What is customer experience?
Customer experience, also known as CX, is your customers’ holistic perception of their experience with your business or brand.
CX is the result of every interaction a customer has with your business, from navigating the website to talking to customer service and receiving the product/service they bought from you. Everything you do impacts your customers’ perception and their decision to keep coming back or not—so a great customer experience is your key to success.
Why is improving customer experience important for businesses?
Positive customer experience is vital for your business success because satisfied customers convert to be loyal ones who help in boosting revenue. While it may seem like extra effort to focus solely on customer experience, it is worth it.
Boost sales conversions
HBR study found out that customers who had previous best experience spent 140% more compared to those who have a bad experience. Having a satisfying brand experience results in higher customer lifetime value (CLTV).
Increase customer loyalty
Acquiring a new customer costs 7 times more than maintaining an existing one. Hence, creating a good experience delights your customers and ensures that they will keep doing business with you in the future. A superior experience becomes a valued asset for any type of business.
Higher client retention
Delivering prompt service boosts customer satisfaction and encourages them to retain with your business. With an increase in customer experience, customer support issues reduce significantly. Satisfied customers choose to be associated with a brand for a lifetime.
Impact of bad customer experiences
If a great customer experience is focused on ensuring all interactions and touchpoints with your business is easy, enjoyable, and seamless, then the exact opposite is true when it comes to a bad customer experience.
More than $64 billion is lost each year to bad customer service. Meanwhile, another study found 93% of unhappy customers leave a brand without complaining.
It doesn’t get any better. Only 10% of consumers say brands meet expectations for a good experience.
Some of the most common causes for bad customer experiences involve:
- Difficult purchasing processes
- Negative experiences with customer support
- Compromising a customer’s personal security
- Waiting too long on hold
- Ignoring customer feedback
So, the question remains, how can your organization create a great customer experience strategy?
1. Empower your employees
This may seem backwards, but companies that win at CX start with their employees.
There’s an important connection between empowered employees and happy customers. Think about it – you’ve been speaking to a customer service agent for 10 minutes and you ask for a discount. The agent wants to resolve your issue, but they need to approve it with their manager. You’re already tired and just want to be finished with the conversation. It would be much easier if the agent could use their judgment, approve the discount (or take other appropriate action) and solve your issue on the spot.
Find out what’s blocking your employees from delivering a great customer experience. Use an employee pulse survey to uncover any common pain points in the employee experience, and use those insights to review systematic processes such as contact center protocols and CRM software.
Consider your company culture, too. Are leaders, managers and employees all on the same page, with clearly understood shared values that support good customer experiences? Can you do more to build a customer-centric culture in your organization?
2. Deliver superior customer service
Customer service should be customer focused – not company focused. In order to enhance client experience, you need to evaluate every moment your customer interacts with your company.
Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers.
Good customer service levels up customer satisfaction. Happy customers create positive word of mouth about you. One of the best ways to adopt an excellent customer engagement strategy to provide real time support.
By using digital customer engagement tools, you can make conversation interactive and increase client experience.
3. Create an emotional connection with your customers
You’ve heard the phrase “it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it”?
Well, the best customer experiences are achieved when a member of your team creates an emotional connection with a customer.
Research by the Journal of Consumer Research has found that more than 50% of an experience is based on an emotion as emotions shape the attitudes that drive decisions.
Customers become loyal because they are emotionally attached and they remember how they feel when they use a product or service. A business that optimizes for an emotional connection outperforms competitors by 85% in sales growth.
And, according to a recent Harvard Business Review study titled “The New Science of Customer Emotions“, emotionally engaged customers are:
- At least three times more likely to recommend your product or service
- Three times(!) more likely to re-purchase
- Less likely to shop around (44% said they rarely or never shop around)
- Much less price sensitive (33% said they would need a discount of over 20% before they would defect).
4. Use tech to create breakthrough customer experiences
From chatbots that are there for customers 24/7, to natural language processing that allows you to understand what people mean in free-form text messages, the latest digital technology has made time-to-insights faster and new levels of personalization and service both scalable and affordable.
The value of these technologies are reflected by the increasing numbers of big businesses using them. For example, Dominos lets customers order pizza through the Domino’s Facebook Messenger chatbot, and eBay helps customers search the entire eBay marketplace for the best deals out there just like a personal shopper. There’s no doubt AI and related tech can make life easier for your customers and allow you to get creative with your products.
