I bet every business guru you turned to advised you to enhance customer experience, didn’t they? Yes, they sure did!! I am not about to tell you that they were wrong. They couldn’t be more right. It’s a universal truth and everybody in the business stand by it. Then let me ask you, why is it that some companies are more successful than the rest? Why is it that some companies grow and grow? Is it all about the tremendous amount of money that is flowing down the business line that is doing the trick?
Well, there is a trick involved. Want to know what that trick is? Get ready to be the most loved company in the whole wide world! Behold the secret tip: “It’s not about what you say, it is about how you are saying it!”
Such a simple thing but assiduous to implement. Companies with successfully implemented customer experience strategies are found to achieve higher customer satisfaction, increased revenues, and reduced customer churn. All the variables aligned in the right position with favorable statistics for the booming of your business.
A research run by American Express found that around 60% of the customers wouldn’t mind paying more for a better customer experience.
Before we get into how to effectively enhance customer experience, we will discuss what exactly is customer experience.
What is Customer Experience or (CX)?
An integral part of the CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), Customer experience can be defined as the interactions between a customer and an organization throughout their business relationship. And when I say interaction, it would include awareness of that organization in purchasing or availing the organization’s services.
A customer who had a positive and pleasant experience with a business is more likely to become a loyal customer. And it is backed by a recent study by Oracle, which revealed that 74% of the senior executives trust that customer experience do impact the attitude towards the organization and therefore the chances to be a loyal customer. If you want loyal customers, you have to ensure a pleasant experience in all customer journey touchpoints. Be it your website or your employees. You might own the company, but customers rule them. Treat them nothing less than a king, they are going to leave. There are many identical organizations like yours and if you want to retain the customers, you need to invest in customer satisfaction and enhance customer experience.
Customer Experience Vs Customer Service
Usually, a customer’s first touchpoint with a company or business is employees. It gives a wonderful opportunity to create and execute, a very positive image of the company through customer service. However, customer service is only one side of the cube of customer experience. Such several beautiful and stable walls would give us the completed structure.
Imagine you have booked an economic class ticket to a vacation spot. You did so with the help of a traveling agent from a company. That agent proves to be very helpful and keen to listen, that is good customer service. Your tickets arrive on time but they have upgraded it to your business class and also have sent out pick up the van to drop you at the airport, now that is a good customer experience.
That’s exactly how these two are different!
Like everything else in the world, technology enables the companies to connect with their customers in exciting new ways. With the help of online survey tools, you can collect valuable feedback and easily predict the future behavior of a customer. Making it easier to devise confident strategies to enhance the customer experience by sending out personalized emails, greetings, special discounts on certain products that the customer was looking over for several times.
Even when all the statistics and studies prove that enhanced customer experience should be given a higher priority, many companies are failing terribly at it and the most unfortunate part is that they don’t even know about it. In a study conducted by Bain and company, 80% of the companies believed they are delivering a superior experience where only 8% of the customers believed they are receiving a great customer experience.
Customers demand every interaction to be the best experience they have with any company, so how can your organization enhance customer experience? Here we discuss the 7 most efficient ways you can enhance customer experience.
1. Stop Imitating and Start Innovating
Let’s begin with an obvious and simple habit to enhance customer experience. Sadly when it comes to providing an excellent customer experience most companies are content with simply keeping up with the competitors. Though it could save your skin to an extent, this would bore your customers and fails to give an impression good enough to turn them into loyal customers.
Only the names of the innovators and pioneers are admired and cherished not of all those who jumped into the same wagon and tried to enjoy the leftover cheers. A survey conducted for 100 customer experience professionals by Forrester, 58% of respondents said their organization drive customer experience innovation by watching what their competitors are doing. Whereas 72% said they outrightly copy the strategies of their competitors. You cannot expect the customers to switch company when you are also delivering the same experience. Innovate your way to the front of the pack and offer compelling ways for the customers to experience a fascination with you. TD bank’s campaign “TD Thank You Account” where they surprised their customers at ATMs, in the branches and also on the phone with personalized messages and surprise gifts is an example. AT & T celebrated reaching 2 million followers on Facebook by creating more than 2000 personalized videos thanking them is also another example.
2. Understand Who Your Customers Are
For enhancing customer experience, you need to know who your customers are and what they like. You can’t blindly implement strategies one by one. You need to put in enough market research to find out who they are and identify the buying behaviors and trends. Creating customer personas can also help. You give each persona a name and a personality. Like, Anna in 30 years; she likes technology whereas Alex is 32 years and needs to follow instructions on a web page. By doing this, your customer support team can easily identify who they are and understand them better. It is an important step towards becoming truly customer-centric.
