Friday, November 12, 2010

9 Ways to Create the Right Customer 'Experience'

Why do some customers spend money with you and others don’t? Why do some customers come back again and some don’t? You could really increase your profits if you could get them to spend money the first time and get them to return. Return shoppers provide a larger profit margin because you did not spend as much to get them to come back as you did to get them to purchase the first time. Here are some things to do:

Customer service is about the ‘experience’ not the sale
The customers ‘experience’ is what you are trying to create. When sales people appear uncaring and/or unhelpful you lose a lot of potential sales. Create a company policy on interacting with each and every customer that comes in the store. For ecommerce, interact with live chat, FAQ’s and follow up from visiting the site. Also have strategies to prevent communication breakdowns with customer and how to settle customer disputes.

Shopper Education
The general public has become much more savy in shopping these days. They will search online for the best price and customer reviews. You must provide information in the store as well as online for today’s shoppers. If they can find more information about another product, there is a greater chance you will lose the sale. In store and online you can provide fact sheets, video, publications and reviews.

Male vs Female
Women account for 60% - 80% of buying decisions in today’s market. Understanding how men and women shop is a must. Many industries have not embraced the fact that the majority of the buying decisions are made by women. Your store set-up and website design should appeal more to women – don’t ignore the men – but remember 60-80%!

Create an atmosphere to maximize potential
Customers will spend more money the longer they are in your store or on your website. In store – create an area for men and women to sit and relax – provide coffee or water – use video to educate and entertain. Online – design an entertaining and educational experience that will draw them to different products. Remember – relaxing, fresh, visually stimulating and of course clean.

Available and Open
It is a must to be available and open to customers. Not just being in the store – be with the customer assisting them in their shopping ‘experience’. Online – make it very easy and obvious how to connect with a live person via chat or phone. This will lead to increased sales and increased return purchases. Remember – the experience is more important than the sale.

Layout/Design to increase sales
Know where to put what merchandise in your store and have related products on the page for your ecommerce store. Place the sale items in a store in the middle to back of the store with visible signage to attract the customer. Online – always have related sale items on the page.

Create an environment that expresses emotion and product related
Your in store environment should be one that causes the customer to react emotionally. Appeal to the target market. The look and features of your website should do the same. If you sale sporting goods – create a competitive atmosphere with action photos of popular athletes and sport video games. This will maximize your sales and create enthusiastic customers.

Show your trust and ethical business
A study (www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog) has shown that saying “trust us” will increase the customer’s perception of fair price, caring, fair treatment, quality and competency in your business. Create an atmosphere and reputation of high morals and ethics will attract consumers. Display in your store and online any involvement in community and charitable organizations.

Create an environment for feedback
Ask for your customers opinion. You will build a larger loyal customer base by asking and implementing ideas from your customers. You don’t know what they want or if they had a ‘great experience’ unless you ask.

You may not think these topics are related to marketing – I strongly disagree – anything that is related to increasing leads or sales is marketing. Customer service is marketing and the ‘experience’ you create for your customer will make or break your business.