Why Customer Experience Matters and How to Improve It
89% of companies report they compete with other companies primarily on customer experience compared to 36% in 2010. With higher customer expectations than ever before it is crucial for businesses to create and maintain a customer experience strategy that is exceptional.
What is Customer Experience?
In its most simple terms, customer experience is the perception that customers hold towards your business and brand. Great customer experience is customer centric and has high customer engagement levels. Great customer experience is important to make sure you are a business where customers want to spend their money and will continue to come back to.
Improving customer experience should be a top priority for your marketing sales team. Whether a digital customer or an onsite vistor, each customer interaction has the potential to increase your bottom line and business reputation.
The two main touch points of customer experience are people and product. The people touch point is based on customer service and includes promoting customer loyalty and customer engagement through personalization and predictivity. The product touch point requires providing a product that customers want and will promote to their own personal network.
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The Importance of Customer Experience
With increased technological advances come more digital customer experiences. Instead of relying on doing business with companies in their immediate geographical area, the rise of digital customer engagement creates higher competition levels.
Customers can easily, and quickly, search through many businesses through their mobile devices and internet browsers. However, word of mouth is still an incredibly powerful marketing sales technique.
Digital customer reviews heavily influence your brand's reputation, whether through social media or a third party review site. Customer stories and customer feedback are easily accessible on the internet and can be a major deciding factor for consumers of any age.
Make sure to provide a consistent customer experience that focuses on each individual customer interaction as well as the customer journey in its entirety. A customer experience strategy will help you provide great customer service and an experience customers want to share with their own network.
Measuring Customer Experience
Case studies show that while 80% of businesses report that they deliver super customer experiences, a mere 8% of customers agree that their experience was exceptional. Measuring customer experience is essential to developing or optimizing your customer experience strategy in order to succeed in a competitive market.
Tips for measuring customer experience include-
1. Customer feedback analysis- Consistently provide customer satisfaction surveys, especially after important customer journey milestones. Your net promoter score is a great resource that measures the likelihood a customer will promote your brand to their network.
Make sure to use multiple data points when measuring your net promoter score. Your net promoter score should be analyzed through touchpoints across the customer journey ranging from customer service teams to digital customer communications.
When measuring customer experience comprehensively it is much easier to see where your business needs to improve. You can also identify where there is customer success and use your customer service employees who are top performers to influence other teams.
Great customer experience strategy understands the importance of following up on customer feedback directly. Engaging with both negative and positive customer reviews will deepen customer loyalty and show you are a customer-centric and customer-facing company.
2. Follow up on customer support tickets- Your help desk and contact center must be customer-centric and view customer issues as a top priority. Many businesses offer real-time digital customer support through social media messaging or contact center information details on their webpage.
If there are recurring customer interaction issues on your support tickets, your customer experience strategy likely needs to be adjusted. With a better customer experience comes less customer support tickets and a more efficient work environment.
3. Inquire about customer wants- Ask your customers themselves what improvements you can make to your product and its features. Social media forums are a great platform to host these conversations. Especially with increasing technological advancements, digital customer interactions must be considered a top priority.
Of course, you do not need to, nor should you, take every customer comment into consideration. However, if you see recurring requests and trends, your customers may be guiding you towards an improvement that could boost your bottom line.
4.- Identify customer churn triggers- Customer churn is part of the customer experience. Customer success is not always guaranteed and there are many reasons that a customer interaction may not be great. However, if there is a pattern noticeable in customer churn, analyze that pattern effectively and promptly.
Analyze your churned customers to find the reasons that customers are leaving. When you notice an increase in churn rates, take the time to look deeper into the issue and remedy it as soon as possible.
Customer Experience Management, What's it all About?
Customer experience management includes analyzing and improving customer interactions with your business. Analyzing customer touch points throughout the customer journey and looking for areas of improvement is a main focus of management.
A customer centric company has a heavy focus on customer experience management for both new and existing customers. Your business must provide not only an exceptional product and customer interaction but find ways to add value to your product over time.
Management techniques focus on creating a customer journey map, regularly requesting customer feedback, increasing customer engagement levels, and customer care opportunities. Understanding customer experience management techniques and finding opportunities to consistently exceed customer expectations are building blocks of a great business.
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The Effects of Poor Customer Experience
Poor customer experience has the potential to ruin your business's reputation and profitability. Case studies show that 54% of customers have higher customer service expectations than the previous year.
For millennials, the largest single age group represented in the United States workforce, that percentage shoots up to 66%. Word of poor customer experiences spread fast in the technological age. Your competition is also easy to locate when a customer is feeling unappreciated or unsure about your business.
