Most companies struggle to find the answer to this simple question:
“How do I differentiate myself from my competitors?”
The key here is having a well-designed customer experience strategy.
Businesses generally provide products with the same features that don’t differ much in quality and price. To differentiate yourself from the rest, you ought to extend your limits and do something different.
According to a survey by Econsultancy, around 22% of the companies said that customer experience is the most promising opportunity to work on.
The dimensions of shopping have changed. If people have a bad experience with a company, they simply abandon it and go to a direct competitor.
A happy customer is the one who is likely to become a loyal customer.
Thus, in general, companies that satisfy their customers’ needs tend to be more successful.
Let’s dive deeper into every aspect of the customer experience and why it is important.
What Is Customer Experience?
Customer experience (CX) is how customers perceive your brand based on their interactions through every stage of their lifecycle.
From navigating your website to talking to customer service and using your product or service — everything impacts your customer’s perception.
Customer experience strategy defines the actionable plans designed to deliver a meaningful, positive experience to your customers.
After all, one lousy experience can leave wrong impressions of your company in your customer’s mind. That’s why continually improving your CX should be the top priority for your business.
To simplify, a customer experience strategy is made up of three main components:
- Customer Service: It is a team of individuals that respond to queries of customers
- Technology: This component is mainly the product or service that any customer purchases
- Design: All the supplementary parameters such as marketing strategies and product development plan come in this section
Customer Experience vs. Customer Service
People are often seen using the words customer service and customer experience interchangeably.
When, in reality, a customer service strategy is a part of the whole gamut of customer experience.
Customer service can be defined as the assistance provided by a company to customers as and when required. People might need help while purchasing or using your product and/or service. For instance, they might need help with placing a return request.
Whereas, customer experience is the overall perception of your brand based on every interaction they had with your company.
In other words, customer service is reactive. It only comes into the picture when a customer is facing an issue.
In such cases, an action is taken only after something goes wrong.
On the other hand, customer experience is proactive in nature. It is a holistic approach that helps in building a long-lasting relationship with customers and enriching their experience.
For instance, using CRM software, you can view the purchase history of a customer and predict their next purchase. This proactive approach can help you launch targeted email campaigns and use cross-sell and up-sell promotion opportunities.
Why Is Customer Experience Important?
Customer experience determines whether a customer is going to engage with a brand in the future or not.
Delivering a positive customer experience is essential because a happy customer is more likely to recommend your brand to their friends and family.
A satisfied customer helps with word-of-mouth marketing, which can influence others’ buying decisions.
In a Nielsen survey, it was found that 83% of consumers trust endorsements and referrals from people they know, especially their friends and relatives.
A positive customer experience also influences your customer loyalty to your brand. If they share a smooth experience right from their first interaction to their last, they tend to become your long-lasting customers.
In other terms, it directly influences customer lifetime value (CLV).
Thus, customer experience is essential to not only win new but also retain existing customers.
Things That Cause Bad Customer Experiences
The only thing that will get your customers to do repeat business is a good customer experience.
If your company is treating customers like you don’t care, you are eventually bound to fail.
Many companies are out there just like you. Customer experience is the only way to stand out from the crowd.
So how do you recognize a bad customer experience? There are certain things that contribute to bad customer experience, including:
- Unresolved issues or queries
- Long wait time
- Impolite employees or call agents
- Lack of human touch
- Unable to reach customer support, etc.
The best way to identify a bad experience is to think about the last time you felt frustrated by a company and why.
Besides, gathering regular feedback from your customer should be part of your customer experience strategy. It will help you understand what counts as a bad experience for your customers.
You can then work towards improving those factors.
Build a Successful Customer Experience Strategy
Now that you know why you need to focus on customer experience management, let’s understand how you can build a strategy around it.
Interact With Your Customers and Understand Them
Whether you are just starting or an already well-established organization, you must interact with as many individuals as possible and understand their needs.
This is essential for building a solid foundation for the future growth of your company.
Interacting with your customers will help you understand the slit between customers’ needs and the products or services your company provides.
If you understand the gaps and fulfill your customers’ needs, they will prefer your brand over others. This will help develop a long-lasting relationship with your customers.
Furthermore, you should aim at collecting customer reviews. These customer reviews can help identify problems, customer requirements, and develop effective solutions to cater to their needs.
Begin by defining your buyer persona using information such as location, age, behavior, etc., to determine your target.
Buyer personas are hypothetical ideal customers designed based on buying behaviors and other characteristics in your customer segments.
Try to find out why prospects are interested in your product and what motivates them to purchase.
You can ask your existing customers to fill a survey and use the data to design an effective customer experience strategy around it.
The more information you have about the customers, the better you will understand what they need and how to present it to them.
Design an Effective Customer Experience Vision
Once you have collected all the data, you need to build a customer experience vision. This is an attempt to make your company more customer-centric.
