5 Tips for Improving the Customer Experience

Woman Shopping Online from Home

Your customers are important to you.

You work hard every day to do what you can to make them happy, and you’re willing to try new things to see how they respond.

With ever-increasing competition for business, especially online, it’s important that businesses work hard to create a great experience for every customer, every time. For some businesses, this can mean new and expensive bells and whistles.

However, taking it back to basics and focusing on creating a great customer experience will do much more – and be less expensive – than reinventing the wheel.

Here are 5 tips for improving the customer experience to help your business thrive:

Improve Your Website

Modern business is transacted largely online, even if you’ve got a storefront that people visit. 

Customers check your website to find your address, your phone number, your hours, and what products and services you offer.

Even if your customers aren’t buying directly from your website, take some time to evaluate how easy your website is to use and navigate. Can customers quickly find your phone number and customer support email address in case they have questions or concerns? Are your hours of operation up-to-date and located where people can find them?

Once you’ve taken care of these basics, make sure that your website clearly states and shows what type of business you are. Use pictures, individual pages with descriptions, or even videos so customers know as much as possible about your business before they set foot in your doors.

Customers today spend lots of time researching businesses before they buy, so be sure that your customers can get as much information about you as possible, decreasing frustration.

Listen to Feedback & Use It

If you’re never talking to the people who patronize your business, you’ll never truly know if what you’re doing is working.

Actively seek out customer feedback by requesting reviews on social media or other online platforms, or conducting occasional surveys. Don’t just ask for feedback about what you’re doing right; look for feedback about what you can do better and learn from it. Even happy customers, when asked, can come up with something that could be improved.

Have a process for analyzing all customer feedback received, whether its some you’ve actively sought out yourselves or it came in unprompted through phone calls or in-person conversations. 

Look carefully at patterns in this feedback. If you see suggestions or complaints that are similar in nature, that means multiple customers are noticing the problems.

Pay attention to these and work on a plan to correct them. Getting feedback is only worthwhile if you actually do something with the information you receive. 

And your customers will notice the changes and see that you take customer feedback seriously. That can lead to great word of mouth recommendations and repeat business.

Train Your Agents

The people who answer your phones are on the front lines of creating a great customer experience.

If they’re pleasant, helpful, and knowledgeable, your customers will notice that and respond positively, even when they’re experiencing frustrations. If the people who answer your phones are rude and unhelpful, or always have to transfer calls, it’s going to further frustrate already upset customers.

Take some time to properly train anyone who deals with customers, from the cashiers down to the person who might happen to answer the phone on a busy day, in the way you want them to respond.

Begin with properly answering the phones and include information such as how to properly respond to an angry customer, when to transfer to a manager, and just how much authority they have to offer refunds or discounts.

In addition, make sure you have a central repository of information about your products and services that anyone can access. This could be an employee manual or a central digital file; wherever it’s located, you want your employees to be able to quickly find information.

This cuts down on the number of times they have to say “I don’t know” or “I’ll transfer you to someone who can answer that question,” giving the customer the impression that everyone who works for you is well-trained and invested in the success of your business.

Surprise Them

Sometimes, small surprises can go a long way toward customer happiness.

Rather than offering a widespread discount, create a policy to tuck in a free gift or discount code with every few orders. Make sure that whatever they receive in their package clearly states that they’re receiving a special surprise for loyal customers.

This will create positive buzz surrounding your gift, and the customers who receive that will share about it with their friends.

Proactively Respond

Don’t wait for problems to become big before you create a plan to deal with them. Keep your ear to the ground and respond to potential problems before they become big deals.

If, for example, you begin noticing a certain product line being returned for small defects, pull the whole line, inspect individual products, and make any adjustments necessary. Your customers may find it a minor nuisance that a product is unavailable for a while, but it will be less problematic than keeping the line on the shelves and having everyone receive defective products.

The same goes for any other issue you could run into, such as employee complaints, shipping problems, or social media snafus. Get in front of the problem as quickly as you can to decrease the possible damage to your customer reputation.

Experienced Logistics & Shipping on the East Coast

At Cannon Hill Logistics, we work hard to make your business better. From help with processing orders to full-scale warehousing and shipping assistance, our experienced team has what it takes to move your business to the next level. Contact us today to discuss your custom logistics solution! info@cannonhill.net

4 Tips for Improving the Shipper/3PL Relationship

Handshake Closeup

The relationship between shippers and third-party logistics companies is an important one. 

The shipper relies on the 3PL to get its goods to warehouses and into the hands of customers in a timely manner and in great condition, while maintaining favorable profit margins. The 3PL relies on the shipper for a steady stream of reliable business.

Sometimes, miscommunication and misunderstandings can lead to conflicts that erode the relationship between shippers and 3PLs. 

To keep your business running smoothly, here are 4 tips for improving your relationship with your 3PL:

Set Expectations

Starting your relationship with your 3PL off on the right foot is essential to maintaining a solid relationship moving forward. 

One of the biggest problems that can arise between shippers and 3PLs is a misunderstanding of the expectations. Whether that means that something out-of-scope is requested or one side isn’t completely sure what the contract states, these difficulties can be warded off by careful review and understanding of the contract.

When you begin negotiating with a 3PL, be sure to carefully look over the contract you’re given. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand, and look for items that may be missing. 

For example, if you ask for something out-of-scope of the contract and the 3PL agrees, does your contract clearly specify how much you will be charged for that request, or how you will be notified of the charges?

If necessary, have your contract looked over by an attorney familiar with business contracts to ensure all the important items are covered and that you get all your questions answered.

Communicate Effectively

Just as in personal relationships, good communication is key to a successful business relationship.

There may be times when your dealings with your 3PL may be frustrating, such as when a deadline is missed or when a shipment is damaged. However, it will help nothing if you call up your 3PL and let loose with yelling and screaming.

Instead, take some time to calm down and think rationally about the problem before you make a phone call. Where did things go wrong, and what could be done to improve the situation in the future?

If you approach your 3PL in the spirit of looking at ways to make improvements and prevent further issues from happening, your feedback will be better received and your working relationship will remain intact.

Understand the Business

Even though you work closely with 3PLs in your business doesn’t mean you understand their business fully, and vice versa.

Take some time to talk with your 3PL provider about the integral steps and needs in their business, or research 3PLs on your own. Your 3PL provider will be grateful that you’ve taken the initiative to try to understand all the problems that stand in their way.

While getting a product from one side of the country to the other in two days’ time may seem easy to you, issues such as driver shortages, weather conditions, and road work may make the job more challenging for your 3PL.

Knowing and understanding the unique needs your 3PL has and the challenges their business model presents can help you be more compassionate when problems arise.

Provide Feedback

Rather than waiting until an issue arises to contact your 3PL, take some time every so often to provide positive feedback on your experience.

If a shipment arrived ahead of schedule, or you got great feedback from a customer, pass that along to your 3PL provider.

Taking time for these little moments of offering feedback helps ensure that your working relationship with your 3PL is built on a mutual desire to do great work, building a positive foundation for the rest of your contract.

Think about it: You love hearing all the great reviews on your product from your customers, and your 3PL enjoys the same positive feedback!

Customized Warehousing & Shipping on the East Coast

For more than 35 years, the team at Cannon Hill Logistics has provided exceptional, individualized third-party logistics solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses all over the world.

Whether you just want someone to handle your off-site warehousing needs or you need a firm to handle the entire process of getting your items into your customers’ hands, Cannon Hill Logistics has the team and talent necessary to make that happen. 

We pride ourselves on designing customized solutions to meet the unique needs of each of our clients. Call today to get started! 800-822-4747