improve customer experience on a budget

7 Ways To Improve Customer Experience On A $0 Budget

Creating an awesome customer experience doesn’t have to something big, technical, or expensive. As we all know, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference.

So I want to share with you 7 ways you can improve customer experience to optimise and grow your business without spending a dollar!

1. Deliver on time

Nothing makes a client smile and appreciate you more than delivering what you promised on time.

Why? Because it saves them admin time chasing you up, the headache of awkward conversations, and helps them stick to their plans in their business.

I mean, don’t you just love it when you order something and it arrives earlier than expected?! It’s an unexpected delight and gives you that *yay* moment. I know whenever this happens for me, that little burst of excitement makes me want to share my new arrival on social media (hello free referral advertising!). 

On the flip side, when something arrives late. . . I’m like, “Oh, look. It’s fiiiiinally here..” and not inclined to promote or share the business that sent the goods. And even less inclined to buy from them again.

As you can see, delivering on time to your customer gives you a happy customer, possible referrals, and potential for repeat purchases. And the cost to you to get all this goodness for your business is $0.

All you need to do it organise yourself and your systems. That’s it!

Example:

During client onboarding, determine clear expectations with the client on expected delivery timeframes. This gives you a plan to work to, and the client peace of mind that they aren’t paying a deposit and then wondering what happens next. Outlining delivery timeframes avoids this buyer’s remorse as they know what to expect and when.

If you have a product-based business, clearly display delivery timeframes at checkout as well as in confirmation emails, so that the customer knows when to expect their order.

If unexpected delays occur, keep your customer in the loop proactively.  Sure, they may be disappointed or frustrated when they receive a delay notification. But if you say nothing at all, it’s guaranteed that your customer is going to be angry, post a poor review, and not shop with you again.

Bottom line – communicate clearly and ensure you have the processes in place to deliver what you promised on time.

2. keep your branding consistent

Improving customer experience is essentially removing as many buyer hurdles as possible and making their interactions with you or your company smooth and trouble-free. During the pre-purchase stage, when a customer is assessing your business for suitability, solid branding is critical to improving their experience.

Inconsistent branding increases buyer doubt, lowers brand trust, is distracting, and in-turn increases time and touchpoints to conversion.

Whereas consistent branding builds trust, authority, recognition, referrals, and increases conversion.

Cost to you to keep your branding consistent? $0. 

Even if you aren’t a designer, all you have to do is keep your marketing and design consistent. Pick 2 fonts, 2 colours, and a theme, and stick to them! Or ask a designer to create some banner, social media and promo templates for you in Canva so that you can edit them going forward all while keeping your marketing consistent.

3. Add personal touches to invoice emails

Whether you use Wave, Quickbooks, Xero, Dubsado, Plutio, Bonsai, Shopify, Katra, Teachable, Woocommerce or any other platform to send your invoices, look at the default settings available to you and add your personal touch there. Alternatively, add your personal touch manually if you don’t use an app for invoicing.

Adding your branding in the form of colours and your logo is the first and simplest thing you can do. Most invoicing apps also offer a space to add a custom message on the invoice itself and a custom default message that gets sent as the main email to the client.

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Simple ways to add a personal touch to your invoice emails include:

  • Say thank you on the invoice
  • Add your branding (as described above)
  • Include a personally written email with your invoice that mentions their project or something you’ve enjoyed delivering for the client
  • Personalise the auto email signature to include your photo or personal email signature (rather than generic)

These customisations turn an automated “cold” B2B or B2C process into a warm “human to human” process. The above approach can be customised for both service-based and product-based businesses.

Cost to you to add a personal touch to your invoices and invoice emails? $0.

4. Schedule or automate follow up emails after projects, programs, or courses are complete

I recently spoke to Kate Doster about this exact thing on the Inbox Besties Podcast. With many of our clients and colleagues operating and marketing solely in the digital space, I’ve noticed that optimising customer experience often gets forgotten in development and delivery plans.

