How customer experience impacts business growth

women shaking hands with man who are both smiling

Do happy customers create profitable growth? This question was examined at a Sunrise Session hosted by the Marketing Association and presented by Customer Radar, which members of the REINZ marketing team recently attended.

In real estate, where relationships are key to success, a great customer experience is imperative to strengthen customer satisfaction and retention levels. Each stage of a customer’s journey should be streamlined, engaging and even personalised - whether a customer is visiting a website, receiving support or advice, reading email communications, attending an open home or a branded event, viewing marketing material or interacting with staff.

Here is a snapshot of some of the key steps to improving customer experience:

Capture data

Firstly, you need to understand what your customers actually think and feel about your brand. When you have your own data, you can use it to do more of what your customers like, and less of what your customers don’t like. Mat Wylie from Customer Radar said “25% of a brand’s customer base are open to going to a competitor”. Find out what your 25% is in your data because that’s where growth and potential market share sit.

Ask for feedback

Feedback is gold. Use feedback to shape your services and products. Customers love telling you what they want. Understanding what’s important to your customers will ensure that you find out what your customer is looking for, and what their preferences are. Your business can then integrate any findings into every touchpoint in a customer’s journey. There are many ways to ask for feedback and pros and cons for each, so do some research on which methods would be most valuable to your business. Some examples are customer satisfaction surveys, mystery open home attendees, real-time feedback and social media. Social media is one of the most prominent forms of customer feedback – it’s affordable and easily accessible, but it can often be unbalanced or inaccurate. Most importantly, once its posted it’s live for all to see.

Drive accountability through your business

It’s not just customers who have journeys, employees do as well. You can’t ask employees to behave in a way that they don’t believe in. If a brand makes a promise but at the end point a customer is greeted by someone who isn’t responsive or welcoming, all that hard work was for nothing. Empower your team to own the customer experience by providing the right tools, insights and training they need to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Build trust

Data collected from your customers provides powerful insights into what the customer really wants and needs, so use it and celebrate it to build trust with your customers. Not only will customers be more likely to do business with brands they trust, they will be willing to pay more for a great experience. By 2020, customer experience is expected to surpass price and product as a key differentiator for customers. Customers will trust brands based on their overall experience and once the trust is formed, they are more than likely to become loyal customers.

Create raving fans

Organisations need to deliver on what they promise – either way, customers won’t hold back on telling the world about their experiences, especially online. Online reviews are becoming more trusted and impact purchasing decisions. Typically, negative reviews tend to drive customers away, but negative feedback also provides insight into how your business can improve and enables your business to action any issues right away. Really listening to your customers and using the feedback that they give, will help improve customer experience and sends a message to your customers showing them that their opinion matters. Showing customers that their opinions are valuable can turn a bad experience into a good one, creating a raving fan.

How do you make your customers feel? If you get it right, it can be the reason you succeed. Remember, customer experience is part of a journey, there is no finish line. There is always opportunity for growth, you just need to be better than your competitors.