In today’s competitive market, a great product and marketing strategy may not be enough to attract new customers. In both the B2C and B2B sectors, customers’ expectations are increasing, and every brand should take that into consideration. In the following text, we will give tips on providing an outstanding customer experience that you can apply right away!
What is the customer experience?
Hubspot defines customer experience (CX) as the impression you leave with your customer, resulting in how they think of your brand, across every stage of the customer journey. Multiple touchpoints factor into the customer experience and these touchpoints occur on a cross-functional basis. The main factors that influence positive customer experience are:
- a fast loading website
- the quality of service in a brick and mortar store
- valuable content on the company’s blog
- personalized e-mails
- accurate ads displayed on social media
- immediate answers to questions
- fast delivery
These are just some examples, but in fact everything you do has an impact on the overall customer experience. Why does customer experience matter?
86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. A positive customer experience can bring your company a lot of profits. For the most part, happy customers are more willing to return, whilst finding new customers is more expensive than retaining existing ones. Additionally, delighted customers can be the best brand promoters; once they share their impressions of your brand, it can be social proof for potential customers that your company is trustworthy. An excellent customer experience can be your biggest competitive advantage because that is what matters at the end of the day.
How to improve the customer experience?
Customer Experience Management (CEM) is a concept that describes how a company takes control over interaction with its customers.
This customer-centric approach lets organizations design one coherent strategy that creates a positive experience during every stage of a buyer’s journey. Read on to learn what steps to take to create a customer experience strategy.
Create a clear customer-focused vision
Start with writing intent statements that will describe what kind of experience you want to deliver to your customers. It should inform and inspire your team so that it will always strive to amaze customers. While working on intent statements think long-term but be realistic. Do not confuse such statements with the company’s mission, because very often it does not have anything in common with the way you interact with customers. Focus on customers and their expectations during every touchpoint with your brand.
Understand evolving customers’ needs
Customers themselves plus their challenges, needs and preferences are constantly changing, just as their social and economic situations do. Buyer personas created at one time may not apply in the future. Do not assume that your customers behave as you do, but find out who they really are and what are they expecting from your products, services and support. Analyze data from Google Analytics and social media platforms to reveal the demographics and interests of your website’s visitors and social media followers.
Run periodical customer satisfaction surveys that are easy to fill out, and make the most of the results. That way, you not only monitor the situation but also let your customers know that you care about their opinion. It is truly a win-win situation. Moreover, be proactive! Ask your customers for a product or feature request. Maybe they need options that you have not thought of before.
Internet monitoring can be a huge help when it comes to learning about your customers’ experiences with your brand. Search for phrases that concern your products, brand and industry.
Analyze a customer’s journey map and find touchpoints where your organization is underperforming. Go through customer support procedures, as well as the website interface to refurbish them. You can make the most of user experience (UX) tools to learn more about visitors’ behaviour on your website. That is how you can monitor what they click and which pages they are viewing. Make your website usable and intuitive, and do not forget about the main must-have: a responsive web design. Your website should always be displayed accurately, no matter on which device (desktop, tablet, smartphone).
Look through customer service reports. Which issues are the most common? Try to eliminate them once and for all. Start with the highest priority and most urgent pain-points, then revamp other details that may influence the overall opinion about your brand.
Provide omnichannel customer service
First of all, self-service is in high demand nowadays. Give your customers a chance to deal with their problems on their own. Inform your customers if there is a way to resolve issues faster and easier than with the help of an assistant. Update your FAQs section regularly and deliver easy-to-read content or helpful explanatory videos. Your customer service team will also be happy with this improvement.
Second of all, you should rock omnichannel support. Provide many contact channels so that your customers can choose which one they prefer and solve their problems quickly. Depending on your business specifics and your target group, you can enable customers to contact your team via a contact form on your website, e-mail, a call center, live chat on your page or direct message on social media. Integrate the online tools and CRM system that you use to gather complex information, preferably in one place. Once your agents have easy access to a history of interactions, they can help better and faster.
Another useful improvement could be the implementation of chatbots for Messenger and live chat. Combine the advantages of bots and agents to deliver the best quality customer service. If an issue is too complex to be solved by a bot, you can automate the handover process so that your customer-facing team will receive an enquiry. If you want to find out more, read our article on delivering omnichannel customer support.
Show empathy and create an emotional connection with your customers
More than 50% of experience is based on emotion, and it is not surprising. Emotions drive our impressions and consequently influence our decisions. Be kind, friendly and understanding. Brands have to realize that consumers don’t just buy products or services, but in fact they buy values and emotions too. People buy bikes not just to have them, but to use them to commute to work or even make adventurous journeys, for example.
Instead of following strict rules and scripts, empathize with your customers to show that you care about their problems and that you treat them individually. Find as many opportunities to personalize the experiences as possible. For example, use marketing automation to send e-mails based on a particular visitor’s behaviour on your website. That way, you can send a unique offer regarding content that a given customer viewed.
Do not only provide a merely positive experience to your customer, but go above and beyond their expectations to create remarkable impressions that your loyal customers would love to share with their friends.
Last but not least, measure your performance and find out how much you saved thanks to taking a customer-focused approach. One of the best known metrics is Net Promoter Score (NPS), which can help you measure how many clients are willing to recommend your brand to a friend. That is how you can measure customer satisfaction. Another great way to measure this satisfaction is CSAT. Here you will find more information about it. You should also take a look at customer retention rate to find out how many clients bought your products or used your services more than once. It is the opposite of churn rate, which shows the percentage of customers a company has lost over a specific period.
To find out how well your agents handle customer service, you can use the Average Time Resolution, which shows the time it takes to resolve an issue completely. There is also First Contact Resolution which measures the number of customers whose problems are solved at the first attempt.
In the end, it is all about the business results and returns on investment. That is why you should take a closer look at revenue and try to find out if your efforts pay off. Based on that, you can estimate how much more you can invest in further training and automation tools.
Every detail is crucial when it comes to customer experience. Thanks to automation and personalization, you can improve positive impressions and, therefore, increase your revenue. Make a data-driven decision, follow trends and most of all, simply keep in mind the best interests of your customers. Use technology as an enabler, not a solution itself. Your company’s real potential is in employees who face customers and directly create their experiences.