As a recession looms over the economy, business leaders are channeling significant energy into a strategy to recession-proof their business model. But a recession doesn’t necessarily need to equalize to a slow down in your company if a proactive strategy is implemented quickly. Investments into customer experience can help retain many customers that a company might have otherwise lost, and in many cases, they can also continue to grow their customer base.
How should one think about customer experience and how to enhance it ahead of an economic slowdown? We’ll break down a few concepts below.
Understand the Importance of Customer Experience
According to Mauricio Vianna, CEO of MJV Innovation, companies must embrace the outside-in thinking that enables leadership to look at your business from the customer’s perspective. During a recession, customers crave the convenience of a frictionless buying process and the stability of a well-established retail brand.
For retailers, this means shifting your brand communication slightly. Ordinarily, your messaging focuses on the products your customers want, but during a recession, it’s important to communicate that these are the products your customers need. This framing can increase customer loyalty and reduce the cost of acquiring new customers.
How to Evaluate Your Customer Experience
Unfortunately, it’s hard for companies to strategy since the customer journey runs through several company areas and generally lacks data integration. This reality means that company agents lack context about customers and struggle to keep up with fluid customer behavior.
Here are some simple ways to evaluate the customer experience of your retail environment:
Talk to your customers. Requesting feedback via customer surveys can give you valuable insight into the customer journey and help you better understand the needs of your target market.
Review Your Churn Rate
Your churn rate refers to the number of customers who cancel or fail to renew subscriptions in a given period. For retailers, this might mean identifying customers who are on your mailing list but haven’t engaged with your business during the recession.
Evaluate the Customer Journey
One of the best ways to think like a customer is to go through the process yourself. What steps are necessary to make a purchase? There’s often a lack of consistency in the shopping experience when comparing the online and offline process offered by most retailers. Identifying these points of friction can help you strategize ways to improve your customer experience in the future.
Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience
How can retailers improve customer experience in the present economy? Here are three basic suggestions that can help you improve customer loyalty and even attract new clients:
Create a Clear Customer Experience Vision
Start by defining what you want your customer experience to be. What adjectives do you want your customers to use when describing their experience?
This insight can help you craft a compelling vision (or a series of principles) that guides your approach to your customers. Your vision can ensure your leadership is on the same page and help train your point-of-sale employees.
Integrate Online and Offline Experiences
It’s no secret that e-commerce is rapidly eclipsing brick-and-mortar retail. You might already offer online purchasing options if you currently operate a physical store.
Retailers can improve customer experience by integrating their online and offline experiences. For example, offering an option to buy online and pick up in store can entice casual shoppers to make a purchase and visit your physical location.
Look for Ways to Connect With Locals
Modern retailers who operate multiple store locations can consider the needs of their local communities. Chances are that each store’s customers have slightly different needs, which means that you can adjust your products and messaging to uniquely satisfy each local customer base.
Usually you hear about adjusting messages for customers when expanding internationally, due to cultural differences, but the same concept rings true as you address smaller sales regions. Localizing messages and products can show customers you care enough to research what’s important to them.
A Great Return on Your Investment
You can never go wrong by focusing on your customers. Without them, your company can’t function. The more time you put into improving your customer’s experiences, the better results you’ll see as they continue investing in your business.