Think about how often do you conduct customer feedback surveys? If not often enough, it’s high time that you invest some thought in collecting customer thoughts and catering your services accordingly.
3. Create an Emotional Connection with Your Customers
Creating an emotional connection is the shortest and often the easiest way to turn a happy customer, loyal. Every customer wants to be treated with priority. They want to see that their opinion matters. Simple touches like greetings on anniversary or birthday discounts could do the trick.
One of the best examples of establishing an emotional connection with the customers is of Zappos. A customer couldn’t return a pair of shoes because of her mother passing away. Zappos took care of the return shipping and had the shoes picked up without a cost. And no they didn’t stop there. They also send a bouquet of flowers along with a condolence note.
An experience hugely depends on the emotions, and these emotions shape the attitude that influences the decision making. Customers become loyal because they are attached emotionally to the product or service. Emotionally attached customers are likely to recommend your product or service at least three times, says a Harvard business study.
4. Prioritize Quality Support
If I ask you to name a few companies that you think got away with awful customer support, it wouldn’t be a long list. All these companies that customers rave about wouldn’t have any crummy customer support team. Companies who have got their ego high and tried to belittle the customers have paid for it before long, especially since today’s world belongs to the internet and networking all over the world.
During the occupy wall street movement, Mark Hamilton, a suburban dad in New York wrote an anti-foreclosure message in front Bank of America branch in chalk. The cops removed him from there which lead him to tweet at Bank of America stating that he was chased away by the cops while “chalkupy-ing”. But instead of understanding the context of the message or of any other consequent messages, Bank of America had an epic fail, with the customer support team asking them if they could help them with their banking accounts. The responses seemed automated and supported the claim that they were inhumane towards real people.
Try to treat customer support as a feature of your product or service. Then you can easily make the customer experience a delight and enjoy the fruit of your work with pleasure, that is immense loyalty
5. Encourage Customers to Share
Your customers are the best ambassadors for your brand, so always find a way to encourage them to share their customer with their friends and family. Customers love being the first to know about a product or services and then introducing the people in their lives to it. Keep a track of your regular customers and then notify them when you are going to start discounted sales or invite them to try a new addition to your product line. This is an excellent strategy to increase customer loyalty and turn them into your brand ambassadors.
Now everyone is in social media and it would be a good idea if you are able to pursue your customers to share their stories with photos attached to their social media accounts. Many salons and cafes have found their way to success through Instagram and Facebook. There are Instagram famous rainbow cheese sandwiches to edible accessories shops etc. Many cafes nowadays have started creating food that looks exceptional as much as they taste. The amount of creativity and effort goes into all these blows the mind of anyone and that would be the starting of their success story.
You could also try and convince your customers to share their stories by offering rewards or making it as a game. This would keep it interesting as well as attract new customers.
6. Act Upon Regular Employee Feedback
Many a times employees are ignored while you are spending your time chasing the customers. You should not forget that it is these employees that are going to execute your brilliantly crafted strategies so it is of paramount importance to have them trained and ready for it. Like you do for the customers, listen to the employees too. Identify any issue that is residing amidst the employees, because always Civil wars hurt us more than an enemy from the outside.
Usually, it is when nothing happens or too much happens, we turn our heads to the employees to listen to them. It would be too late by then. This is where continuous employee feedback comes in. It would help them to share their ideas and concerns about the company. Make sure that you are not making them feel invisible or ignored. Show them their opinions matter. There is nothing more than a confident and happy employee to impress the customers.
7. Measure the ROI From Delivering a Great Customer Experience
And finally, after implementing all these strategies carefully, how would you know if all this investment are working and paying off?
It is nearly impossible to collect customer experience accurately and that is the reason for many companies relying on Net Promoter Scores or NPS to which collect valuable information with simple and straightforward questions like “Would you recommend this company to a friend or relative?”
NPS, created by Rob Markey and Fred Reichheld at Bain and Company, is considered to be a highly suitable measure to customer experience metric. And the fact that it is really simple to deploy and measure makes it a favorite.
With such valuable feedback collected using customer feedback software, companies can implement the ideas that can enhance customer experience. The more information you get, the more ideas you can execute for your customers.
Customer expectation is skyrocketing almost touching unrealistic fantasies and the word of mouth travels faster with the internet. The empowerment customers demand increased needs to enhance customer experience. A study done by Temkin Group reveals that the number of companies getting into the good book of the customers has increased to 38% in 2017 from 18% in 2016.
Customer Experience is an area that needs consistent and persistent nurturing and care with vigilant attention given to customer experience strategies and implementing methods. You would experience a positive impact on customer loyalty with higher retention and increased revenues after the successful execution of the above-said strategies.
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