5 Tips for Creating Better Experience at Events

In order to make any event a success, a memorable experience needs to be offered to those who are attending. Meticulous planning needs to go into targeting the right customers and then ensuring that they not only attend the event but spread positive word about it. Design a strategy based on the type of event, be it a sporting event, concert, an opening of a store, conference or product launch. Paying attention to little details can make a remarkable difference on how customers feel they are being treated. Here are a few tips that can help provide better experience and create a ‘wow’ impact for your customers.

 Focus on a Great First Impression

It is essential for businesses to make a great first impression when organizing an event. Based on customer profiling, identify the promotional channels which should be used. Reach out to customers and disseminate information through these channels regarding venue, time and other details. Depending on the type of event, you can send out customized cards along with gift baskets to create the right first impression. Adding a personal touch right from the start is not only the right marketing strategy but helps strengthen relationships. Your first impression will set the tone for whatever follows.

Make Use of Technology to Guide Customers

Deploy the latest in technology before, during and after the event to build a better experience. This can be done in multiple ways. For instance, connecting with customers through their digital devices and engaging them via social media. Sending out text alerts, location sharing on mobile, using live chat to offer more information on your website or app, along with adding self-service kiosks at the event for getting information or even directions if it is a large venue. Create a hashtag for the event on social media networks to post updates and other useful information.

Event

Pay Attention to Special Needs

Empathy is a prerequisite when it comes to customer experience. There could be attendees who might make special requests in terms of diet/disability/access, so be ready to cater to their needs. In order to create an unforgettable experience for everyone, it is essential to focus on the needs and preferences of those attending. Stay in touch with them from the initial point of contact right till the end, ensuring consistency. As a customer service best practice, make sure that nobody has to wait or stand in line for anything.

Offer Personalized Experiences

On the day of the event, how you treat and value your customers is what they will take from it. Besides creating the right ambiance, it is crucial that you offer excellent service to make every moment memorable for them. When the attendees start pouring in, have your staff ready to greet and guide them. Train your team members to go around and ask event attendees if they need anything. Use your available resources to sort out any hurdles as quickly as possible with a smile. Depending on the budget and type of event, it is always a great idea to invest in giveaways to be handed out as attendees leave. This parting gift will help them remember you.

Follow-Up with Attendees for Feedback

Once the event has concluded, follow up with those who attended to get insight on what they think. Ask them for suggestions on what can be added at future events. Engage attendees on different channels by sending them thank you notes and letting them know how much their presence was valued. Share event pictures/videos to give everyone a glimpse of what happened. Keeping in mind that customer experience extends beyond the event, ensure that you reach out to everyone and invite them to your next events.

4 Important Factors When Designing Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Effectively designed customer satisfaction surveys give insight on how customers are viewing a brand and its service offerings. Businesses utilize data from customer surveys to improve their service quality and raise their rank in the pool of competitors. Surveys provide useful information on whether a customer is satisfied or dissatisfied by the product or service offered by a company.

Let’s look at four essential points to incorporate when designing an effective and thorough customer satisfaction survey.

Framework of Questions

Research teams often make the mistake of either having a very long survey, which is too generic and lacks focus, or designing one which is very short and not goal oriented. Customer satisfaction surveys should be designed by keeping the questions focused and concise.

The survey should include questions that are insightful for the organization and can contribute to the enhancement of the service experience in the future. The structure generally consists of quantitative questions and a few qualitative questions which gather customer opinions as well as expectations from the company.

Questions on customer service representatives

Customer satisfaction surveys need to include questions on customer service representatives (CSRs) since they play such a critical role in service delivery. Questions on behavior, conduct, problem solving, time management and efficiency etc. can be asked from the customer to rate. This will give useful input to the company, which can be incorporated in future training development of the CSR.

Questions on product quality and user experience

Collecting data on product quality is essential for companies looking to increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Questions being addressed should range from product quality, user experience, value, price and other factors which the company finds useful in devising its customer service offerings. The questions can be constructed to gauge the customer’s affinity to the product and whether they will be buying the product again or not.

