Navigating the labyrinth of customer experience

    In the marketplace today, SMBs are faced with an ever-changing labyrinth of increasingly demanding customers, emboldened by mobile devices, always-on customer service and around-the-clock accessibility to pretty much whatever they want, writeLeigh Saunders, GM of NCR Silver UK and Western Europe.

    According to a study, SMBs attributed their growth primarily to customer retention, beating out competitive pricing and successful marketing campaigns.

    Customer retention is impossible, however, if the experience you offer is one they don’t want to repeat. And providing a memorable, well-delivered customer experience is easier said than done.

    So, how do SMBs navigate this maze successfully with a stellar customer experience, without hitting a dead end?

    Know your audience

    A multitude of obstacles face SMBs aiming to refine their customer experience and gain competitive advantages from it.

    The main pitfalls, identified by our research, include; a true understanding of what the customer wants (49%); the ability to personalise (39%); and a lack of innovation/keeping on top of trends (32%).

    Offering debit transactions is no longer enough, as consumers turn to alternative modes of payment through the likes of mobile payments.

    If you can’t offer the right payment solution, you risk missed financial opportunities and the loss of potentially loyal customers.

    In fact, abandoned purchases cost UK small businesses up to £28.5 billion[1] annually, losing out on a whopping 820 million customers a year[2].

    Whether its cashless payments like Apple Pay or bank transactions, it’s vital to have a commerce platform like NCR Silver that allows your customer to complete the transaction process, in whatever way is most convenient for them.

    Personalisation

    Offering a personalised experience can help differentiate your business in an increasingly competitive market, targeting the modern consumer that’s used to having exactly what they want, when they want it.

    Through a POS-based loyalty programme, which provides companies with a bounty of data from each customer’s purchases, SMBs can create customised promotions suited to their individual preferences and offer a personal touch.

    Say, for example, your customer is shopping for a home entertainment system. They’ve got the television, some cutting-edge speakers, and a unit to accommodate them. Your commerce platform identifies this trend and enables you to offer a customised offer: a great deal on a Blu-ray player to complete the customer’s home cinema. This consumer will feel wanted, valued, and understood and as a result, you could have made both a sale and a loyal customer.

    Investing in the future

    The struggle to innovate is a very understandable challenge for SMBs who are short on time and often, investment.

    As such, only 15% of respondents considered themselves “ahead of the curve and the competition” when it came to commerce platform technology, according to a study.

    But the digital age is here, and the time to change is now.

    An effective commerce platform is a major competitive advantage, enabling a personalised customer experience with greater understanding of the consumer, as well as a variety of payment technology options to keep you ahead.

    With a payment platform like NCR Silver as your guide, the labyrinth of customer experience won’t be such a daunting prospect after all.

    By Leigh Saunders, GM of NCR Silver UK and Western Europe.

    © Gary Morrisroe Photography

    [1] Figure based on 25% of the UK’s 5.7 million SMBs with an average loss of £20,000 a year (number of UK SMBs supplied by house of commons document briefing paper, December 2017).

    [1] Figure based on average number of monthly transactions lost by the UK’s 5.7 million SMBs (number of UK SMBs supplied by house of commons briefing paper, December 2017).  Actual figure = 68.4 million.