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If you really want to get ahead in the game, you should have a great customer experience strategy.
A well-executed customer service strategy will maximize customer lifetime value, increase customer satisfaction and send your revenue soaring. In fact, the only thing going down will be your churn rate.
For example, consider this: according to Gartner, 81 percent of companies were expected to compete mostly or completely on the basis of customer experience in 2019.
But what exactly is customer experience (or CX as it's usually called)? Simply put, it is the sum total of all the interactions between a customer and an organization, including discovery, initiation, purchase, service, and advocacy.
Every stage in the customer journey impacts customer loyalty, and how customers talk about your brand online as well as offline.
Here are some interesting numbers:
So, customer experience has the potential to bring you a lot of value, but, because so many companies don't get it right, it's still a pretty solid competitive advantage.
Is it all about interaction? From our extensive work with SaaS companies, it seems there is more to it. Interaction yes, but availability (touchpoints) and the depth of interaction and impression (engagement) are extremely important, too. Here's what I mean:
A great customer experience comes from providing excellence at every stage.
User experience and customer service make up part of the customer experience. The interactions that app and website visitors have with your software form the user experience, while organizational support gives rise to customer service.
Through great customer service and seamless user experience, you can create a great overall customer experience.
Understand your customers. Who are they? What are their motivations? The only access to in-depth intelligence will allow you to gain the depth of knowledge required.
There are two ways to do it:
Perhaps we end up creating Jack, a 32-year-old male who’s saving to buy a car.
You can see how this Spotify campaign used buyer personas. Knowledge of the audience created a level of familiarity through tailored messaging.
Want a successful CX strategy? Then you need a proper understanding of your business objectives.
What is the main goal? New customers? Entering a new market? Perhaps you are launching products into a current marketplace?
Review brand studies and identify the barriers. How can they be overcome?
Create long-term goals. How can your CX strategy help to achieve them?Then, build a customer experience strategy with the customers’ happiness in mind. Happy customers mean a successful business.
Ask yourself these questions:
Apple brand guru Steve Jobs was an advocate of “beginning with the customer experience and working backward to the technology”.
Here are some ideas to do this:
Employees are key to creating a great customer experience. Damien Peillon, from Logogenie, trains employees to really pay attention to customers. If a customer mentions a birthday when making a reservation, the manager will come over to wish them well at the table.
What can we learn from this?
Pay attention to the details. Knowing customer likes and dislikes gives the chance to act on them, personalizing the experience.
But you do need the right people in place to do this.
Use these tips to find the right people:
As we discussed earlier, user experience (UX) is key. Website and app design matter of course, but customer experience design is crucial.
Customers pour in from all channels, all on the hunt for something from your brand. They could be just one bad experience away from leaving you forever.
Plan every stage of the customer experience carefully, from discovery to purchase and advocacy, you can control the customer experience.
When your website traffic hits 500-2000 visitors per day, you can also turn it into a steady source of revenue with programmatic or contextual ads that complement user experience instead of interrupting it, more about it here.
Three design tips for creating a great customer experience:
Thinking back to the Bain & Company research from earlier, 80 percent of companies believe they are providing great customer service, but only 8 percent of customers agree with them.
How can you know customers’ needs without asking? How can you assess brand value without asking? That’s why it’s essential to create feedback loops. Here’s how:
If you keep your ear to the ground, you’ll hear customers telling you exactly what they want.
Analyze competitors and market trends to build a clear picture. Use internal and external tools. When you know where improvement is needed, you can then use this to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Creating strategic goals and objectives that help when implementing a successful CX strategy.
Having analyzed the customer feedback, it’s time to respond. Every stage in the customer lifecycle should have an unobtrusive support system in place.
Place control in the customers’ hands. Don’t force your support on them, but show them it is there and how to access it.
Here are some ways to provide customer support:
Loads of smartphones can rival iPhone, but Apple remains the only smartphone company making profit.
It’s special being in the Apple family. A massive, loyal customer base has grown out of a unique brand personality. Customers buy into this.
Think also Charmin. Taco Bell. Old Spice.
Think about this. If your brand was a person, what kind of person would it be?
More than 6 out of 10 U.S customers prefer a digital self-service tool (website, mobile app or online tutorial) over a call or video chat for resolving issues. This experience can be enhanced by AI tech.
Here are some benefits of AI:
Marketing means educating customers on what’s great about your products and services, pushing them towards purchase. Digitalization has drastically shifted customers decision-making processes.
They put in the hard yards when it comes to research. They are already aware of the pros and cons of your product/service. Customer service then becomes a key differentiator.
It’s invaluable for assuring customers you are interested in more than just selling. Let them know you are there to help them in every possible way.
Failing to measure your customer experience means missing out on valuable information that can boost your customer experience strategy. Remember, if it can’t be measured, it can’t be improved.
There’s plenty of data out there. Average response and resolution time for example.
It’s not all about the front line though. Just tracking and measuring customer facing team performance won’t provide the whole picture. Don’t forget that the teams behind the scenes can have a big impact on customer experience.
Focus on quantitative insights:
NPS - Net Promoter Score shows the percentage of your customers who would/wouldn’t recommend your company to their friends, family, or colleagues.
CSAT - Customer Satisfaction Score is a transactional metric showing how satisfied customers are with a recent interaction. This is often a purchase or a customer service call. It’s flexible and highly customizable.
CES - Customer Effort Score shows the effort expended by customers in accomplishing a task. Could be getting a support request handled or finding the product they were looking for.
In 2008, only 12 percent of businesses had cloud-based Customer Service Management Tools. Now it’s 87 percent.
Companies are chomping at the bit to adopt specialized customer-centric tech. Small wonder when these tools reduce the workload of an organization by 67 percent. It would be madness to ignore this kind of increase in efficiency and reliability.
A customer experience strategy is an ongoing process. Adopt a continuous improvement approach. Measure, optimize, repeat.
Here are some tips how:
Remember: customer experience provides a massive opportunity to create loyal customers. With the right strategy in place, the sky’s the limit.
Your strategic and tactical playbook for running customer support in the era of the modern consumer.