Questions on overall satisfaction

It is important to assess the overall quality of the customer experience offered and whether there are any loopholes in the service delivered. Questions can gather customers’ ratings on shopping experience, promptness in service, efficiency in problem solving, different customer service platforms and post sales service etc. Customers should be asked if they ever contact the customer service for help and if yes, then how effectively their issues are addressed and resolved.

Open ended questions

Apart from quantitative questions in the survey, a few qualitative questions should also be addressed to get feedback from customers. Having open ended questions which touch on important points such as complaints and experiences can be added to the pool of questions in the survey. Customers can be enquired on how they might think the service can improve or what they dislike about the service or product etc.

Rating Scale

The main part of the survey is answered using a rating scale, which is commonly a five point scale depending on the questions asked etc. The rating scale can be varied though for different questions, and will then have to be totaled separately as well. The length of the scale is usually selected depending on the level of differentiation the company is looking for.

While focus is often made on only the layout of the questions in the survey, it is as essential to have an effective rating scale, which measures accurately and does not create disparity when calculating the final data.

The rating scale needs to be balanced to start with, which means that it should give enough options for both positive and negative feedback. This firstly gives customers the choice to choose from a variety of options and secondly collects more accurate data from the customer.

The rating scale should correctly label each point, instead of simply numbering it from 1 to 5. Labeling the rating scales, such as very good, good, fair, poor and very poor, creates a more balanced data collection, since all customers know what that point stands for, instead of just choosing a number and letting customers associate a degree to it themselves.

Design of the survey

Customer surveys need to have an overall design and branding, with logos and marketing material so they have a higher response rate from their audience. Customers are more comfortable filling in a survey that is verified and labeled by the brand, because they tend to trust the source more as well as be assured that the information is going to be utilized for their benefit.

Start the survey with addressing your customers politely and asking them to fill in the survey so you can use the information to improve service offerings for them. The survey should have a simple layout, which is easy to understand and doesn’t take up too much time.

Once the qualitative and quantitative questions have been asked, end the survey by thanking the customer and giving them an option to leave any comments or feedback they wish to, whether it is a complaint or simply highlighting something they feel strongly about.

Incentives for the customer

Offering customers incentives and rewards for answering a survey is an effective measure for collecting data as well as motivating the customer to answer the survey. Firstly it serves the purpose of encouraging the customer to fill in the survey, as it can be a tedious task at times, and second it is a way of thanking the customer for giving their valuable feedback to the company.

Rewards can range from different kinds of discounts or offers which customers can benefit from. It can be a discount of a certain percent on the next purchase made or a gift card of a specified amount. These efforts help engage customers and collect data on useful service related queries.

Effective Strategies on Attaining Loyal Customers

Assortment in product range and buying options has increased the investment companies make in order to gain customers and win their loyalty. Businesses are now gaining competitive edge on the basis of multiple factors, such as marketing, innovation and customer focused advertising. This has led to companies facing tough challenges in the market and constantly having to innovate and excel at pleasing customers and retaining them.

Before we build on what strategies we can implement to enhance customer experience and gain loyal customers through emotionally intelligent and effective strategies, let’s have a close look at some of the reasons why it is so important to have loyal customers.

Repeat Sales

Having loyal customers means repeat sales. Customers who are satisfied with the offers of a particular company, almost always buy from them, because of their positive experiences in the past. Existing customers offer more profitto companies in comparison to new customers who are simply exploring the brand and may not go on to become repeat customers.

Word of Mouth

Loyal customers who trust the business for its offerings often spread positive word of mouth and recommend your company to their friends and family. Happy customers talk about their experiences to other people, which helps in positive and more direct marketing of your company.

Not only do customers share their experiences on a personal level, but also often take to social media to express their opinions and thoughts about their experience with a company and how they feel about it. The modern consumer almost always takes to social media and online reviews before deciding which product to buy and which company has the best offer.

