With customer experience, or CX, due to overtake price and product as the key brand indicator this year, it is not surprising that businesses across all industries are investing time and money in developing strategies to ensure they are delivering an amazing experience for their customers.
CX is your customer’s overall perception of your business or brand. It is based on their experiences with every aspect of your business including your website, social media, discussions with staff, the way you respond to queries or issues, and how and when customers receive their product or service.
It is important when looking at your overall CX that you don’t confuse it with your customer service. While good customer service is vital for any business, it is just one part of a customer’s experience.
As an example let’s look at a manufacturing business who has just spoken with a new customer. The sales team member does a phenomenal job and the customer happily places an order. A confirmation email is sent to the customer advising the delivery date. Due to a delay with supply, the shipment is not dispatched on schedule as previously advised to the customer. No update is provided to the customer who has to call the business back to find out what is going on.
While the initial customer service in the above example may have been rated a 10/10, the lack of information and customer follow up mean the customer’s overall experience score for the business is likely to be significantly less.
Just as every business is unique, so is your CX. There is no exact formula or process you should follow that will ensure you provide a great CX. There are, however, some common elements which may help when examining the CX your business provides.
Feedback is Key
Do your response times match your customer’s expectations? Are you meeting your customer’s needs and resolving issues and questions promptly? Would your customers prefer more automation or do they prefer human interactions when dealing with your business? You may think you know the answer to these questions and are delivering a great experience for your customers but, if you asked them, would they agree?
Listening to your customers and implementing a system to analyse and act on their feedback regularly is a vital part of a CX strategy. There are countless ways of gathering this feedback including text messages shortly after a sales call asking the customer to rate their experience, online surveys about your product, service, website, or business as a whole, and social media polls. Your business is unique and so are the ways you should gather your feedback. Regardless of which method you choose, the important thing is you listen to the feedback and take action, where necessary, to improve your processes.
Keep Up With Trends
Thanks to the amount of information available at our fingertips, customers today are much more aware of what’s happening on both a local and global scale. That’s why keeping up with trends in your industry and society in general is important. It doesn’t matter how good your service, product or offering is if your competitor is embracing changing preferences and habits while you’re sticking to what you’ve always done. Doing this shows a lack of understanding about your customers and their needs and is guaranteed to have even loyal customers looking elsewhere.
Make it Relevant
We‘ve all received emails from businesses we’ve purchased from in the past. If done incorrectly, these generally become annoying and often end up in the delete folder. However, when done well can actually be an important part of a CX strategy. By viewing a customer’s purchase history you may be able to predict their future needs before they are even aware of them, and create targeted email marketing campaigns that provide related products that are relevant to your customer.
Customer Transformation Will Never End
CX is not something that can be examined once then forgotten about. Just as your business changes over time so does your CX. Failing to continuously improve your CX will lead to frustration and annoyance for your customers which, in turn, will likely mean a loss of business and profits for you.
Know, Personalise, Engage
Do you know who your customers are and what they want? Knowing your customer wants a Christmas shirt in December, for example, is one thing, but do you know when they’re most likely to start thinking about getting one? Knowing the when and why behind your customers purchasing decisions not only allows you to personalise your interactions with them, it also increases the likelihood of them engaging with you as you are delivering information when they’re looking for it. Without knowing your customer’s preferences, what they want and when, how will you meet, and exceed, their expectations?
With technology being used more regularly in marketing today, customers expectations around messaging have also increased. They want messages that are consistent with your brands values and philosophies and reflect societal trends. This is particularly important in industries that have a high reliance on customer satisfaction such as retail, manufacturing, financial services and hospitality. The more consistent your messaging, the stronger the connection a customer has with your brand and the more loyal they are likely to be.
Know When to Use Which Channel
Email, website display ads, SMS, in-app ads, social media, SEO, the list of digital marketing channels is almost endless, which can make deciding which channel is best for your business daunting. While you don’t need to use every channel, with almost 50% of all service interactions now taking place digitally and self service continuing to be a customer’s primary channel for getting access to information and support, you need to invest time in working out the channels that will best suit your customers, the message and content you’re putting out, your budget, and what channels your competitors are using. Engaging with your customers in ways that suit them will improve their overall experience with your business.
Make it a Company-wide Commitment
It seems obvious but ensuring a customer has a good CX should be a company-wide commitment. CX is based on every interaction a customer has with your business so if one department or process fails that will have a direct effect on your CX, and potentially your success.
In today’s society, delivering a great CX is more than a business ideal, it is imperative for success. By providing a great experience for your customers, you will likely sell more products and increase repeat business, brand loyalty, and word of mouth referrals, while also reducing customer complaints, negative reviews and product returns, all of which will have a positive impact on your business and its overall success.