Customer experience: a discussion worth having

Customer serviceFor a business to successfully grow and distinguish itself in any competitive marketplace, it must focus on offering superior customer experience.

Customer experience is a subject that has always piqued our interest.

According to, companies across the UK that fail to provide good customer experience could loss out astronomical £100 billion in revenues in coming years. With the rise of new technology and increased competition, many management gurus also argue that it is becoming more vital for businesses to provide a positive customer experience to help build brand loyalty. But how should one do it? We think this point is worth discussing.

At Berley, we are small business accountants and business growth specialists working with entrepreneurs across London. As chartered accountants, we are guided by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales or ICAEW’s Code of Ethics which sets out five fundamental principles:

  • Integrity
  • Objectivity
  • Professional competence and due care
  • Confidentiality
  • Professional behaviour

Working with business owners and resolving their financial and company issues are tasks that involve a high level of due care and personal interactions. There are skill and behavioural standards which our customers would expect from us and we duly deliver – in fact, we strive to exceed expectations.

Perhaps in more ways than one, our professionalism has helped us to retain customers and build loyalty. But if you are a retailer in London or run an online business, what can you do to deliver outstanding customer experience that will help build loyalty? Also, do you need to apply different methods to create an outstanding customer experience in physical and digital worlds respectively? These questions deserve a closer look, so let us go on a journey to discuss and learn together.

The importance of customer experience

Let’s kick-start the conversation by asking why we, and every company we know, want to deliver outstanding customer experience. The reasons are:

  • We know that it costs money and effort to acquire new customers. So once they become our customers, we want to retain them.
  • We want customers to advocate for us – tell their friends, mention us in their social media posts, refer other customers to us.
  • We want to be better than our competitors. As competing on price alone will not get us very far, providing outstanding customer experience is one of the few value-adds that we can offer without costing us a significant amount of money.
  • All the above reasons will contribute to profitable growth, the objective of many businesses.

Suffice to say, creating outstanding customer experience is a vital part of any business strategy.

Can you give a perfect experience that maximises satisfaction?

Customer experience, broadly speaking, is about how one sums up their experience with your business, your products/services, and your brands. It is also highly personal – what works for one may not work for the others. For examples:

  • In a brick and mortar shop: customer A likes to be greeted warmly and with staff standing in close proximity ready to assist, while customer B prefers to be left alone while browsing in-store.
  • Online: customer C values your follow-up email once they have made a purchase online, while customer D considers the email spam.

We believe that it is almost impossible to understand every single customer (especially if you are in retail) and render a highly personal and perfect experience to maximise satisfaction every time. However, we would like to think that there are a couple of common principles which we all can apply to help gain happier customers and build brand loyalty.

Creating an emotional connection

We humans have emotions and we use them to help us make decisions consciously and unconsciously. Marketing executives know this, which is why they design advertisements that make us smile, tap into our fear, provoke us, trigger a sense of belonging, just to name but a few.

Naturally, many companies learn the trick and now look to connect with their customers emotionally. In your brick and mortar store, for instance, you may train your staff to say something positive when interacting with customers, use humour and draw some kind of personal connection.

In the digital world, you can use content to tell stories and connect, publish testimonials to create trust, keep the purchasing journey straightforward and reduce risks (like offering money-back guarantee) to evoke a sense of comfort and trust, delight your customers with suggestions or small offers, excite your customers with contests, so on and so forth.

The key takeaway is that what you provide may not need to be a highly memorable experience, but it needs to be genuine and positive.

Using Artificial Intelligence to deliver a better experience

It seems oxymoronic that we jump right into Artificial Intelligence the moment we finished talking emotional connection but hear us out – we are not suggesting replacing human with robots, instead, this is about using AI to enhance one’s online experience. For examples:

  • Using AI to guide your customers when they navigate online, or
  • Using AI to reduce customer frustration by responding quickly to your customers when complaints arise online.

Making use of technology is a sensible approach because technology is available 24×7, it can engage with multiple customers at once, it can provide quick and measured responses, and above all, it can help sort out customers and let your staff handle more complex matters.

It is said that AI will slowly creep into brick-and-mortar retail shops too. Customer service experts predict that AI will soon help staff with enquiries, recommend options and handle dynamic pricing in store. The sky is the limit here.

Multidisciplinary approach

Using a multidisciplinary approach to deliver customer experience is a phrase that many of us hear often – but what does it really mean? It turns out it means different things to different people, and it can encompass sophisticated data science to timeless practice like making sure that your employees have the right skills.

As there is no silver bullet that will make better relationships between brands and customers overnight, it makes sense to do things from your heart, build and nourish a customer-centric culture and keep discovering.

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This post is intended to provide information of general interest about current business/ accounting issues. It should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances.