The customer experience is vital in customer retention and loyalty. You may have been a customer yourself most of the time and you know how terribly frustrating bad customer experience can be. The way your customers feel and think about your company can have an impact on your bottom line. It can make a huge difference between brand loyalty or going with a competitor.
Customers expect a lot from businesses nowadays. For over 70% of customers, speed, convenience, helpful employees, and friendly service are important to them. Unfortunately, this is an area where a lot of businesses fail. Customer experience drives over 2/3 of customer loyalty outperforming brand and price combined. More than 70% of companies say that they struggle with customer experience and in achieving results.
If you want to keep customers on your side of the fence, you need to ensure that they get positive customer experiences. Learning how to boost customer experience can offer a wide range of benefits for your business. In this article, we shall cover the following topics:
1. What is Customer Experience?
2. Importance of Customer Experience
3. Customer Service vs Customer Experience
4. Components of Good Customer Experience
5. Steps on Improving Customer Experience
What is Customer Experience (CE)?
Customer experience represents a customer’s overall sentiment of every interaction that they have with your company. It includes activities such as website navigation, talking to customer service, or receiving the product/service they bought from you. Everything you do can have an impact on how customers will think and feel about your business. It determines whether customers will come back or not to do business with you. Thus, delivering great customer experience is key to successfully getting and retaining the business of your customer.
CE accounts for everything from what happens during a support phone call to the overall customer experience. A positive customer experience can serve as a catalyst for customer loyalty while a negative experience can influence potential prospects even before they get in touch with your reps. Boosting customer experience can be good for your business.
Delivering good customer experience is what will set you apart from your competition. Customers have the option to do business with you or choose one of your competitors. Their choice can be influenced by the kind of experience you deliver to them.
Now more than ever, you need to focus on enhancing your customer experience. According to the 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report, 86% of customers will pay more for better customer experience. This was validated by the 2011 Customer Service Survey of American Express which found that 70% of Americans are willing to spend an average of 13% more with companies who provide excellent customer service.
Importance of Customer Experience
Keeping customers happy is the best way to ensure their loyalty to your business. Customer experience may seem like an additional expense for you. However, your investment in customer experience will add real value to your company offering. Customers expect a lot from businesses nowadays.
More companies now realize the value of creating a positive customer experience. If you don’t have a customer experience strategy yet, you are losing business to competitors. Here are 5 reasons why you should give importance on how to boost customer experience.
1. Customer satisfaction is more important than ever
In order to exceed customer’s expectations, you have to deliver top-notched customer experience. Companies around the world have an average customer satisfaction rate of 86%. You need to be dependable, accurate, and be true to your promise of delivering the services you guaranteed. Customer satisfaction can bring 2.6 times as much revenue to your business.
Ensure consistency of customer experience across all touchpoints to exceed business goals and your customer standards. This way, you are ensuring a positive customer experience.
2. New shoppers are more likely to become loyal customers
Acquiring new customers is 7 times more costly than retaining the current ones. Nurturing current customers will pay off in the long run and it’s only a matter of time that you will see positive results. But what if customers are not happy?
One of the things that can impact brand reputation is how you handle customer complaints. Delivering excellent customer service can help with developing brand loyalty. How you respond to unhappy customers will dictate whether or not they still choose to do business with you.?
As much as possible, you would want to have positive feedback all the time but, you cannot always please everybody. Whenever there’s negative feedback, you should always respond politely and ensure customers that you are doing your best to resolve their issue. Make them feel that they are being heard and cared for. 95% of people who had a bad experience are willing to give brands another chance if the issue has been dealt with properly.
3. Customer advocacy can be a powerful tool
One cannot deny the power of word-of-mouth advertising. The fact of the matter is that 84% of customers do not trust adverts anymore. Customers are now looking for third-party validation when buying online. Learning how to boost customer experience can help turn customers into advocates.
4. Standing out is no longer an issue
In a highly competitive industry, it can be hard to stand out from the competition especially when they are sharing the same thing. Delivering excellent customer experience is the perfect outlet for standing out from the competition. No longer will customers compare cost and products but service and user experience as well.
Customer feedback can also prove invaluable to your business. If you cannot have access to other customer’s experience with a brand, they would look elsewhere to be confident with what they will buy. Customers read reviews to determine the quality of the customer experience of a business.
5. Building trust is important in uncertain times
There are hundreds of brands and adverts that are reaching out to customers making building strong relationships with them a challenging task. The key is to make each one of your customers feel special and unique. Make them feel that they are cared for and important to your business. Doing so will increase the likelihood of building trust with your customers.
