Customer experience: What impression are you leaving?

Image for Customer Experience: What Impression Are You Leaving PostIf you own a small retail business, you may have an entirely different impression of it than the customers coming in your door. An article from Optometry Today points out that businesses need to take a look at both the physical appearance of their offices as well as the communications between the customer and its employees.

After a mystery shopping program, researchers learned that 67 percent of customers make the decision to buy based on their experience with the business, not necessarily based on price. However, disturbing data uncovered during the mystery shops was that while 80 percent of shop owners felt they were presenting their business well, only 8 percent of customers felt that way. Some key findings that affected the customer experience:

  1. Only 32 percent of staff used their own name over the telephone and 22 percent used the caller’s name. (Using names is important for relationship-building.)
  2. Only 28 percent of staff asked the patient how they had heard about the practice, thereby missing an opportunity to learn whether marketing efforts were effective.
  3. Only 35 percent of receptionists had a conversation with customers, while 61 percent managed to use the customer’s name.
  4. Only 38 percent of every one on the staff wore name badges, but studies show that conversion (sales) rates ran 12 percent higher in businesses where everyone did.
  5. At several offices, the staff members’ cars were parked in front of the office, leaving customers to park a distance away; other offices had construction cones in front of their entrances or piles of leaves along the sidewalk.
  6. Some offices had brochures stacked around or boxes under tables visible to customers, leaving poor impressions of the business’ tidiness.

Though geared toward optometrist practices, the examples here could be applied to any small store or bank that aims to gain customer loyalty and provide a quality customer experience.

Think of providing service to your favorite aunt, this author writes. What would SHE think of the place when coming in your door?