Customer experience is what happens when a customer and a business interact. It doesn’t matter if you’re B2C or B2B—any interaction is part of the customer experience. And it doesn’t finish when someone signs up to pay for your services. The customer experience is the whole customer lifecycle. From when they see your Facebook ads to when they upgrade their plan. And even, perish the thought, if they decide to part ways with you.
Needless to say, brands can live or die by the quality of the customer experience they can deliver, especially in the digital era in which user-generated content can be such a key influencer to those buying online.
Get the customer experience right, and you could not only be encouraging a loyal customer base which offers you all the advantages of repeat business, but your loyal customers become ‘brand ambassadors’ of sorts, giving you the benefits which come with word of mouth referrals.
Go wrong with your customer experience, and the opposite effect could prevail. Not only can customers be turned off your product or service and not come back, but you also risk them dissuading other potential customers from opting to buy from you.
There are no two ways about it, failure to deliver a satisfactory customer experience can have serious consequences, making a significantly negative impact on the bottom line. Research from Oracle found that companies can lose as much as 20% of their revenue if their customer experience is not up to scratch.
Want to keep your customers on your side? Follow these customer experience strategy ideas:
Create an emotional connection
Define your customer personas
Bring customer experience to the forefront of your training
Get feedback from your employees too
Use KPIs to improve the customer experience
Let’s look at them in a bit more detail.
The most powerful brands in the world keep their customers on board by creating an emotional connection with them. This can start with well researched and carefully planned advertising, which not only identifies and reaches your target audience but speaks directly to them. You need to find common ground and address their pain points by presenting your product or service as a solution. Then when the customer or potential customer comes to engage with your business, it is important to deliver a personal and empathetic service.
Think of the market trader who knows all their customers’ names off by heart, and makes a point of asking how they are each time they pass by a stall. You might be a big multi-national, but the principle stays the same. Anything you can do to personalize your service and ensure your customers know you care counts. That might be an email on their birthday, to special offers catered to their preferences, or a customer service operation which surpasses expectations when it comes to addressing customer concerns and complaints.
Customers who are more emotionally engaged are more likely to become repeat customers.
Everything becomes clearer when you define your user personas. This means pinpointing exactly the type of people you are aiming your product or service at—down to their name, occupation, likes, and dislikes. That’s right, you’ll be using your imagination, and (hopefully) a great deal of qualified research to create buyer personas based on the type of demographics your product or service can appeal to.
It’s time to get detailed and really throw yourself into the strategy by painting a picture of what these people are really like. Do they have pets? What makes them happy, sad, or angry? What do they really want in life? Are they married or single? Bring them to life. You’ll probably find that when you’ve drawn up two to three of these personas, coming up with ways to engage people along their journey becomes a whole lot simpler.
Now you can directly address the pain points of each persona and make sure that you’re ticking all the right boxes to keep them happy throughout the whole customer service experience. This is a customer experience strategy example which shows the value of investing time into your approach.
How can you ensure that you are achieving what you set out to with regards to customer personas?
You need a strategy which you can trust to deliver implementation across the customer journey. One way in which you can do this is by focusing on your customer service team. These are the superheroes who will carry out your customer experience strategies on a daily basis, so it’s pretty vital that they’re trained correctly.
Placing a huge emphasis on customer feedback, you can embed the principles of the customer experience into the training which your customer service team undergoes.
For example, has your restaurant heard reviews which say service was rushed? In that case, delivering a relaxed and personal experience can be one of your top priorities when it comes to training your team.
Or let’s say you are an insurance provider and according to a customer feedback survey you’ve conducted, the information you are providing on your packages is confusing. That means aside from creating easily digestible product information, you can train your customer service team to speak in a simplified manner and to make sure that the customer or potential customer understands everything which they have told them.
It’s important that you survey your employees on a regular basis, as well as your customers. People on your customer service team can give you a front-row view of how exactly your customer experience is being delivered and received by the customers themselves. You’ll be amazed at the ideas that your employees might have about how to improve the customer experience.
Send out an employee engagement survey every six months and see what your team love about their job and what could improve. Ask for their opinion on processes and changes. And make sure you get some 360-degree feedback so everybody gets a say.
If you forget to track how your employees are feeling about their role and their own performance, you could be missing a vital link in your integrated customer experience strategy.
So what’s the end game when it comes to delivering great customer experience?
As with any kind of business activity, key performance indicators (KPIs) are vital to measuring performance and achieving improved customer experience.
KPIs can consist of revenue, profits, or more specific indicators like the number of repeat customers, the number of new customers, or number of direct referrals. They all go towards allowing you to build a complete picture of your customer experience and how successful your strategies have been.