How you treat your customers—and how they perceive their interactions with you—has become one of the biggest differentiators between success and failure in today’s business landscape. Whether it’s about customer satisfaction, reducing churn or increasing revenues, there are countless ways to improve your customer experience strategy to ensure that your customers are getting the best possible experience from your business.
A recent Gartner study defines customer experience (also known as CX) as the customer’s perception of their interactions with all aspects of an organization, including products and services, employees, communications and relationships. According to Forrester, customers who have positive experiences are 60% more likely to spend more on subsequent purchases. And customers that say they had great service from a company will pay 18% more for that company’s product or service than those who don’t report having experienced great service. The interactions and experiences your customer has with your business can make or break their relationship with you, which is why creating a strong customer experience strategy is more important than ever.
Have an overarching customer experience strategy
With the right CX strategy in place, you’ll be able to measure your brand’s performance against various customer touchpoints and identify opportunities for improvement. You’ll also have a clear picture of which parts of your business are working well and which ones aren’t. When you know what your customers are saying about you and can tie that feedback into tangible actions that provide better service or products, you can build trust with customers and improve retention.
In my belief, feedback conducted via an online survey tools is better than that through social media as it allows for more detailed and relevant customer feedback. Customers often use social media for praise and complaint – but rarely to offer constructive suggestions or product improvements. Businesses should consider feedback from customer surveys to be highly valuable. We should address the following questions in your CX strategy: What are your customer pain points? What service do they value most? How do they prefer to be communicated with? How can you improve your brand’s transparency?
With a greater focus on customer experience strategy, companies will realize increased revenues and reduced churn. According to research firm IDC, firms that have a highly integrated CX approach can see an increase in average annual revenue of $1.1 million (28 percent) over their competitors. As for reducing churn? Multichannel firms reduce their customer churn rate by 3.7 times more than single-channel businesses.
Be Customer Centric
A successful customer experience strategy starts with realizing that customer service is about your customers, not about you. It doesn’t matter how good your product or services are if you don’t have customers – and we build customer loyalty. An aspiration centered on what matters to customers will keep both customers and employees more focused on being in touch with your market.
Your company must be so customer-centric that every decision must get filtered through: how will they feel? As well as is it right for our business? Obviously, you will not give away all your goods and services or provide an inferior level of service just because one customer demands it. But treating each customer with respect and as if he or she is your only customer makes every interaction better, from answering emails and making phone calls to following up on complaints.
Implement a Best-in-Class Process
While you may not offer all-inclusive personal concierge service, you can design and implement a best-in-class customer experience strategy that drives customer satisfaction and minimizes churn. Whether your product or service is intangible or tangible, it’s important to listen closely to your customers and incorporate feedback into what they expect from your company.
Some companies are even willing to take drastic steps to keep valued customers by addressing their concerns before issues arise. Zappos offers a 365-day return policy for any purchases made through its website. That generates positive customer experiences at every touch point, along with more revenue opportunities. Be sure you have systems in place that allow customers to reach someone quickly when an issue arises, so potential crises don’t turn into losing customers altogether.
Invest in People, Processes & Technology
I challenge you to think up as many ways as possible for customers to interact with your business. There are physical interactions (like showing up at your store or calling customer service) and non-physical interactions (like browsing an eCommerce site, using a mobile app or shopping on social media). You might get surprised by how much of your customer experience gets spread across these channels, so it’s important to take stock of all of them to craft a cohesive strategy that covers every angle. Customer experience doesn’t start when customers walk through your doors; it starts long before that—and ideally extends far after that, too.
When you invest in people, you invest in your customers’ experiences with your business. When you invest in processes, you invest in consistency, predictability, and efficiency throughout every touchpoint. And when you invest in technology, you can use data and analytics to make informed decisions about where to focus your efforts for maximum impact.
Measure Everything and Act on the Results
To implement and create a great customer experience strategy, you need to have clear objectives for improving customer satisfaction. This means you’ll also want to collect data on your customers’ experience with your product or service. There are many companies who use tools like Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys, Qualaroo polls and FullStory clips to measure how their customers feel about every interaction they have with their brand.
And once you’ve collected that data, it’s important to act on it—either by creating incentives for employees if those customers had an amazing experience or by working to improve customer experiences that weren’t so amazing. If your goal is improving your customer experience strategy and not just collecting data for its own sake, be sure to prioritize what specific metrics will affect business growth and focus there first. An example of a company doing a great job at tracking key customer experience metrics would be Uber: they consistently track how long customers must wait for their drivers, whether their drivers greet them with a smile and more.
Metrics that don’t drive revenue shouldn’t take priority over other, more actionable goals, though. For example, creating an NPS survey and sending it out quarterly might not have much of an impact on your business overall—but tracking how many users you lose every month from churn can help you improve your strategy for reducing customer attrition.
Treat Customers Like Individuals
If we focus on a great customer experience in delivering value, then treating each customer as an individual will enable you to better understand what he or she values. Positive customer experience goes beyond a customer’s immediate service issue; it involves looking at customer satisfaction holistically by considering customer loyalty and repeat business.
That’s why it’s important for companies to conduct market research: it can help paint a detailed picture of their target audience so they can develop more personal relationships with customers based on mutual interests and commonalities. Ultimately, understanding your customers and paying attention to their needs will create positive experiences that build loyalty and increase revenue.
Use Metrics That Matter to Customers
What matters to customers when they think about your customer service? How can you measure this metric? The goal of these strategies is to deliver an experience that makes customers feel like part of your team. Remember, if you treat them right, they’ll be with you for a long time. And customers who stick around longer spend more money, which helps increase revenues and reduce churn. So, make sure you understand what’s important to customers in your industry—and create a strategy based on those key metrics:
1. Delight Customers (Keep Them Coming Back for More)
Get deeply familiar with what drives customer loyalty—the things that keep them coming back repeatedly—and focus on creating experiences that delight them every time. Netflix, for example, knows that one of their most valuable assets is customer data. They know exactly what movies you’ve watched, when you watch them, where you pause or rewind… In fact, Netflix has data on 93% of all customers who have ever used their service!
2. Make Customers Feel Important and Unique
Make each customer feel like they’re special and important. One way to do that is by rewarding them for their loyalty—offering things like free shipping, early access, or exclusive sales promotions are all great ways to do that. Nordstrom has created an entire culture around making customers feel unique and appreciated; one study even shows that 70% of online customers would spend more money at Nordstrom just because of its legendary customer service.
3. Impress Customers with Your Ease-of-Use
Every business relies on technology in some form or another, so you have an opportunity every time you create a new feature or update your website or app to impress your customers with how it makes their lives easier.
Customer expectations are higher
Customers have higher expectations of your business than ever before. They want responsive customer service, but they also want you to listen and understand their specific needs before making recommendations. Today’s customers are more informed than ever, so it’s important for businesses to ensure that their employees can clearly articulate what makes their company unique to answer customer questions. The best customer experience strategies include an authentic connection with customers, which helps build trust between your brand and its audience.
By focusing on providing outstanding customer service, engaging in meaningful conversations, and providing opportunities for feedback, small businesses can create loyal customers who will become long-term evangelists of their brand.
You know a great story when you see one.
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