If your customer experience initiative lacks a solid vision, you cannot achieve the intended result.
A well-defined customer experience vision helps provide a sense of purpose to your employees, thereby directly impacting the overall customer experience.
But with the customer lifecycle cut into several departments, it can be difficult to engage all stakeholders to work together and come up with a CX vision.
To create a compelling CX vision, it is essential to have an emotional connection between customers and employees.
While developing your CX vision, you can have the following as the principal guidelines:
- To make the lives of the customers better
- The CX vision should align with the company’s mission and values
- It should be clear and concise. The CX vision can in no way be vague or ambiguous
- It must be real and believable. You should not make false or exaggerated promises
- The CX vision should be transparent and tell customers the journey they are going to embark on after associating with the company
Get Real-time Customer Feedback
One of the core necessities of a great customer experience strategy is to listen to your customers.
The best way to listen to your customers is by collecting feedback. With customer feedback, you can tell how satisfied the customers are with your business performance.
Not only that, but it helps find out which factors need improvement to serve their needs better in the future.
Today, customers are interactive on social media. They are vocal about their thoughts and tend to leave reviews and feedback on various social media platforms.
Users who show interest in your posts or reviews can be your potential customers.
Track your prospects’ online actions and set up automation to engage with hot leads just at the right time and increase conversions.
It’s crucial that you monitor your online reputation as it can either make or break your company. When it comes to negative reviews, you need to reach out to unhappy customers and immediately take action to rectify the situation.
In fact, the live chat tool is a great platform to collect real-time information. While browsing your website, customers can have real-time interaction with one of your agents.
Once the conversation is over, you can ask them to rate their experience on a scale of 0 to 5 (5 being the highest).
Give your customers the fastest and most effective way to interact with customer support agents to solve their queries.
Customer feedback not only tells you about your business but also about who your customers are. Without this, a customer is just an abstract entity that either buys a product or doesn’t.
But with feedback, you see customers as human beings and understand them in a better way.
In the end, your aim should be to gather data from as many sources as possible.
Once that is done, it is necessary to create a consolidated view of the same. If you monitor many platforms, it may become difficult to manage the customer experience strategy.
Getting all the feedback in one place will make analysis easy and help develop practical solutions faster.
Ensure That Your Team Has all the Skills Required to Handle Customer Queries
Product quality and price are not enough to impress a customer.
If you want to create a long-lasting effect on your customer’s mind, you need to offer them a seamless customer experience.
How your support agents interact with your customers plays a significant role in setting your customer’s expectations.
Closely monitor and provide regular training to develop their soft skills. You need to build a quality structure for every member of the customer support team.
Arrange seminars, group training, and other development courses, and track your team’s development.
The framework can be designed based on customer feedback. Include a quality assessment of verbal (telephonic) and written (email) communication in the structure.
Give Importance to Employee Feedback
Engaged employees are key to a successful business. If they are emotionally attached to a brand, promote its products, and have views regarding what works and what doesn’t for a company’s success, one can deftly achieve customer experience targets.
Employees are the first touchpoint for any customer. Thus, they know a lot about how customers react to products and services.
Incorporating employees’ feedback will improve their morale and satisfaction level, thereby leading to increased employee retention.
It’s a great way to identify which employee is doing well and who is struggling. Their performance level directly correlates to customer experience.
In a way, gaining feedback from staff members can also help you identify training gaps.
Instead of having annual surveys, take regular feedback to allow employees to share their ideas on how to improve the existing system.
Monitoring employee feedback continuously for their complaints, suggestions, and ideas can contribute a lot to enhancing customer experience.
How to Measure and Analyze Customer Experience (CX)
Let me get this straight. All your efforts to build a fantastic customer experience will go in vain if you do not know how to quantify it. How else would you know if your customer experience strategy is working or not?
Customer experience is a subjective term. However, you need to rely on certain CX metrics that can indicate your customer experience.
First of all, you need to understand how your CX strategy is going to affect your business.
For instance, CX may not increase the number of purchases but can increase the amount spent on each purchase. You must have a clear understanding of metrics and their effect on the business as a whole.
Generally, businesses measure the interactions, perceptions, behavior, and purchase patterns on the customer experience side.
Some of the top CX metrics measured by customer success managers are Customer Effort Score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).
Customer Effort Score (CES)
CES measures the experience with a product or service in terms of how ‘difficult’ or ‘easy’ it is for them to complete an action.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS helps measure custom loyalty by asking them a simple close-ended question.
On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend our brand to your friend or family?
You can always adapt the question to suit your business requirements.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
CSAT directly measures your customers’ satisfaction level once they have received your product and/or service.
Analyzing various CX metrics will help you gain actionable insights to enhance your customer experience further.
Customers are king. Without them, you won’t have your business at all.
With a great customer experience strategy, you can attract prospects to your brand and retain old customers.
So tell us, does your business use CX at the heart of its strategy? Share your views in the comments section.