Customer Service vs Customer Experience
Many people consider customer experience and customer service as the same thing. However, they are slightly different. Customer service is the interaction between a company and a customer during a sale and after. It is just one aspect of customer experience while interacting with a brand.
Customer service includes skill sets that your customer service team possess so that they can address customer needs. It is the human element in the customer journey and the voice that represents your organization. Customer experience encompasses every interaction between the customer and your company.
Nevertheless customer service and customer experience are both essential to the success of your organization. Customers consider the whole picture when buying your products and services so you should as well.
Components of Good Customer Experience
The goal of good customer experience is to keep your customer satisfied throughout the whole journey. Research conducted by McKinsey, Forrester, and KPMG revealed that good customer experience is synonymous with increased engagement and economic performance. To ensure customer satisfaction, the survey tells that you should focus on the following components:
1. Creating an omnichannel experience
Nowadays, it is not enough to have just a website to reach out to your potential customers. They can come from anywhere so you need to cover all the bases. Aside from a website, your company should also have social media accounts, a phone line, and a shop. You should integrate online and offline channels and align them with your content, tone of voice, and brand image.
Most customers consider convenience when choosing channels. For example, not having to register twice when moving from the website to the customer service portal will be seen positively by customers. With an omnichannel experience, you have to make different departments collaborate with each other ensuring that their online initiatives align with the offline and vice versa.
2. Deliver quality experience
Ensure that your customer experience is unique from others. Take the example of companies like Amazon and Apple whose customer experience techniques should be emulated by your company. To ensure quality experience, it will be a good idea to have set standards and make sure that they are respected.
3. Offer a personalized experience
You need to provide customers with offerings that are tailored for their needs. It is becoming necessary to offer customers a dedicated experience. To do this, you need to discover characteristics such as their interests, their needs to be addressed, and others. By doing this, you will be able to offer them the most suitable product that can best address their needs. You can suggest products and services that are aligned with what the customers actually expect.
4. Being empathetic
Empathy means being able to relate to customers not just in an educated manner but also putting yourselves in their shoes. Understanding your customer’s doubts will allow you to offer more credible and convincing explanations and advice because of your genuineness.
The first people who should be engaged with your brand are your employees themselves. You can organize workshops, conventions, or create an online community in order to create a positive working environment.
5. Take advantage of technology
The four components above can be strategic in ensuring a successful customer experience. However, you can strengthen them by utilizing technology. However, it cannot replace the human relationship between brand and customer. All five components should be nurtured through the dedication of company staff members.
How To Improve Customer Experience
How your customers think or feel about your brand can make a huge difference between a customer becoming your advocate or going with a competitor. Research revealed that 89% of companies compete on customer experience. It’s not just your customer service or any dedicated department that should deliver positive customer experience. Every touch point should be an opportunity for you to enhance customer experience. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to boost customer experience and win leads to your side.
1. Illustrate the customer journey
Before embarking on a company wide initiative, it might be a good move to have a strategy first. Creating a customer journey map can be a good starting point. It is an outline of every step your customers go through when interacting with your company. It includes engagements that go beyond just the purchase such as social media engagements, online advertising, and customer service.
Mapping out all the interactions into one spectrum can make it easier for everyone on your team to visualize the overall customer experience. At the same time, it will improve their individual understanding of customer needs and expectations. As a result, they can better identify possible gaps between desired and current performance and refocus efforts on new areas of customer experience that could be improved.
2. Audit customer experience from multiple internal perspectives
Since customer experience can have an impact on every aspect of your business, it is vital that you focus not only on one department when conducting an audit of customer experience. Customers interact with your business from different channels. In order to get the whole picture of customer experience, you will need to look at it from the perspective of your various departments.
Examples of perspectives you can look at are from marketing, sales, and customer service. These departments get the bulk of your customers so it is important for them to deliver top-notched customer experience.
3. Dedicate a clear focus on the initiative
Boosting customer experience does not happen overnight. For this reason, you need to be completely focused on this new initiative. Delegate someone to do the execution of your customer experience plan. You can create a Customer Success Department. The job of this department is to communicate changes, facilitate operations, organize research analysis, and other necessary actions.
4. Distribute customer experience data to your entire team
Make sure that everyone has a copy of your findings. This will allow your entire company to be on the same page as you are. Keep your employees in the loop with whatever findings you have found from your research.
5. Learn from churn when it happens
Research from Bain & Company reveals that increasing customer retention by 5% can generate a revenue increase of 25% to 95%. Low engagement usually means higher customer churn. To deal with this, create an engagement correlation to help identify customers with the highest churn rate. You can use user app analytics to determine the percentage of engagement that will result in the highest likelihood of churn.