Customer service across many different industries is waning as businesses struggle to fill vacancies, employees work longer and harder while trying to keep their heads above the water. But while companies are treading water, customers become caught in the fray. And while the world is still reeling from a pandemic overdose, the need to confront the customer experience issue could not be more apparent than it is right now.
Employee dissatisfaction and mental health is overflowing into how businesses are treating customers. The result is that many customers have lost faith that a company can deliver on the products and services they’ve come to expect. Nearly half of all US customers say brands fall short of their expectations (Acquia). Keeping a customer happy costs less than acquiring a new one, so why not take the time to invest in your customer experience?
And while small businesses are faring better than large ones, many aren’t doing enough to build and retain trust. And 81% of consumers said they “must be able to trust the brand to do what is right” before they decide to buy it. It comes down to being honest, consistent, and transparent. We’ll drill down a bit as to what this means below.
Honesty in Marketing
Whether your business is a restaurant, shoe store, or healthcare organization, you should never make a claim that you cannot back up. If you want to say you’re the best at something, you better be able to prove it.
But honesty in marketing is also about setting accurate expectations. If you provide a guarantee or commitment, stand behind it. There’s no denying that delays happen, but be upfront about it and offer a solution that makes amends when they do.
Consistency in Marketing
There are many ways to be consistent in marketing, such as brand messaging and product and service quality. The experience a customer has with your business should be consistent and reliable. When quality starts to suffer or the experience changes negatively, your business risks losing loyal customers.
As for branding, consistency in branding is important for recognition and marketing efficacy. When a customer knows your brand is coming across their feed or email, they may be more likely to read the message rather than pass the content by.
Transparency in Marketing
Have you ever gotten a deal – or thought you had a deal, and then when you got around to making that purchase, you realize it was a trick? Perhaps the deal was spread out over an extended period of time – so that $100 you thought you were going to save was actually on $10 per transaction?
Consumers have long disdained “gotcha” marketing. But today, it seems more and more businesses are using it to attract new customers. Avoid doing this. Be transparent, be reliable, and be dependable. Build trust with existing and new customers by focusing on ensuring their experience is stellar over advertising a coupon that may only attract discount shoppers who will never be loyal to your brand.
Empathy in Marketing
One final tip, use empathy whenever possible. When a customer is brave enough to share their concerns, use empathetic listening. Sometimes they need to feel heard. And it is much better to address concerns privately than on a public forum such as Google or Facebook. Customers expect their chosen businesses and healthcare providers to deliver good customer service. In fact, 69% of US consumers say customer service is very important when it comes to their loyalty to a brand. (Microsoft). Look at feedback as an opportunity to help your business make positive changes for the better. Help your customer feel like their opinion matters and tell them what you are going to do to prevent another incident from happening in the future.
Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Take care of them and they will take care of keeping your business doors open.