If you want to stand out as the go-to business in your niche, you should consider a customer experience strategy. The customer experience (or CX) can be defined as the interactions your customer has with your business from first contact to a loyal customer.
It takes focus to discover what your target audience wants to experience. Therefore, when you know this you can personalise the experience to satisfy their needs. If you want them to remain loyal, you must invest in their experience. This is where an effective customer experience strategy comes into play…
A customer experience strategy is a defined plan on how to increase customer satisfaction and engagement with your business or brand. This is across all stages from discovery, initial contact, to the post-purchase experience.
To be effective, it’s important to understand the customer journey and implement your strategy throughout every part of this journey.
In a nutshell, the customer experience strategy defines all the actionable plans in place by your business to deliver the most meaningful experience to your customers across all their interactions with you.
These stats from Forbes identify why customer experience is important:
This highlights that to meet the ever-growing needs of customers there must be a focus on designing optimal experiences. Moreover, identifying and addressing critical pain points across the customer journey.
According to Kolsky, 91% of customers who are unhappy with a brand will just leave without complaining.
In addition to this, Dimensional Research has reported that after a bad customer experience, 39% of customers will avoid a company for two years.
Like any strategy, it’s important, to begin with, a vision. With customer experience, it’s important to define your customer-focused vision and communicate it to your employees in your business. To define your vision, you’ll need to create a number of statements that act as guidance to what you want to achieve.
As an example, Amazon aims to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. To raise the bar of the customer experience by using the internet and technology. Also, to help consumers find, discover, and buy anything.
By defining these principles, it’ll then drive the behaviour of your business, therefore employees will understand them, and refer to them to guide how they interact with customers. Through, training and development you can also further embed this into your business.
If your business is going to deliver the best customer experience you really need to understand your customers so you can connect and empathise with them on their level. Who are they? What motivates them? These are crucial questions to answer and will allow you to segment your customers and help build customer personas to shape your customer experience strategy.
It’s important to consider giving each persona or customer profile a defined name and identity. For example, Dave is 36, he loves technology and watching video tutorials. Suzi, who is 49, isn’t keeping up with new technology and would need to have instructions clearly written on a web page.
By defining these customer personas, it allows your business to be able to identify, what individual customers need, therefore, they can tailor the best possible customer experience towards them.
Your employees are so important in creating the best possible customer experience. Why? Because the best customer experiences are made when they create an emotional connection with the customer. Customers become loyal because they feel emotionally attached and remember how they feel when they’ve used your product or service.
Ways in which your employees can develop an emotional connection with your customers:
What are the best ways to achieve this? Employ people who identify with and can apply a customer experience mindset, even if they are not customer-facing. As well as that, above all else, pay attention to the small details, customers’ likes, dislikes, birthdays, mood, etc, so you can act upon it, and personalise the interaction/experience.
When customers interact with your business it’s crucial that they have a positive user experience (UX) if you want them to become loyal customers. UX design is therefore key where customers enter the relationship, for example, your business website.
Here’s a couple of UX design tips to consider:
How do you know if your customer experience strategy is working if you don’t seek feedback? Continuous employee feedback can allow team members to share ideas on how to improve customer experience and management can also identify how employees are feeling towards the company. This can be achieved by using social media tools to create closed groups where your business can leave continuous feedback that can be acted upon quickly and efficiently.
The same question can be applied to customers. How do you know if you are providing the customer experience that they are seeking? Until you ask them or provide the tools for them to give honest feedback you don’t! Tools to consider include live chat tools to have real-time conversations, and emails to your customers with post-interaction questionnaires. You can even make outbound sales calls to gain more insightful feedback, but remember this might actually dent your user experience, as not all customers will appreciate being contacted without prior consent!
Firstly, customers are now more informed than ever. They don’t need to wait to see your ads, direct email, or have contact from your sales team to make a purchase. They can actively research their options using search engines, and company websites to make informed buying decisions.
This is where an effective content marketing strategy comes into play. When used effectively it can demonstrate knowledge, expertise and educate the customer. Therefore it’ll take your audience on a journey, having them engage with your content every step of the way.
Examples of content marketing that will benefit the customer experience include blog articles that are a fantastic way of demonstrating expertise on a particular topic whilst giving some top tips and advice along the way.
Infographics provide a visual aid to pull out key information that you want to get across to your audience. Therefore, work well for an audience that is time-sensitive, however, they’re time-consuming to create.
Thought-leadership features provide detailed research into the topic, pulling in key statistics to back up your story. Video can provide a personal touch or animation. Case studies are a great way of showcasing your key achievements and experience first-hand. Whatever, you choose it’s important to understand what your target audience will prefer, this will help to enhance the customer experience.
Other areas to consider include your social media strategy, and SEO strategy so your content can be found, and you can keep your customers informed about what is going on within your business.
It’s a difficult task for businesses to effectively measure how good their customer experience is, so many companies use the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This collects valuable information from one question:
‘Based on your experience with [company name], how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?’
The answer is on a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being not likely, and 10 being very likely.
This is a highly effective question, as many companies use it as a standard customer experience measurement, and it is easy to implement, and not time-consuming for the customer.
Nothing stays the same forever. A happy customer one day can quickly turn into a dissatisfied one the next. But how do you minimise this and ensure that you are striving to provide the best customer experience that you possibly can?
The answer is to adopt a continuous improvement approach. We like to think of it as a continuous loop of research, implementation, feedback, adapt. By doing this you are constantly learning about your customers, and you can then provide them with the type of customer experience that they desire. If you do this right you will create loyal customers, ones that will actively promote your business through word of mouth, and positive online reviews.
Customer experience is an area of your business that needs to be constantly monitored. With an added focus on customer experience strategy, your business can realise many benefits including; higher customer retention, increased revenue growth, word of mouth promotion from existing customers, and increased customer loyalty.
Finally, are you unsure where to begin with your customer experience strategy? Or need help rethinking your marketing strategy to enhance customer experience? Drop us a line and we’d be happy to discuss your situation.