers?

  1. You can ensure that your company will meet customer expectations by solving their problems, and giving them what they want and how they want it
  2. You will actually show that your customer’s opinions matter, which can make them feel that they are a part of your business. 
  3. You can easily evaluate client satisfaction and increase chances for repeat business

Wrapping Up 

A great customer experience is the difference maker between a brand that values its customers and one that does not. You may have a great product and marketing engine but it always will need to be backed by a good customer support team. Remember, only those customers who feel valued and listened to will keep coming back, which is key to the growth of small businesses.  

Read more from our business series:

  1. 6 important things to know before starting your business 
  2. 4 tips for Indian entrepreneurs to start a new business on a budget
  3. 10 tips for small businesses to improve their credit score
  4. 6 important things to know about company credit score
  5. How can small businesses protect their Intellectual Property?
  6. How to come up with great business ideas – A guide

Disclaimer – This material has been prepared by Tide Platform Private Limited for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for improving customer experience. You should consult your own customer support experts and advisors for all such purposes. © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved. Tide Platform Private Limited.

Kumar Shekhar

Kumar Shekhar

Deputy Country Manager, Tide India

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