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13 Budget-Friendly Ways to Improve Customer Experience

Customer Experience

Question: Customer service is increasingly about customer experience. What’s one practical, inexpensive way to adapt your “service” today (e.g., better return policies, new marketing campaigns, more high-touch approaches, etc.)?

Question by: Ashley

Sincerity Is Serious Service

“When you screw up on your side or a customer has trouble with your website, admit the mistake honestly and say what you are doing to fix it. No apologies like, “I’m sorry you feel that way” — respond with, “I’m sorry you’re having trouble with our service.” People want sincerity and will give you the benefit of the doubt if you are open and real.”

- Nathan Lustig | cofounder, Entrustet

Oh, the Humanity!

“Look at the way your customers experience your company and ask yourself if you treat them like a human or an open wallet. If your emails are full of junk jargon and there’s no way to talk to a human, you need some changes. It may not be inexpensive, but compared to losing repeat sales and good will, it’s a worthwhile investment.”

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- Kelly Azevedo | Founder, She’s Got Systems

Better to Be Transparent

“One of the most important — yet overlooked — aspects of customer service is being transparent about your processes. It’s a completely inexpensive way to better connect with your customers, especially when things are not working ideally. Consider publishing your customer service policy publicly, or regularly communicating with a customer as they’re going through the service process.”

- Doreen Bloch | CEO / Founder, Poshly Inc.

Try On Zappos for Size

“Take the Zappos approach. Make customer service your number one priority and prove that to your customers. Start by responding to every customer on Twitter and Facebook to increase engagement and keep them happy.”

- Ben Lang | Founder, EpicLaunch

Makeshift Account Executives

“When a company is dealing with big companies, there’s always an account executive on hand to smooth wrinkles in the process and customize the experience as much as possible. You may not have the resources to go quite so far for your customers, but assign one person to stick with a customer to the extent possible. Create a friendly, well-known point of contact for every customer.”

- Thursday Bram | Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting

Follow the Golden Rule

“Whether you are making a customer service policy, training a customer service representative or interacting with a customer, keep one thing in mind: how you would like to be treated as the customer. Formulate policies in a way you would accept and understand. Let reps help each individual by finding the best way for that particular situation. Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

- Vanessa Nornberg | President, Metal Mafia

Can You Communicate Too Much?

“When in doubt, over-communicate with your customers. The last thing in the world your customer wants — especially if you’re in the service business — is to feel like they’re just a number or less important than your other or bigger customers. Treat every customer as if they are your biggest, and keep in touch with them throughout the process, whether things are going well or otherwise.”

- Justin Beegel | Founder, Infographic World, Inc.

The Friendly Followup

“Simply calling and saying, “Hello, we just wanted to call to see if you were still happy with your service you had with us,” has not only helped our company prevent bad reviews online, but also helped the customers feel extra special. Our employees have been trained to call back clients for a friendly followup within 24 hours to make sure that there are no fires to put out.”

- Nancy T. Nguyen | President & CEO, YMH, Inc.

Where’s the WOW Factor?

“If you can make the client say “Wow” at every touch point, you’ll make that client a brand lover. Creating brand lovers is worth every penny you spend to do it. One of our “Wow factors” is a handwritten thank you card that we mail to each client after providing a service. Think outside the box and give the clients what they want but don’t expect.”

- Nick Friedman | President, College Hunks Hauling Junk

Give the Gift

“Send your customers gifts that show them that you know them and appreciate them. The gifts don’t have to be expensive, but will still make a lasting impression in your customers’ minds. “

- Brent Beshore | Owner/CEO, AdVentures

Make It Your DNA

“Make great customer service a part of your company DNA and culture. Let every employee at every level feel like they are contributing to making customers feeling great. If every employee is working towards great customer service, it will show.”

- Tim Jahn | Co-Founder, matchist

Become a Customer!

“Try your service but with an outsider’s perspective. Once you are on your website, ask yourself: Is ordering simple? Is finding customer support easy? Emulate the problems your customers will likely come across and observe every step of the process. Doing this objectively will give you a good idea of what your customer’s experience is like and what needs to be improved.”

- Christian Springub | CEO and co-founder, Jimdo

Align Customer Experience With Positioning Strategy

“Customer service is the first line of marketing; they have the most contact with customers. A company must have a defined positioning strategy that customer service not only understands but also lives and breathes. Customers will be treated your way and will also spread your message.”

- David Gardner | Co-Founder, ColorJar

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

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