We’ve all had that one friend, partner, or business associate that is a wonderful person, but really needs to work on their communication skills. Wonderful person, but getting them to tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it, is a consistent struggle.
Starting to ring a bell?
Here’s the thing: how many of those people do you think were aware of their shortcomings? Not too many, we’d wager.
What if we told you that lots of companies have this same struggle? Most people at this point have probably been through the tragicomic experience of trying to assemble a piece of furniture, a kid’s toy, or even just a new computer from instructions printed in 2 point font, translated by a top-of-the-line garbage disposal.
Maddeningly, that kind of poor consumer communication is such a common thing, it’s almost a meme. And ultimately, that’s by choice. Someone, somewhere, looked at it and said, ‘That’s good enough.” Now, we’re all working under constraints, be they budget, staff, fluency, or something else. But that doesn’t mean that customers don’t deserve better than to be left to figure it out on their own.
In software development, there’s a colorful term, dogfooding, that describes the value inherent in using your product yourself. Even better is watching someone else, who isn’t familiar with your product, try it out- product testing. Let’s get it out there, right here, right now: if you’re not doing this, you don’t know how you’re letting your customers down.
Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a vocal minority, who are letting you know where you’re lacking. And maybe most of your expert consumers have already discovered their own ways of doing things, and don’t need the help. But an even larger segment is probably just never buying your products again. The costs of poorly communicating with your customers can be catastrophic to your bottom line, and negatively affecting your growth potential.
Of course, if you’re in the durable goods market, maybe you don’t expect a lot of repeat sales. But unless you only have a single product line, you’re likely missing opportunities to cross-sell your other products, because of that one negative experience. That’s why a great question to ask at the end of your product testing is “Would you buy something else from this company based on your experience?”
That’s why one of the most important things you can do as a business is talk to your customers; before, during, and after your product goes on sale. Here are some great questions to ask during product testing:
- If you saw this on the shelf, what other questions do you have?
- [If doing comparison tests with competitors products] Why did you choose Product [X]?
- What do you want to know when making a purchase of [our product line]?
- What uses do you think [product] has?
And remember, always watch for unspoken feedback. Does your test consumer hesitate at any point? What are they looking at? What are they looking for?
Here are just a few of the rewards you can reap by finding out what your customers need to know:
- Increased sales
- Fewer returns
- Better consumer feedback loops
- Better consumer sentiment and reviews
Once you know what your customers need to know, it’s as simple as finding good ways to tell them. For physical products, there are some great, easy solutions.
- Improve user/assembly manuals
- Update product labeling
- Add QR codes linked to relevant information to your product packaging
- Optimize your website for relevant information discovery
If you’re selling physical goods, one of the cheapest and easiest ways to provide accurate, up-to-date information to your customers is via the Liiingo platform. QR codes make it easy to get the right information to the right person at the right time. If you’re looking for creative ways to enhance your customer experience, reach out to the folks at Liiingo for some great tips on bridging the physical-to-digital divide.
Once you get someone into the digital space, or if you’re already there, your options are expanded dramatically. Online content isn’t as constrained by physical limitations, so there are numerous creative ways you can provide better information to your customers. Here are a few ideas for ways to improve your onboarding experience:
- Interactive Tutorials: Instead of traditional user manuals or help guides, digital service providers can develop interactive tutorials that guide customers through the services. These tutorials can be visually appealing, providing step-by-step instructions along with animations or videos to make the learning process more engaging.
- Microlearning Modules: Breaking down complex concepts or information into bite-sized modules can help customers absorb information at their own pace. Microlearning modules can be delivered through short videos, podcasts, or interactive modules, allowing customers to gain knowledge in small, manageable increments.
- Gamification: Incorporating gamification elements can make information sharing more enjoyable. You can create quizzes, challenges, or reward systems that encourage customers to explore the service and gain knowledge in a fun and interactive way. This not only educates the customer but also fosters a sense of achievement.
There are also great ways to add to your customers resources once they’re actively consuming your products.
- Infographics and Visual Representations: You can create visually appealing infographics or diagrams that simplify complex concepts and present information in a more digestible format. These visual representations can convey key features, benefits, or processes, helping customers understand and retain information more effectively.
- Chatbots or Virtual Assistants: Implementing AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants can provide instant and accurate information to customers in a conversational manner. These automated systems can address common queries, offer guidance, and direct customers to relevant knowledge resources, improving the overall customer experience.
- Community Forums and Knowledge Hubs: Creating online communities and knowledge hubs where customers can interact, seek assistance, and share experiences can be highly beneficial. By providing a platform for customers to engage with each other and share their expertise, you can facilitate peer-to-peer learning and enhance customer knowledge. While moderation can be a cost, the brunt of the cost of maintaining these kinds of resources is actually borne by customers, which makes it a great and profitable way to expand the resources available for your other customers.
When you’re ready to start enhancing your customer experience, just let Liiingo know. We speak your language.