A customer experience strategy is essential to go ahead with the customer success game. A good customer experience management strategy will maximise customer lifetime value and make satisfaction increase. This will propel company revenue and reduce churn rate. According to Gartner, more than 80 percent of companies are expected to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. When Econsultancy and Adobe asked companies to mention the most exciting opportunity for their business in 2020, customer experience topped the charts as the answer. An independent research by American Express noted that 86 percent of customers will pay more for a good experience. In a study by Temkin Group, companies can earn nearly 700 million dollars only by investing in customer experience.
What is Customer Experience?
Customer experience can be defined as the interactions and experiences a customer has with the business throughout the customer journey– from onboarding to upselling or churn. From the first contact, whatever the customer undergoes is what the customer experience entails. Customer experience is necessary for customer relationship management and customer retention.
Another interesting global CX study by Oracle found that 74% of senior executives believe that customer experience impacts customer retention and even NPS. Customer experience basically affects the willingness of a customer to be a loyal advocate.
A great customer experience is one where there is an all-round association with the customer. The important points include-
- Depth of impression
Interaction: this can be through any touchpoint. The minute a customer comes in contact with your brand- a brand message, product, social media post, or an employee can influence the customer experience.
Touch points include social media posts, ads, mails, websites, stores, blog, annual reports, updates, news, or any form of digital platforms.
Availability: Companies need to be available for customers across platforms and times. It is important to keep the messaging consistent and be available for customers. Being available on phone, voice chat, AI support, live chat, or VR options will augment customer experience.
Depth of impression: a communication process is essential between the employee and customer. Depending on the depth of impression, one can analyse the interest levels of the customer. Measuring customer experience quantitatively will help understand the depth of the impression on customers. Sometimes customer satisfaction lasts very momentarily, it is what should be avoided.
Engagement: the quality of interaction also matters. If the engagement is bad, there will be no interest in the product or service. By engagement, companies should invest in the type and nature of connection and messaging they want to build with the customers. Formal, informal, emotional, or any other type of experience they feel will bring value to the company.
Why Customer Experience is important?
Any business needs customers and that is why customer success is important. It will enable retention and help them keep customers. A survey found that a strategic objective of top business persons includes delivering a great customer experience. Most companies do not deliver a great customer experience. When companies and customers were asked about customer experience by Bain and Company, 80 percent of companies felt they were providing the best customer experience and 8 percent of customers felt they received it. While customer expectations are increasing day by day, companies and brands need to upgrade their customer experience strategy to stand out in the face of increasing competition, social media, and rising number of options. Customers expect the best- at every touchpoint.
So, how to create a great customer experience- that remains a big question.
8 Strategies to Improve Customer Experience Management
Understand your customers and form buyer personas
The first step is to understand your customers and form matching customer experience principles to help them best. If your organization wants to understand customers, they need to create buyer personas. A buyer persona is basically making it easier for customer success teams to recognise a customer and give them the personalised experience they signed up for. This is the first thing companies can do to become customer-centric and understand customer experience in the best manner.
Create a clear vision
A clear vision is important to communicate correctly with the customers. The easiest way to do that is have a charter or a set of statements to act as benchmark principles. These principles will provide clear guidance on what customers can expect and what companies should deliver. These principles will serve as the measure against which team is valued. A long-term strategy and short term strategy should be in place to mean effectiveness for brand loyalty. If there is no vision, the plan will be shallow and not meant to optimise customer experience.
Connect with them
The best customer experiences are when you see them for reasons beyond clients. Your customers are the backbone of the business and keeping that in mind, an emotional connection needs to be formed to see them as humans. Emotions must shape attitudes that customers experience as a customer who is emotionally attached is three times more likely to recommend product or service according to a Harvard Business Review study.
UX is the key for CX
Customer experience design is very important for any business. It as a matter of fact bases on a huge extent on the website and app design. Customers are one bad experience away from leaving the company and disowning the brand. Each stage of the customer journey needs to be carefully planned from discovery to advocacy. Creating a consistent brand experience is important as it makes it easy for customers to relate. Take Coca Cola’s red branding, for instance. It is consistent across continents and hence has a heavy brand appeal.
Employees to be invested in the process
Your company employees are the base for a great customer experience. Hiring the right team is important. If a company employee himself is unhappy with work and uninspired to continue, there is a need to reconsider how it works. When the whole company wants to forward a certain strategy, it will become easier to manage customer expectations. Training employees about all products and how to deal with customer queries is another great way to enhance customer experience.
Business results are the only way to understand the return of investments. Measuring customer experience is done with the very famous benchmark used by companies across the world known as the ‘Net Promoter Score’. The NPS asks a single question to get valuable information –
“Would you recommend this company to a friend or relative?”
NPS is a very useful metric to understand customer experience and measure it. Coined by Bain and Company, the net promoter score is a globally recognised tool to find if customers are happy about the product and what means can be taken to improve it. A higher NPS means that customers are happy, and a lower one implies less satisfaction.
Get Customer Feedback
Create feedback loops to ensure that customer messages are noted. Use post-interaction or feedback surveys to understand how customers feel. Follow up on the phone to address their concerns quickly. Pay attention to their issues and make sure they are honest with you. Stress on your importance to rectify and become better and mention about it to customers. When you know what they feel and what they are being provided, you can reduce the gap by implementing successful customer experience strategies that will make your customers feel better.
Resolve customer queries effectively
Having understood customer feedback and digested the exact queries, it is important to respond to them in an active manner. In fact, every stage of the customer experience process should have ample interaction with the customer. This will make things seamless and reduce friction which is a major cause of churn. Giving the customer importance at every stage to address issues is important. Show customers how to solve a problem. If they face a problem with logging in, make it easy through simple tools and capture their attention. Tutorial videos can be helpful here as they make customers feel self-sufficient to solve any query.
Bottom Line: Customer Experience needs to match Expectations
When customers expect something, they talk about it. When they expect something, word travels fast. As customers become smarter, they need to get the best before they look for other options just a search away. Customers are empowered and when they get the best experience, they will remain loyal to the company. A great focus on customer experience will enhance customer retention, impact customer loyalty, and increase revenue and growth. With the right strategy to enhance customer experience, it is better companies extend the best to their customers. Focusing on a customer-centric mindset is important to give them the right brand experience and continuously improve. A good customer experience is not only necessary but also core to customer success. It is a huge driver of customer loyalty and promotes customer retention. If companies want to improve their NPS scores, improving customer experience is crucial.