CX can be your Competitive Edge

Managing all the parts in a fast-growing business like CBD can be a real challenge. Focusing on your CX – Customer Experience can be your competitive differentiator.  Why? Less than half of all businesses deliver a good or better customer experience. If you focus on CX, you’ll have happier, more loyal customers and faster growth.

There are two key pillars of CX and they are dependent on each other to make a positive customer experience. They are UX – user experience and CS – customer service.

Amazing Customer experience story…

Recently, I accompanied my husband to a home improvement store in search of some bolts for a project he was working on. It’s mom and pop success story called Jerry’s Home Improvement that while privately held, now allows employees to become shareholders.

When we walked in the door we were greeted, as always, by a friendly Jerry’s team member who offered to direct us.

A large display sat just ahead. It promoted the holidays backed by a large Christmas tree with discounted decorations adorning its branches.  Talk about interactive. And they were all themed items to connect with the shopper’s unique interests.  

As we made our way to the hardware, I noticed aisle, after long aisle, of very transactional goods. Designed specifically for people who knew what they wanted and were headed there.

But as my husband sorted through the bolts, I got to looking around. They used the areas too high to be of use to shoppers to create inspirational idea displays. What you might make a room look like, a floor or a window.

In the kitchen department, there were certainly rows of shelving with every imaginable type of faucet, sink, lighting and more…there were also glimpses of what your future kitchen might look like in mini-displays.

People plus marketing…

Jerry’s staff makes you believe they care about you. They approach you, they guide you and they know their products. If you don’t know what you need…they’ll do their best to help you figure it out.

They support their two stores with billboards and other marketing showing family values…dogs trying to help you paint, or creating problems you’d “better head for Jerry’s” to get solved. And they have been doing it now for 58 years.

Talk to locals and they’ll tell you it “feels different” than the standard big box home stores.

Yes, they have CX down pat.  Great user experience and great customer service.

In many ways, it’s easier to do this in a physical store where you can have displays. It’s been being done for over 100 years.  But there are several ways you can make it happen with your eCommerce store.

Customer experience needs UX

Creating a great user experience starts with really knowing your customers.  Don’t start with your business website design!  Reverse engineer it.  Start with your idea or mission statement.

In the world of CBD that might mean you love what hemp will do. Or maybe you had a personal experience that made you a believer in it. Now, you want to help others.

First, you need to identify clearly who those others are.

Then you need to get to know them as well as you know a parent who could benefit from CBD… You might be thinking your customers are different. Okay, create a detailed persona for each different type of customer. 

What do they know? How much help and what type do they need? How do they like to shop? You can use this information to build your web presence to cater to them. 

Sound too complicated? Then start with creating an easy to navigate supportive simple site that will help the most “amateur” level of customer.

Provide them the science, the education, the FAQ, the success stories – inspiration that this can help them.  You want them to feel, “yes, this might help me.” 

What support will amateur buyers need on their shopping journey?

Will they need to talk with someone to get questions answered? Would videos about how your products are grown, handled, developed, tested be beneficial?

Is it clear how easy you are to shop with – warrantee and web security?

Do you offer evidence on the purity and accuracy of your product and labeling?

How do they get additional information?

How can they reach you? 

Keep in mind UX is based on ease, simplicity and positive experience they have on your website.

Customer Experience also needs Customer Service

Your customer service is joined at the hip with your user experience. They work as a team to be successful.

As shopping online has exploded so has the demand for better customer service.  Because CBD companies are experiencing such rapid growth…this must be planned in advance.

It needs to be proactive and well planned. Everyone must buy into it and be involved from the top down.  Keep in mind 80% of all business owners think they offer a great experience for their customers. Only 8% of customers agree.

Customer service is about emotions

Customer service is defined as a one on one interaction between a customer and a representative of the company. Ever encountered a never-ending “phone-tree”? Had to sit for long waits on hold? Dealt with grumpy customer service?

We can all think of examples of unhappy customer service experiences. Use them to make sure your customers don’t have that happen.

Think about how they will “feel” interacting with your team.  Customer service really needs to be about making that customer happy and feel good about doing business with you. – that you care about them.

What if they are in pain or can’t sleep and the only way to reach you is to send an email to get questions answered… then they have to wait 3-5 days for a response.

I had a response that I received over a MONTH from when I submitted the question.  Too late for them. I had gone elsewhere because I felt that was the way they would always treat me.

Slow response times are a sure way to lose customers and develop a bad reputation. 

Give your customer service team some latitude to take care of customer needs.  We all have to have rules and policies…just make sure they don’t get in the way of growing your business.

Customer experience when working with my clients…

I focus on over-delivering. Don’t set your bar too low, but it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver.

I recently read a story about a Zappos customer who didn’t get her item returned within the required window due to a death in the family.  When she reached out to customer service, the happily make the necessary extension for her and got the shoes returned. But they didn’t stop there…when she returned home she received a small bouquet of flowers with condolences from Zappos.

That is great customer service.

So with my clients, we examine how user experience plus customer service are stacking up. We look for ways to improve the total customer experience with reverse engineering.