These online reviews play an important role in the customers’ final decision, since positive feedback from loyal customers can have a great impact on the buying decision of other shoppers as well. The same can apply for customers who are dissatisfied with your product as they might be as keen to express their negative feedback and share it with other people as well. Therefore, it is important to focus on the satisfaction of existing customers and build on customer experience offered by the company.

Let’s look in detail at some of the factors that can contribute to increasing customer loyalty and bring in more customers to continue doing business with your company.

Differentiate on Customer Experience

The first and foremost step in converting a customer to loyalty is through the experience offered to them when they interact with the company.  Each and every touchpoint contributes to the total experience of the customer and how he or she views the company. In order to offer quality customer experience, make sure there is a smooth channel of communication between the customer and the company.  Make sure all the needs of the customer are being addressed and the service is value oriented.

Design your customer experience to build loyalty and make your customers feel special when they are engaging with your staff. Management should look to hire staff which is capable of managing the service front as well as empowered to skillfully deal with complaints and offer support when needed.

Standing out amidst the competition can help companies increase their Wallet share. Wallet share also known as share of wallet ( SOW) is the metric to measure if your loyal customers are buying products of the same category from you only or also from your competitors. So if a loyal customer is buying hair shampoo from your company and is very happy with it, but is also purchasing shampoo from one of your competitors, then you have 50 percent of their “wallet share”. By differentiating on experience and giving yourself service based advantage, companies’ can help increase their wallet share and gain more revenue.

Loyalty Programs and Gift Cards

Loyalty programs are designed to thank customers for doing business with the company and a form of showing appreciation to the customer. Loyalty programs offer encouragement to the customer to continue doing business with the company and reap the rewards offered. Loyalty programs can range over different kinds, such as loyalty card, reward card, point card and membership card etc.

A rewards or loyalty card gives loyal customers an edge over regular customers, in terms of offers and discounts etc. Some loyalty cards give customers shopping points, discounts and or coupons which they can redeem in the future and benefit from. Loyalty programs are also a differentiator between a regular customer and a loyal customer, as they are given special offers and deals which regular customers do not benefit from. Loyalty programs are also exclusive in nature, making the customer feel special because of the premium service they have, which is not offered to everyone.

Discounts

Customers always appreciate efforts made by the company in trying to please them and offer better buying options than the competitors. Offering discount cards or coupons is always an effective strategy, as it builds value for the customer, and also encourages them to continue shopping with you, to utilize the discount card for purchase in the future. This also motivates the customer to go back to the shop, online or physical, and avail the discount. This results in more sales and thankful customers, who have saved some money on a product they were interested in buying.

Gift cards are another form of giving your customers a little something extra to enhance customer value and thank your customers for choosing you. While discount cards offer a percentage or certain amount discounted on the total amount of purchase, gift cards are a gift from the company, which come with an amount the customer can use for free to make a purchase of their choice.

Social Media

Social media plays a large role in customer loyalty, by retaining customers through online engagement and listening. It is important that the customer feels his or her voice is being heard and that the company is interested in listening to their opinions and feedback. Customers reach out to companies through their social media platforms and ask questions or get help.

Use social media for collecting data on how customers perceive your product or service as well as for improving standards. Not only do social engagements give insights into customer behavior but also helps the company identify customers who are brand advocates. Further developing relationships with brand advocates gives the company an advantage of building lasting relationships as well as using the opportunity to attract new customers.

24/7 Support

Times have changed from when customers would wait for a weekday and some fixed hours to connect with a company and speak to a customer service representative. Customers can now pick up the phone to call the company around the clock, log in to their social media accounts or even have a chat with them on their websites. Not being able to reach out for help at any given hour can irritate the customer who is not used to being kept on hold any longer.

Make sure your company is offering around the clock service and is present to provide quick and effective solutions to the customer. Having an experienced team that can actively handle difficult situations and provide viable solutions is a must. Any compromise made on delivering support can lead to a dissatisfied customer, who can easily switch to the multiple options they have.

