Econsultancy and Adobe created a Digital Marketing Trends Report in which they asked companies to indicate what the most exciting opportunity for their organization in the upcoming year was. Once again, the same answer came out on top: Customer experience (CX). This shouldn’t surprise you though because research shows that companies who have successfully implemented a customer experience strategy have also achieved higher customer satisfaction rates, reduced customer churn and increased revenues. American Express found that 60% of customers are even willing to pay more for a better experience.
Defining “Customer Experience”
Super Office defines customer experience as the interactions (e.g. awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy, purchases, service) between a customer and an organization throughout their business relationship. The most integral part of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and the reason why it’s important is customers who have a positive experience with your business are more likely to become loyal to it. Oracle conducted a study in which they found that 74% of senior executives believe customer experience impacts a customer’s willingness to be a loyal advocate for your business.
How Customer Experience Impacts Customer Loyalty
Happy customers remain loyal customers. The happier your customers are, the longer they’ll stick around. This is why you can’t afford to treat your customers poorly and ignore their emails. It’s also why businesses who deliver great customer service outperform their competition.
How Customer Experience is Different from Customer Service
Typically, a customer’s first point of contact with your company happens when they interact with one of your employees. While this is a great opportunity to deliver outstanding customer service, it’s only one part of the entire customer experience. For instance, making a reservation on the phone and receiving great customer service there is one thing, but if your tickets arrive early with complementary upgrades, that’s a good customer experience.
Thanks to today’s technology, customer experience has changed. There are new and exciting ways you can now connect with your customers. For instance, when you’re using CRM software you can view customer purchase history and predict future needs before your customer even knows they need something from you. This ability allows you to be proactive and attentive. It also lets you:
- Offer related products based on your customers’ purchase history
- Create and deliver targeted email marketing campaigns
- Get a better understanding of your customer
So, while customer service is still important, it’s no longer the sole focus of customer experience.
The Importance of Customer Experience
Your business can’t exist without its customers, which is why you must focus on both winning new customers and retaining the ones you already have. Bloomberg Businessweek discovered that “delivering a great customer experience” is now the top strategic objective for many businesses. According to Customer Management IQ 75% of customer management executives and leaders rate this as their most important task. Nevertheless, many companies are still failing here – 80% of them believe they’re delivering a superior experience but only 8% of customers would agree with them saying that only 18% – 38% do so.
8 Ways to Create a Customer Experience Strategy
Fortunately, there are 8 ways you can create a great customer experience strategy to help you improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn and increase revenues. This includes:
- Creating a clear customer experience vision: This is something your entire organization needs to communicate. You must head up this effort by creating statements that serve as guiding principles. Once you’ve done so you must ensure that all your employees know these principles by incorporating them in all your training and development efforts.
- Understanding who your customers are: You can only truly understand customer needs and desires by connecting to and empathizing with the situations your customers face on a daily basis. To do this you’ll need to create customer personas with names and personalities (e.g. Anne is 35-years-old, likes new technology and is tech savvy enough to follow a video tutorial but John is 42-years-old and needs clear instructions written on a web page). This helps your customer support team recognize understand these personas better so they can become truly customer centric.
- Creating an emotional connection with your customers: This is the best way to create a great customer experience. Studies show that customers become loyal because they’re emotionally attached to your brand and remember how they feel when they use it. Creating this emotional connection will help your business outperforms your competitors by 85%.
- Capturing customer feedback in real time: Asking your customers about their experience helps you know how you’re doing. This is why you need to create post-interaction surveys that are delivered through email and calls (both at the end of a call and by having employees make outbound calls to check on customers’ experiences).
- Using a quality framework for team development: Creating a quality framework that identifies your company’s training needs then scheduling and tracking employees as they engage in such training (e.g. coaching, eLearning, group seminars) helps you fix “problem” areas your customers point out to you.
- Acting on regular employee feedback: Don’t conduct annual surveys of your employees. Ask for continued feedback instead. This lets your employees how they think you can improve on your customers’ experiences more often than annually.
- Picking a good CRM like Copper CRM Software: It’s easy to integrate with the rest of your G Suite thanks to a Gmail Chrome Extension. Once you’ve done so you’ll enjoy using its email templates, visual sales pipeline, automated actions, robust reporting, auto-logging notes, and over 300 third party integrations.
What it all Boils Down To
Today, it’s true that customer expectations are higher than ever before and word of mouth travels fast. This makes your customers feel even more empowered, and it also increases the importance of always delivering a great customer experience for them. This is one area of your business that needs to be continually nurtured and cared for. By placing a greater focus on your customer experience strategy, you’ll receive a positive return when it comes to customer loyalty, higher retention rates, and an increase in your revenues.