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Customer Experience

How to deliver exceptional customer service in the digital world

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Finding – and keeping – your competitive edge as a business is a tricky affair. If you’ve made a recent pivot to online trade, the way you interact with your consumers has likely changed. But that doesn’t mean their customer experience shouldn’t be top of mind. Measuring customer satisfaction, the customer journey and ensuring consumers experience exceptional customer service should still be priorities. Here, we learn how one online business uses the advantages of digital technology to enhance its customer experience.

Man types on laptop

Large corporations are beginning to see the value in creating an individual customer experience, and even without the hefty budget, small businesses can create a similar service. In fact, small businesses have the added advantage of agility thanks to lower staff numbers, which helps them develop and launch new strategies quickly. You can do this on a modest budget with the vast array of tech at your disposal, or by offering superior customer care – even if you’re not seeing your customer face-to-face.

Create a passionate community

Harvest Box provides an exceptional customer experience without having to engage with customers in a store, and they’ve still managed to create a loyal community that furthers their growth. Offering subscription-based healthy snack packs, Harvest Box began life in 2010 when three friends – William, James and George – got fed up with the chips and chocolate usually on offer.

Sourcing the freshest ingredients from producers all around Australia, with a large number of mixes of nuts, dried fruit and seeds, Harvest Box allows its customers to rate their box, meaning about 50–60 combinations are created based solely on customer responses.

Co-founder William Cook says the more the business invests in the customer experience – by communication via email and streamlining the order process, as well as allowing customers to customise their mix and provide feedback via customer surveys – the easier it is to create a community that people want to be part of.

“We felt that having a weekly or fortnightly interaction with our customers, with the delivery of the box and email communication and online, creates an almost membership-style reaction with our customers. It’s a community rather than a one-off purchase that may or may not happen. I say it’s like crowdfunding – you sort of ‘crowd’ select what mixes work and what don’t. If it’s badly rated, it will be removed. Customers do have an impact.”

From listening to customers and creating highest-rated mixes based on reviews, Harvest Box procured retailers, including Coles, to stock their boxes. The data collected from their customer interaction had influenced the company’s growth. A positive customer experience that became a community helped Harvest Box expand their bottom line.

4 excellent customer service tips

Harvest Box’s William Cook shares his top tips on creating an all encompassing positive customer experience.

  1. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. 
    “Often a business will make a decision on what’s best for them, rather than what’s best for the customer. But you have to step back and see what’s worthwhile to the customer and what is rewarding for them.”
  2. Involve your customers. 
    “With Harvest Box, customers are able to select their mixes better or rate their mixes so what arrives in their boxes is what they like. It’s more important than giving them every mix and variety in our selection that we think they’ll like.”
  3. Get feedback with customer surveys. 
    “We often ask our customers and our peers what they think before we go live.”
  4. Customers can dictate your profit.
    “To make it cost-effective, we made all our communication online. It’s the most effective and most wasted communication tool. It’s very easy for someone to delete an email. Our customers told us we were communicating with them too much, so we cut it down to once a week.”
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