You need to keep your customers happy if you want them to stay loyal. The happier they are with a brand and the customer experience strategy it provides, the higher are the chances of a customer staying with your business.
Customer Experience (CX) is defined as the interactions that happen between a customer and an organization throughout their business relationship. Customer Experience is an important part of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and it is important because the chances of a customer visiting your store again or doing business with you again solely depend on how you treat the customer in the first instance. A study by Oracle states that more than 74% of senior executives strongly agree that customer experience affects highly on a customer becoming an advocate for your business.
According to the Forrester analysis published in the Harvard Business Review, 13% of companies said that they will strive to provide the best customer experience and would not compromise on that. This means that more than 87% of companies are content providing their customers with an experience that is less than ideal.
Isn’t Customer Experience the Same as Customer Service?
The first instance where a customer interacts with the company is usually with an employee, mostly a customer service executive. This is an opportunity for you to provide great customer service.
Let’s say they have ordered a product from your website, getting the product delivered as promised is an example of good customer service. You upgrading the customer’s shipping for free and sending the product earlier than expected is a part of good customer experience. This is the difference between the two.
The world has changed so quickly these days that customers rarely have to interact with a person from the company, most of the processes can be automated, thanks to technology. Something as simple as using a CRM software means that you have a lot of data that is ample proof of what a customer usually buys, how much they spend, where they are located, demographics of the family and so on. You can use such data to deliver terrific customer experience across all channels.
Customer Service will remain important for the years to come, but there is a slight change about it is the only focus, the main focus has shifted to creating a customer experience strategy that makes customers loyal to you.
What is Customer Experience Strategy?
If you consider Customer Experience as each stage of interaction for a customer with a business, then think of Customer Experience Strategy as an actionable plan whose aim is to deliver a superior experience for each and every customer.
When you are devising a Customer Experience Strategy, make sure that you include all the areas where a customer interacts with the business and not only where a customer service executive interacts with the customer. Improving the Customer Experience and forging a relationship that works for the organization as well as all stakeholders involved in the goal.
What is a Great Customer Experience?
Before you set out on creating a Customer Experience Strategy, it is imperative that you know and understands what a CX Strategy means in the first place. The parts of what makes a great CX strategy are as follows:
- Experts: Employees who know everything about the product or service and can offer an explanation to a customer without using jargons and in simple words.
- Providing ample information: Not always do customers prefer talking to your customer service executives, this is why you need to give out as much information about your products/service on your website or any other area where potential customers can access information.
- Being available: Imagine a customer trying to find your business details like email address or a phone number, but it is impossible because your website does not mention a way for the customer to get in touch with you. Always provide your contact details in as many places and formats as possible.
- Resolving issues: Yes, it is extremely likely that your product or service might have shown some issues, but it is not all right if you cannot take necessary steps to rectify the issue at hand or offer methods for the customer to take the right action.
What Should a Customer Experience Strategy do?
A Customer Experience strategy is supposed to do the following:
- Create a framework for the ideal customer experience.
- Publishes a framework for employees to give the best possible experience for the customers.
- Allocates budget for CX activities.
- Helps focus on each department so that there is no stone unturned in terms of providing a stellar Customer Experience.
Benefits of Creating a CX Strategy:
- It eliminates bad customer experience for the customer by improving the process.
- Creates innovative solutions to empower the business.
- It helps shift the employee’s mindset from goals that are entirely tuned towards giving an almost perfect customer experience.
- Builds long-term relationships with customers by ironing out any gaps at various customer touch points.
- It helps you provide better features, increases functionalities and offers superior support service.
- Minimizes customer churn.
- Changes in the mindset of the company towards bettering the previous performance.
- Will lead to your customers becoming advocates for your brand.
How Can You Create a Customer Experience Strategy?
The average customer’s expectations are rising and companies should be on a war footing to create a pleasant experience for everyone interacting with their brand. So the question is how you can create a superior Customer Experience which will trump everything that your competitor does, in turn, bringing you more business and loyalty. Here are some of the ways in which you can create a Customer Experience Strategy that will propel your business towards success.
