Customer experience can determine the success of a business. Customers have more choices than ever before so it’s essential for small businesses to build a customer-centric culture. And in particular, one that ensures exceptional experiences at every touchpoint. 

What is the customer experience?

Customer experience refers to every interaction and engagement a customer has with your business. That covers everything throughout their journey – from initial discovery to post-purchase support and beyond.

How does customer experience work?

You want your customers to be happy and have a positive perception of you. Their experience doesn’t just mean the products or services you offer. It also takes into account the emotional connection, ease of use, and overall satisfaction a customer has.

In this article, we’ll review five essential strategies to cultivate a customer-centric culture and elevate customer experience. Let’s dive into these strategies step by step:

A man talking on the phone

1. Understand your customer.

Creating a customer-centric culture starts with a deep understanding of your target audience. It involves thorough research and creating a detailed customer persona. When you know their pain points, preferences, and expectations, you can refine your products, services and interactions to cater precisely to them. This creates a sense of connection and trust and will enhance your customer satisfaction.

When your customers feel like your business genuinely understands what they need, it goes a long way to building a strong foundation for advocacy and loyalty. Taking this time to understand your customers shouldn’t be seen as a strategy as it isn’t. It’s a foundation that will help guide you to deliver something that truly adds value. 

A receptionist talking to a customer

2. Empower your employees.

Your employees are the ones who deal directly with your clients. So it’s essential to ensure they have the tools they need to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Give them the right training, resources and provide a supporting atmosphere. Give them the confidence and encouragement to handle customer concerns of their own, find the right solution and exceed their customer’s expectations. Why? Because when your employees feel motivated and committed, their customers sense that authenticity.  

When your team is knowledgeable and shows confidence, they’re able to solve problems faster and make your customers feel valued. There’s a positive energy that creates a ripple effect your customers can feel. And let’s face it, when your employees feel good, those good vibes rub off on your customers too.

Empowering your employees plays a big role in building the foundations of a customer-centric culture. It isn’t just about providing products or services, it’s also about creating long-lasting relationships with your customers too.

A man in blue shirt talking on the phone

3. Seamless multi-channel experience.

Options are great when it comes to customer service – be it your website, physical store, social media, live chat and so on. Regardless of how your customer contacts you, it’s crucial that their experience is consistent across each channel. 

To further enhance the service consider using technology such as a customer relationship management (CRM) system. This can track your customer’s interactions and history, meaning you can give a personalised service no matter how they reach out. 

Imagine your customer walks into your store. They’re met by a miserable face who doesn’t want to help. But then they go online and are met by someone who can’t do enough for them. It’s frustrating, right? This is why it’s important to have a seamless multi-channel experience. Another factor in this is the ability to share information, ideally through the CRM system. This means if they started the conversation online, but then later call, they’re not having to explain everything all over again. In fact, 31% of consumers say the most frustrating aspect of a poor customer experience having to repeat or provide their data multiple times.

There’s even smarter technology out there that can make for exceptional customer service. Software that remembers what your customers like and makes suggestions on what else they might like – this goes a long way to making your customers feel special and can increase your sales.

A happy receptionist wearing headphones

4. Act on customer feedback.

Surveys, reviews, live chat comments and social media are all great ways to understand what your customers are saying about you. But don’t just listen, do something about it. Find patterns and themes and use the information you gather to make improvements in everything you do. 

When customers see their ideas have helped to make a difference, they’ll like you even more. It shows you care. It makes them feel more invested in what you do, as though they’re a part of your team. They’ll feel more inclined to stick around and tell others more about you.

5. Anticipate and exceed expectations.

Think about the time you’ve been to buy a new skincare product and the shop assistant puts some extra samples in your bag. Feels great right? Feels like they’ve thought about what you’d like. They’ve gone above and beyond to make sure you leave feeling great – they’ve exceeded your expectations. Well, you can do this in your business too. 

It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or an expensive giveaway. It could be as simple as a thank you note with their order, a discount code they weren’t expecting, or even solving an issue before they’ve noticed it themselves. 

A receptionist on a video call

When customers get more than they expected, they’ll remember it and they’ll share that experience with their friends and family too. Customers tell an average of nine people about a positive experience with a brand.

The small things count. They show you care about making your customers happy. So, anticipate their needs and give them a little extra. It’ll create a bond that’s hard to break.

How to stand out and thrive with a customer-centric culture.

By understanding your customer experience journey, you’ll create a solid foundation for delivering exceptional customer experiences.  

To help build this foundation:

  • Analyse your current customer interactions.
  • Identify areas for improvement.
  • Create customer personas to better understand your audience’s needs. 
  • Empower your employees with the right training and resources. 
  • Implement tools to track and personalise multi-channel experiences. 
  • Finally, actively collect and act on customer feedback to continually refine and elevate your customer experience.

To understand and better serve your customers, remember this is an ongoing journey. And that requires dedication, consistency, and a genuine commitment.