Customer experience has the power to make or break your organization it’s why many businesses lead with a customer-centric strategy. And while it can be very resource-intensive, the rewards far outweigh the outlay.
Customer experience is a customer’s holistic perception of your business or brand based on their own experience. Their personal experience may involve in-person communications, phone interactions, visits to your website or experiences with a product or service of yours. Either way, every interaction a customer has with your business is what will determine their overall experience with your business. Every single touchpoint a customer has with your company can impact overall customer experience.
Customer experience often gets confused with customer service. The main point to note here is customer service is a factor that affects the customer experience. Poor customer service will lead to a poor overall customer experience; however, they are not one and the same
The facts speak for themselves:
Consumers essentially have the power to make or break an organization’s reputation based on their customer experience; that’s why investing in customer experience strategies is worth it in the long term. When considering customer experience’s financial impact on a business, a totally satisfied customer contributes 2.6 times as much revenue as a somewhat satisfied customer and 14 times as much revenue as a somewhat dissatisfied customer.
Thanks to developments in technology and the readiness of information, customer’s have access to the resources to perform their own research, identify brands that meet their expectations and make purchase choices on their own, all from the comfort of their own home. This means organizations now need to consider ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors, not just through corporate responsibility initiatives or events; although all of this links into the universal concept of a remarkable customer experience. Customer experience strategies are important because they show your consumers that you tailor your business to their needs.
Customer experience is a relationship with your consumers. This supportive community connection promotes your organization’s market reputation as a trusted expert in your chosen field. Because of this, customer experience dictates whether or not the customer intends on interacting with your business again while also dictating your reputation in the industry.
Word of mouth (WOM) is the cheapest yet most effective marketing around. Ensuring your customers are leaving satisfied will ultimately lead to a positive reputation for your business.
Did you know that 72% of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people? That’s six or more people that could potentially become a customer of yours - client acquisition has never been so easy. WOM marketing is priceless and will support the ongoing growth and success of your business.
Did you know that 67% of buyers say they will pay more for a great experience. So by providing a great customer experience, you’re already securing 67% of your profits, hypothetically. It’s also worth noting that 49% of buyers will make an impulse purchase with a business after receiving a more positive, personalized experience. This reiterates the fact that by going that extra mile for your clients, you can expect for them to continue buying from your business.
By acquiring new clients, securing profits and increasing your margins, you're essentially creating a pathway for business growth. At the end of the day it all comes down to this, more clients = more profit, more profit = more business growth opportunities.
Remember, without clients, your business is nothing.
Businesses driven by quality data are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 19 times as likely to be profitable and six times as likely to retain customers. Investing in big data analytics will allow your business to understand your customers better and, in turn, lead to more effective customer experience strategies.
It is easy to get lost in big data. Being able to collect, analyze and interpret the right data is key. You are looking for qualitative and quantitative data that will tell you who your customers are, where they come from, what their expectations are and how they want to interact with you. Then, you take these findings and merge them into your customer touchpoints to start shaping a more tailored customer experience.
It doesn’t just stop there. You need to continue to measure and record data after acquisition. Once you have gathered customer data and put campaigns or processes in place to improve your customer experience strategies, you then need to keep re-measuring, re-assessing and tracking any changes in the data to know what has worked and what hasn’t. From there, it’s just a continuous cycle of, gather, record, analyze and implement.
Your customer’s journey starts at the first point of interaction with your company. That can be anything from seeing an advertisement online, coming across your website or purchasing your products from a third-party vendor. This is called a touchpoint and will help you map your customer’s journey.
Every single interaction, or touchpoint, your customer has with your company, invest the time to consider how your target audience will view it. Your customer experience strategy will merge into each one of these customer journey touchpoints to then better each interaction.
For example, you want to place an online ad for your product. To map the customer journey here, you need to consider where the link for the ad will direct them. When they get there, what is the pathway to purchase? Is it engaging? Is it overwhelming or unclear? These are the types of questions you need to ask at every single point of your customer’s journey. Every time the path veers off in a new direction, like a new webpage, put yourself in their shoes and consider what their reaction might be from a third-person point of view.
Mapping the customer journey can be quite overwhelming when you have different departments responsible for different touchpoints, such as customer service for client queries and marketing for advertisement, so the customer experience strategy must be communicated effectively.
An omnichannel approach means keeping customer experience at the forefront of all organizational decisions Essentially, the experience a customer receives through one “channel” of your business, should be the same at another; a seamless customer experience.
This means going the extra mile for your customers. For example, in customer service, your customer service representatives should be able to source information relating to a customer’s longevity with your company, and what products or services may suit them based on previous purchases in real time.
Customers are more digitally aware than ever before. This means there are certain expectations within B2C communications that you will need to meet. With omnichannel, it means the customer is a priority and your business needs to accommodate their interaction needs where, when and how they want.
Introducing a seamless customer experience by adopting an omnichannel approach can be done by:
Automation within customer experience strategies can involve any form of technology that will assist consumers with tasks at the removal of human interaction. As we become more and more reliant on technology and digital consumerism takes hold, automation may be preferred within your target consumer base.
It doesn’t mean you identify any and every task to be automated for CX purposes. You still need to identify where automation can be appropriately and effectively implemented, ensuring that it will add value to the customer’s experience and your business as a whole.
Automation can be used to improve on faster response times or can introduce more targeted value-adding features to your products or websites. As a start, when mapping the customer journey, consider whether automation will actually improve your customer’s experience better than other strategies to get used to the idea of introducing automation.
Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) often are not looked upon favorably as many people fear such strategies lead to unemployment. These ideals are misinformed, especially when considering customer experience. Here are some examples of customer experience automation tools that can also improve upon business efficiencies:
Machine learning and natural voice recognition technology is also playing a role in providing seamless contact center experiences, replacing IVRs, which have traditionally been a major source of customer frustration.
Apart from websites, blogs and written content, there is another important factor to consider when wanting to improve your customer experience; employee engagement. Especially in customer-facing roles like customer service, it’s crucial your employees believe and are engaged in your CX strategies. A way to maintain this is to employ the right values, train your leadership team to reinforce the right behaviors and provide the necessary tools your employees need to deliver your customer experience goals.
The correlation between employee engagement and satisfaction and customer experience is simple. The happier or more satisfied your employees are with your organization, the more likely they are going to believe in the products and services you provide. This in turn, will flow into how they provide customer service and they will be more inclined to exceed your customers’ needs. In fact, 79% of companies with engaged employees had a significantly better customer experience than companies who didn't.
Outsourcing your customer service functions could be that solution. The retail cycle is 24/7, your closest competitor is just one click away and a complaint by a disgruntled digital native can go viral before an understaffed company has even had time to open the inquiry that triggered it.
Customer service call centers are one of the most familiar areas of outsourcing to the general public, and have proven success as a cost effective, low risk tool for improving sales and satisfaction, so it’s not as much of a mental stretch for clients or existing staff. And fortunately, swift technological advancements are also making it easier and easier to successfully manage teams of staff members overseas.
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