For offline businesses, improving customer experience is a high priority. Offline businesses focus on having clear signage, an inviting entry, an enjoyable atmosphere, easy to navigate layout, comfortable seating, music or tv playing, food or drink available, a friendly receptionist, amenities, cleanliness, branded decor, suitable lighting. . . and the list goes on.

All of this is to ensure that when customers see their place of business or walk inside, they enjoy their experience with that business before, during, and after the transaction takes place.

By contrast, In the digital space most people create things:

  • for themselves rather than their customer
  • just to tick the box and have it available
  • with clunky cheap apps #becausebudget

Or a combination of all three.

The problem with this is that the customer experience is not considered in this process.

Example: An Online course

You spend months planning out the content for your course, developing it on an app, writing a sales page and ads to sell the course, automate emails or integrate systems to get people into the course. . .but you forget to think about simple things like:

  1. Do my clients need ALL of the stuff in this course? Will it be overwhelming? Will they need extra support, and if so what kind of support would they need?
  2. Are my clients tech-literate enough to use the course platform I’ve selected? If not, how can I make it easier to teach them to use it or what platform are they familiar with using instead?
  3. Is the marketing, sales page, and end product branded consistently?
  4. Do I have adequate onboarding and offboarding to the course that makes the client feel valued and like they know what to do next?
  5. Is the process from ad > sales page > checkout > getting started simple to follow? How can this be improved? How can I add a WOW factor?
  6. Do I have reminder emails or follow up emails in place to check-in with the customer during and after the course?
  7. Is it easy for the customer to find what they need? How can I make it easier?
  8. How can I improve the experience of the course so that the client gets the most out of it?
  9. Can the customer easily contact you or your support team if there’s a question or glitch?
  10. Is the course content easy to navigate to a newbie?
  11. Are there measures in place to check-in with people who didn’t convert during this launch to ask for feedback on why they didn’t buy?
  12. How can I make every touchpoint during launch and during the program easier for the customer?
  13. What can be done to improve this course to get better results for the clients?

The easiest action for any product or service you sell is to schedule manual follow up(s) or automate a follow-up email.

EXAMPLE: A COACHING OR PROJECT PACKAGE

Let’s say a customer buys a coaching or project package with you. After the package concludes, you can send an offboarding email and then schedule a check-in on your calendar for 3, 6, and 12 months down the line to follow up on the client’s progress.

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These moments of connection show that you care about their long-term success long after the sale. It also often results in an open door for repeat business and referrals.

When a customer buys a product or e-course, schedule an automated email to invite the customer to review the item online, ask for feedback, or say, “Hey you loved X, we’re now offering Y and thought you might be interested.”

This simple action is just like checking in on a friend by sending a text to say, “Hey, how’s things?” It’s nice. It makes the other person feel valued and special. Do the same for your customers. After all, they’ve invested their time, energy and money with you.

And this simple follow-up exercise costs $0 to action.

5. PROVIDE easy ways to contact you

Each hurdle a client has to jump through to find you, contact you, or book in with you equals another chance that your potential client doesn’t follow through and doesn’t convert.

Further to this, if a client has already invested with you (e.g. signed up for your program), and they have a question but can’t find your contact details aaaaanywhere. . .or even worse, their emails go to a generic inbox that no one checks. . . this is when buyer remorse kicks in and refund requests increase. Not to mention that it will now be harder for you to win the customer back to the positive side of the fence. In this case, you’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and money into acquiring a contact for them to just disappear.

Even if you’re living the laptop lifestyle, or have all your kids at home, you can still offer easy ways for clients to contact you – and get a response! – without putting yourself out.

$0 cost ways to offer easy ways to contact you include: 
  • have a contact page on your website with a form (that actually works!) or your email address visible
  • include a reply-to email address on email marketing and invoices
  • have PM/DM options switched on on your social media profiles
  • include your email address or contact page URL on your LinkedIn profile bio
  • have a pop-up messenger app on your website or course platform
  • notify your students/participants of your dedicated “office hours” or support times/days
  • detail your best contact methods in your client contract
  • have a Contact link at the bottom of your Sales Page / Opt-in page
  • include your best contact avenues in your email signature.