1. Have a Clear Vision about Your Customer Experience
Before you create something, you need to be sure what is it that you want from the entire process. Having a vision and clarity in what you want to accomplish is pivotal as your customer is the most important stakeholder in your business. The easiest way is to have a vision statement that can guide you during the process of creating a strategy.
For example, Amazon, one of the world’s leading retail and tech giant and Jeff Bezos, its CEO, are known to be insanely obsessed with customers. This is why every project or product at Amazon starts with a press release where they feature customer’s quotes. “Obsessing over customer experience is the only long-term defensible competitive advantage,” Bezos has said. During every meeting, they reserve a seat for the customer which is a way of saying that every meeting and discussion has to keep the customers in mind.
When your vision is clear, it would be easier to operate and take things forward by driving the entire organization. Inculcate the emotion and ethics of having the highest standards for the customer and expect only the best from the employees, you are on the way to become a top class company.
2. Identify Who Your Customers are
Finding who your customers are, how they behave, their likes and dislikes and more is an important part of creating a Customer Experience Strategy. You need to be able to understand where your customers come from, not in terms of their location, but why they behave the way they do. Empathize with your customers and you will be able to create a strategy that helps in improving the customer experience for your customers.
Create Customer Personas to understand the type of customers that you need to be targeting. For example, if you sell luxurious shoes, then your customer would not be someone who earns the average income in your country. In fact, you need to look out for C-suite executives, startup owners, rich people, pop stars, popular athletes and so on. Each of them mentioned above is a persona for you and you need to target them accordingly.
By creating Customer Personas you would be able to help your customer support executive to be more mindful of customer’s needs whilst being able to customize the offering based on what they might be expecting.
3. Convenience of Service and Purchase
Customers these days are highly empowered to discover information about your products, services and every single detail about the company. It is your duty to make sure that all windows of service are easily available as an option for all the customers. You must do this to be in a good relationship with the customers. In this time and age when there are chat-bots which have almost replaced a layer of communication if you still take two days to reply to a customer’s email, you are missing out on a lot of goodwill. Provide your customers with the ability to get all the information without having to contact the company.
Allow the ability for a customer to shop in a way they like, this could include the ability to find you through any platform, being able to make payments using a variety of options and introducing any sort of convenience to them according to their whims and fancies. Reduce as much friction as possible when you allow customers to purchase any of your products.
4. Collect Customer Feedback at Regular Intervals
Let’s assume that you have been dealing with a client for quite some time now but you have not taken any feedback from them. These are some of the things that you could be missing out on:
- Not knowing what they actually think about your product
- Being unaware if they are facing any difficulties during any process of the purchase cycle
- Not knowing about the possibility of them choosing a new vendor because of certain difficulties that you are never aware of because you didn’t ask for feedback.
There are so many feedback mechanisms available which need to be employed at different customer touchpoints. Make a call as soon as you finish a transaction with a customer. Get on a call to ask simple questions about their experience with the brand.
It is important that you get feedback from the employees as well, it could be about improving their working conditions or improving the customer experience, all of which have a direct impact on how the end customer is treated. It could also tell you what your employees think about their working environment and is a marker for you to see if you need to better the employee experience too.
5. Omni-channel Approach
What is Omni-channel? It is defined as a multi-channel approach to marketing, sales and serving customers in a way that the customer experience doesn’t change across different platforms. In short, it means that the customer experience should be the same across all channels.
If you want to have an Omni-channel approach as an important part of your customer experience, then you need to consult with all the stakeholders to discuss how you want the customer experience to be like across all channels.
The need to create a Customer Experience Strategy has never been this high. They are highly empowered these days and only want the best for themselves, especially given the fact that there are so many companies that will do the bidding for them. Customer Experience is an area whose process needs to be refined with great patience, consideration, and importance. Start improving your Customer Experience Strategy with the points that we have outlined above.