Although marketing sales teams focus on digital marketing advertising campaigns, more than 50% of Americans have gone back on an intended purchase or transaction due to bad service. The great news is that customers are willing to spend more on receiving a great customer experience.
Customer loyalty is increased with every positive customer interaction you provide. 73% of consumers state that customer experience is a crucial consideration in their purchasing decisions.
Without great customer service, your customer loyalty will decrease and your entire bottom line will suffer. Many large businesses have seen the impact that a single customer interaction can have on their brand.
In extreme instances, especially when the negative customer interaction spreads through social media or the news, a company can have its entire business ruined or take a huge financial hit. For instance, a passenger removal controversy for United Airlines created an overnight $1.4 billion loss. Make sure to stay aware of social media developments, and address customer support issues swiftly and thoroughly,
Developing a Great Customer Experience
Creating and maintaining a great customer experience strategy is a best practice every business needs. Businesses are realizing that when they improve customer experience, they increase their entire bottom-line profitability.
In fact, the 2020 digital marketing trends report found that the single most exciting opportunity for businesses in the upcoming year is customer experience. Case studies have found that optimized customer experience can boost profits by an additional $700 million within three years.
That $700 million increase is a 70% increase within 36 months. Business leaders are aware of this trend, with 74% of senior executives holding the belief that good customer experience impacts customer loyalty levels.
A great customer service strategy will decrease customer churn, increase customer satisfaction levels, and boost profitability. When formulating your customer experience strategy consider the following tips-
1. Create a clear customer journey vision- Create a set of statements that your employees can follow to deliver the best customer experience possible every time. Companies like Zappos have core family values including being humble and looking for opportunities to change.
Your employees should know these customer care statements well, and be exposed to them regularly throughout their onboarding and employment.
2. Foster emotional connections- Good customer experiences depend on creating emotional connections with customers. Case studies show that over 50% of the experience is based on emotion. Emotions are motivators for decision making and have a high buying power.
Emotional attachment is a great way to increase customer loyalty. When your customers associate positive emotions with your product or service, they will likely want to come back to get more products in the future.
Emotionally engaged customers are three times more likely to repurchase items and recommend your product to others. Additionally, emotionally engaged customers are 44% less likely to go to a competitor and less impacted by pricing.
3. Know your customers personally- Understanding what customers want is crucial to developing your business's strategy. Customer-centric planning may consist of creating examples of a customer and seeing how your team would cater to that unique customer experience.
4. Obtain real-time customer feedback- Whether your help desk is located onsite or digitally, it is important to look for real-time feedback opportunities. Live chats or voice customer calls can include a customer feedback survey at the end of the interaction.
You can also go above and beyond and reach out to customers after an interaction personally to ask how their experience was. When customer feedback is tied to each specific customer service representative, it is much easier to understand where there is room for improvement.
5. Obtain real-time employee feedback- Employee feedback is invaluable to understanding how to improve your strategy. Employees know better than anyone how your company works and can give suggestions on how your business can help them best perform.
Instead of having only annual employee feedback opportunities, provide real-time surveys, social media tools, and project management software to allow continuous employee feedback.
6. Use feedback effectively- Businesses who measure customer experience must find ways to meaningfully use that feedback or else it is worthless. Take your big data and find ways to create coaching and group training opportunities for your employees whenever possible.
7. Evaluate your return on investment- Being able to take all of the big data from your customer experience strategy and show concretely how it affects your bottom line is important. Not only will this help with employee engagement but it will further motivate your team to improve customer service and experiences.
- Customer experience is the perception customers have towards a business or brand.
- Great customer experience is considered a top business priority with 89% of companies in competition with other businesses primarily on customer experience in comparison with 36% in 2010.
- Touch points for customer experience include people and product.
- While 80% of businesses believe they deliver super customer experiences, only 8% of customers agree.
- To measure customer experience consider feedback, identify churn patterns, and follow up on support tickets.
- Customer experience management helps improve customer interactions with your business and provides opportunities to analyze how it can be improved.
- A single negative customer interaction can have vast financial costs and damage your brand reputation, especially if customer stories are spread through social media or the news.
- Feedback opportunities should be regularly provided to evaluate employee experience and customer experience to increase both.
- Optimizing your customer experience can result in $700 million more in profits over 3 years, a 70% increase.
- Tips for creating and maintaing a great customer experience strategy range from creating a clear customer journey vision to using feedback effectively.