Did you know that even just seeing that you have readily available contact information can nudge a potential client closer to conversion?!

I have met a number of entrepreneurs in my time who DON’T display contact details because they “don’t want to be bugged by time wasters/people who aren’t ideal clients.” Or, “they only get access to me once they sign-up/pay.”

Personally I’m a strong believer that you are in business to be of service and these actions are not in alignment with that. Sure, by doing this you might reduce your admin time, but your advertising spend will be higher as your trust and conversion rate will be lower!

Seeing your contact details readily available gives the customer a sense of security about where they are spending their money. Having your contact details or messenger app available on your sales page is also a PERFECT way to get fence-sitters to convert during a launch. Readily available contact details are great for those quick or “is this right for me?” questions that get buyers over the line.

Offer Quick Discovery Calls to Fence-Sitters

This year, I’ve also seen a number of clients complete successful multi-6-figure launches just by offering quick discovery calls to fence-sitters. The conversion rate was outstanding.

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Why? Because the customers felt special that the business owner was making time in their busy schedule just for them; time to hear their story, learn more about them, and also to share how the business owner can specifically help that person achieve one of their goals.

Yes, it took time for the business owner. But the conversions that wouldn’t have happened more than paid for it! AND the word of mouth referrals that came from that exercise added to the incredible success of the launches.

Even if customers don’t buy, having customer service available to answer their questions readily and adequately improves the likelihood of recommendation to others. So it’s honestly a win-win situation to have your contact details easily available to your customers!

In summary, if you make it hard to find you and contact you, you lose sales. Make it easy, be of service, and you’ll improve customer experience. And your business will grow!

Cost to you to be easy to contact? $0.

6. Ask customers for their preferred method of contact

This is a great one for service-based freelancers. It’s worked beautifully in my business so I thought I’d share it with you.

On my proposals or during onboarding, I outline the ways in which I like to receive work-related communications and I invite the client to nominate their preferred method of contact as well.

Some prefer email, some phone, some Facebook messenger, or Slack or Voxer or project management app (and the list goes on).  I already have a number of communication channels available so I just ask the client how they would like to communicate within those options.  This helps our relationship flow smoothly from day one.

I also ask project and launch clients, “What’s the best way to contact you for quick/urgent questions?” I ask this question because I know that my clients are very busy people. Half the time they are travelling and may only check their inbox once a day.  I need to know the best way to get hold of them if a decision is required quickly so it doesn’t hold up the project up so I can deliver on time (see item 1 above).

When I get the response, I add a note to the client’s file in our project management app for reference.

This simple question at the beginning of a client relationship improves the customer experience because the client’s preferences are being met and you’re making it easier for the client to do business with you.

And it literally costs you $0 to improve the customer experience in this way.

7. Consider how you can make something easier for your client

When I approach the setup of apps, marketing plans, programs or new websites, I first consider how I can make this part of the process easy and delightful for the customer. I then work backwards from there to add personalised touches, streamline processes, and improve delivery where possible.

It doesn’t matter what systems you use to market or deliver. You can do all of these things.

Do you want more:

  • conversions?
  • referrals?
  • repeat business?
  • success for your clients?

Review how you can make things easier and you’ll win the hearts of many a customer.

Cost to do this planning yourself? $0. And as you can see from the tips I’ve shared here in this article, there are plenty of optimisations and improvements you can make quickly and easily without spending anything!

Get started for free!

Get our Free Customer Experience Assessment Kit to review your business operations and external perceptions and get ready to go plan out how you can improve customer experience and grow your business.

Download the Free CX Assessment Kit.

Rather have someone else do all of this for you? Send me a message as I do this type of optimisation for clients all the time.

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