A customer health score is always a work in progress. You may find that what works today isn’t relevant within six months’ time. Be prepared to change and respond to customer and employee feedback throughout the whole process.
If you need any help or would like to speak to one of our expert team regarding health score and other engagement metrics, please get in touch with us and book a free 1-hour session.
5. Leverage the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken over largely in order to deliver an improved customer experience. Deploying chatbots can help businesses to enhance their customer service experience strategy and achieve faster growth.
Chatbots can save up to 30% in customer support costs and can help businesses by speeding up response time and answering up to 80% FAQs”. Bots are the best way to meet customer requests in real time. It reduces the customer frustration of being in long queues to get answers.
Here is how to enhance customer experience by deploying AI chatbots.
- Chatbots engage customers 24×7 to answer their simple queries even when your support team is busy or not available. Getting prompt answers helps customers not being on hold or queueing.
- With bots as the primary customer contact, can easily collect basic customer details such as name, email, etc. that further analysis.
- Bots are easily scalable during busy hours and deliver quality support without missing out on any conversations.
However, you cannot leave everything to AI. If there is a complex query there should be smooth handover to the human agent for effective resolution. Thus, you increase client experience with the chatbot managing the FAQs and live agents handling complex conversations.
6. Embrace an omnichannel mindset
Gone are the days of sitting down at a desktop computer to connect with a brand. With more than 50% of web traffic coming from mobile devices, multi-device digital journeys are now the standard.
But it’s not just about maintaining a consistent journey across different devices. Today’s CX leaders understand that customers use a range of offline and online channels to connect with brands, often switching multiple times, and that every part of the journey – however meandering and unpredictable – needs to be seamlessly joined-up and consistent.
Embracing omnichannel is one of the most important shifts you’ll make in your business thinking, and it’s one that goes hand in hand with prioritizing CX.
7. Engage with your customers across their lifecycle
It’s no secret that engaging customers across the whole lifecycle are crucial to achieving increased sales and enhancing customer experience.
The six main stages of customer lifecycle are:
- Awareness: It is the first stage when customers become aware of the existence of your brand, product, or service.
- Engagement: Customers consider what others are saying about your business and how you respond to service requests or complaints.
- Evaluation: Before making a decision, they compare and research. Offering digital self-service options can help customers evaluate products.
- Purchase: It is when customers have made their decision. Providing help to customers at this point is critical.
- Product experience: Delivering a good quality product ensures success at this stage by providing exceptional support.
- Advocacy: It is the final stage in the customer life cycle. You can continue to provide consistent support and to convert them into your brand advocates.
When talking about the customer lifecycle, we need to consider the main stages that take a buyer from the first acquaintance with your product or service through purchase, loyalty, and retention.
The key benefits of engaging customers across their journey are:
- You can increase the lifetime value by improving customer experience across all the stages of their journey.
- The marketing efforts achieve a higher return on investment (RoI) and maximum value for your brand.
- Improve your conversion rates by focusing on customer retention and increase overall sales for your business.
8. Act upon regular employee feedback
Most organizations have an annual survey process where they capture the overall feedback of your team; how engaged they are and the businesses ability to deliver an exceptional service.
But, what happens in the 11 months between these survey periods?
Usually, nothing happens. And this is where continuous employee feedback can play a role using tools that allow staff to share ideas on how to improve the customer experience and for managers to see how staff is feeling towards the business.
For example, using project management software or social media tools, you can create a closed environment where your organization can leave continuous feedback.
9. Personalize, personalize, personalize!
Customers today want personalized interactions. In fact 80% of consumers were more likely to make a purchase when brands offered CX, and 81% of consumers want brands to understand them better and know when and when not to approach them. Personalization, where the experience adapts based on what you know about the customer, makes customer journeys smoother and strengthens the bond between brand and customer. If you’ve ever received a marketing email filled with recommendations and vouchers based on your purchase history, or been able to set up which content you see on a website from your user profile, you’ve experienced the power of personalization.
Here are some ways you can use personalization:
- Use data to personalize survey questions
- Use geolocation technology to personalize based on location
- Offer recommendations based on past purchases
- Personally follow-up with survey responses
- Adapt your website to offer dynamic content based on user preferences