Customer experience, often styled as CX, is becoming more and more important in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Make your franchise stand out from the crowd by providing memorable, quality customer service.
Running your own business in 2021 means competing on many different levels. But one of the most make or break is the arena of customer experience. Bad reviews can tank a business, but ten five-star reviews can lead to a hundred more. Let’s dive into the “what”, “why” and “how” of an exceptional customer experience.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience is the way that your customer feels about your franchise. Their unique perspective, based on a number of factors. These factors include:
- Your products. Are they high-quality, lasting, and true to description?
- Your customer service and communication. Does your franchise communicate honestly, promptly and clearly?
- The layout and cleanliness of your store. Is it a welcoming and well-structured place to be?
- The layout and usability of your website. Just like your store, is your website welcoming and well-structured?
- The ease of ordering and returning products. How hard is it to make a purchase, and how hard is the returns process?
- The branding and messaging of your business. Is it on-the-mark, engaging and understandable?
It’s not enough to be doing well at some or most of the above categories. Whether you’re running a small local business or managing a thriving UK franchise, you need to nail every aspect of the customer experience to ensure that your customers keep coming back for more.
Why does customer experience matter?
If, for example, your products are incredible, but ordering them via your website is a time-consuming nightmare, you’re guaranteed to lose sales. If your products are incredible, your website is professional, but your customer service is lacking, then negative word of mouth will spread over time.
When you’re running a franchise, customer loyalty can mean a huge amount for the long-term success of the business. And customer loyalty is far more likely for businesses who provide consistently exceptional customer service.
Customer perception is one of the most valuable aspects of a company. Managing that perception in all its forms should be a top priority and is the responsibility of every single person in the organization.
To understand why customer experience matters, you only need to look as far as the statistics:
- 80% of businesses now compete primarily on customer experience [Gartner]
- In a 2021 survey of 1,920 business professionals, 45.9% said their top priority in the next five years would be customer experience, compared to only 33.6% citing their product as their top priority [SuperOffice]
- 86% of customers are willing to pay more to receive a better customer experience [Oracle]
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What does delivering a great customer experience involve?
Figuring out how to deliver a great customer experience is integral to the success of most businesses. To secure your success, check out our list of customer experience tips and tricks. This list of suggestions, recommendations and best practices will support your franchise through the process of making customer experience improvements.
1. Collect feedback from customers
Collecting and responding to customer feedback is one of the most effective, straightforward ways to deliver a solid customer experience. By offering customers the chance to voice their opinion, you’re getting your information straight from the source, and any issues can be clearly observed and addressed. Also, analysing feedback trends within the data will allow you to identify consensus opinions within your consumer base.
2. Collect feedback from employees
Your franchise’s employees are the face of your business. Your employees are on the job every day, interacting with your customers. If a common customer experience issue is cropping up, they’ll know about it.
Employee feedback will also give you an idea of the employee experience that your franchise provides. This, as you can imagine, has a direct correlation to the customer experience received. If employees feel supported and well-compensated in their roles, they’re more likely to provide high-quality customer service.
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3. Emphasise the importance of CX in training
Make sure that every employee within your organization is on the same page by providing comprehensive training that focuses on customer service. Involve your employees in every part of the process, and speak to them honestly about the importance of creating an exceptional customer experience.
4. Address complaints and concerns
Though it might be tempting to sweep certain complaints under the rug, accountability and transparency are key for any business. When you address concerns and make necessary improvements, you show existing and potential customers that your brand is trustworthy and that they can have faith in your services.
5. Streamline your site
A quality digital presence is key, no matter what your field is. And whether your site is a simple rundown of your services or a complex, fully-functioning e-commerce store, it should be streamlined, professional and easy-to-navigate.
The worst case scenario imaginable is one in which your customer is desperate to purchase a product/service from you, and the only thing stopping them is an inability to navigate your overly complex or non-functional website.
6. Structure your store
On the flipside of the digital coin, your physical store, if you have one, is also incredibly important. The in-person shopping experience is often a huge defining feature of the overall customer experience.
There are a thousand different things that can transform an in-store experience from average to incredible, but here are just a few options:
- Dynamic, visually interesting displays that are interactive and engaging
- The creation of a certain atmosphere via additions like music and lighting (adjusting the style and level of either could transform a space)
- Rewards for loyal customers - discount codes, loyalty cards, stamp cards and coupons.
- Go the extra mile with unique offerings - what can your franchise do that no other franchise could?
7. Set performance targets
Setting KPIs (key performance indicators) allows you to track your progress towards goals in a simple, clear fashion. With a quantifiable measure of exactly what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll be able to see the areas where you’re on course, and you’ll be able to make necessary adjustments elsewhere.
Building a strong franchise business
Stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the world of franchising with Point Franchise. For further support securing business success, take a look at our wide range of franchising-focused articles.
Lily Sweeney, Point Franchise ©