These days, many consumers are demanding that companies prove their sustainability with more than just a demonstrated commitment to recycling initiatives. They want evidence that the businesses they support are actively embracing eco-friendly practices that both protect and enrich the environment around them. So how can companies “go green” — oftentimes an expensive endeavor — and still remain profitable and relevant? The key may lie in the customer experience. Studies indicate that customer experience (CX) is the most important competitive differentiator, surpassing product quality and price as the key influencer for most consumer purchases. To reach the majority of consumers, then, businesses must use sustainable practices in ways that enhance the earth and the customer experience. Here are a few ideas:

1. Understand the Customer

Businesses must, first and foremost, understand their customers. The key to using sustainability to improve customer experience is recognizing and addressing the issues that matter most to them. Standard market research tools, such as a survey or quick poll, can be crucial to figuring out what customers expect and need. This means less energy and materials get wasted during production (since there’s a better grasp of the product concept) and less gets wasted during the returns process (which would otherwise require additional packaging and expenditure of transport emissions). It’s a win for sustainability, as well as the customer experience, since getting to know the customer improves the likelihood that the products and services a company offers actually meets a need in the most effective and efficient way. 

2. Rethink Communications

Most consumers value eco-friendly solutions, more enthusiastically supporting those companies that have good conservation records when other factors (such as CX, product and pricing) are similar. And even if a consumer doesn’t necessarily search out companies with sustainable products and services, most also won’t hold positive performance in those areas against them. Companies can capitalize on this by rethinking their communications, concentrating on dialogue that underscores their existing sustainable habits — no matter how small! For instance, some companies use a ring and/or hunt group to expedite customer service calls. They can and should underscore this fact with their customers, using it as proof that they choose systems that offer the most effective use of available resources while still delivering superior service. This might entail a small blurb in an annual report that describes how the business saves their employees from having to be in the same location at the same time by routing its incoming calls to phones in several different locations. Not only does this save costs that would otherwise be spent to maintain that facility, it lessens the environmental impact that comes with the transport of employees to and from it. Frequently, some of a company’s everyday decisions can give evidence to its sustainability if only it rethinks how to frame discussion of them.

3. Aim for Service

Of course, customer experience relies on customer service, with convenience often trumping all else. Companies can improve their own customer experience by offering their products in ways that are not only sustainable (i.e., earth-friendly) but practical; they can allow customers to try and/or trade their offerings rather than buy. Not only does this keep products out of landfills, it satisfies a consumer need to not purchase what isn’t needed long-term.

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Using Sustainability to Improve Customer Experience was last modified: June 24th, 2020 by Dr Prem Community Writer

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