In a situation where the company knows in advance that the service will be down or that a customer will be facing a negative experience, then the company should reach out instantly and let the customer know. Proactively reaching out to the customer to help them out, builds trust between the customer and the company and also lowers levels of frustration.

Utilize Feedback

Using feedback data provided from customers can be a useful tool to improve service, understand loopholes and enhance customer experiences. Have your loyal customers participate in surveys and questionnaires to gather information on how they feel about different parts of your service and then focus on fixing those problems.

Feedback should not be collected from loyal customers only but also new customers, so you can get their input and work on strengthening terms with them in the future. Getting back to a customer and informing them about taking their input into account is a strategy that builds trust as well as creates a dependable relationship. The customer acknowledges that their voice is being heard and the customer service team is working on providing enriched service.

4 Strategies on Designing an Impactful Customer Journey Map

Customer journey maps provide insights to the customer experience and give a detailed outlook on areas to focus on. The customer journey map is used to design the experience of a customer, keeping in mind engagement of a company with the customer along the way. Companies can plan their customer journey process by creating maps which work as a visual tool to understand the steps and processes a customer goes through when engaging with a company.

Let’s have a look at four useful tips on how to design a more competitive and impactful customer journey map.

 

Identify Touchpoints

Touchpoints need to be the crux of the plan when designing journey maps. Touchpoints show interactions the customer has with the company at various stages throughout the customer journey. It is essential to study each touchpoint and understand the role it plays in the larger picture. Being aware of your touchpoints and their contribution in the journey can help your business add value and enhance customer experience by fixing glitches and improving customer satisfaction.

Putting yourself in place of the customer and walking through the journey can be a helpful activity carried out by the customer service team to learn about various touchpoints the customer is exposed to. Keeping both major and minor touchpoints in check helps create a more detailed and focused map.

Creating Value Across Touchpoints

Companies need to use qualitative and quantitative data to figure out emotional impact of each touchpoint on the customer. Customer experience can be heightened by understanding what the customer feels and how they react at each stage in the journey. To learn about what might delight or frustrate customers along the way can be useful information.

Firstly it can help businesses become aware of customer emotions and how they react to different points along the whole path. Knowing these triggers can produce valuable data for the company, which they can use to improve service as well as identify gaps from the company’s end. Understanding each stage of the journey and the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction it provides the customer is useful insight for the company. The information can be used to restructure the customer journey and reduce frustration faced by the customer and manage loopholes.

Design for Multiple Stages of Purchase

In order to create a holistic and thorough customer journey map, it is important to keep all stages of the sales process in check. The company should be able to draw a map that looks clearly at touchpoints in the pre- purchase stage, purchase stage and post sales as well. Designing the map with all the stages in mind can help the company create a more synchronized experience and eliminate fractures between each stage.

This could run from the pre-purchase stage, where the customer is searching for a product or service and gaining information, to during sales, where the customer is actively pursuing purchase by either visiting the store or buying online. Designing the map by keeping all stages in mind and offering a seamless experience between each stage is what will result in an impactful customer journey map.

Lastly the stage of post sales shouldn’t be ignored where the customer might be needing support or assistance from the customer service department of the company. While companies often focus on making sales and getting the customer to the buying stage, it is often the post sales experience that converts a customer to becoming loyal and increases retention rates.

Map for a Cross-Channel Journey

The growing channels of engagement between the company and the customer has led to varying touchpoints. With customers using multiple platforms, channels and devices, it is important to design a customer journey map which aligns all of the above to reach a cohesive customer journey map. Irrespective of channel, the end goal of the journey should be the same across them and should contribute to creating a seamless journey.

Marketers should get input from all the different channels and share data collectively in order to get a broader picture of how customers interact at varying stages of the journey. The metrics for measuring data should be similar across channels so data can be collectively mined and the analytics can be used to analyze and optimize the customer journey. Companies can use this information and generate customer service reports to see how changes in the customer journey map has facilitated the company.

Knowing how customers behave across different channels and what their preferences are, can benefit businesses to improve customer service, by making it user-friendly as well as offer personalization along the journey.