“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
This may seem like a rather simplified statement on customer experience but Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, does hit the nail on the head with it.
It’s natural to confuse customer experience with customer service or customer care; and although they are all mutually essential to customer satisfaction, customer experience or CX as it is called, is a sum of all the contact that is ever made with a customer. This includes how the customer first discovered the product, then shopped for it, followed by using it, and then every occurrence/emotion associated with the product. While customer service is all about answering questions and helping customers use a product or troubleshooting problems, CX is the entire customer lifecycle – a customer’s physical, emotional and psychological connection at every touchpoint with a product. It is a proactive and holistic approach to customer satisfaction, one that stays with the customer as long as the brand is with him/her.
The importance of CX
According to the 2017 Gartner Customer Experience in Marketing Survey, by 2020, 81% of marketers responsible for customer experience expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX. Forrester has revealed that improving customer experience is a top priority for 72% of businesses.
So what gives CX such an immense standing? Customer experience helps by achieving the following:
Enhances customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is all about keeping the promises you made and delivering the products or services you guaranteed. Delivering good and consistent CX ensures customer satisfaction and loyalty, which increases customer lifetime value (CLV) in turn.
Sets the path for customer advocacy
According to a Temkin Group report, after having a positive experience with a company, 77% of customers would recommend it to a friend. A great way to make this work for business is to deliver well on customer experience. A content customer becomes a brand ambassador who speaks for the business. He or she is a precious possession in a world of potential customers who don’t trust adverts anymore. A customer advocate is a walking and talking advertisement, reaching out to a market in a way that regular marketing cannot accomplish.
Improves business KPIs
Aligning a customer experience strategy improves KPIs, enhances customer engagement and reduces customer churn. This has a direct impact on revenues. In fact, the Temkin Group report stated that a moderate increase in CX generates an average revenue increase of $823 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues!
Helps beat competition
There are thousands of companies offering a multitude of products. How does one stand out in the crowd? Delivering an enviable customer experience gives businesses a competitive edge and helps make an impact even in volatile markets.
Steps to create a customer experience strategy
The American Express 2017 Customer Service Barometer declared that eight in 10 Americans (81%) believe that businesses are meeting or exceeding their expectations for service, compared to 67% in 2014. The report also disclosed that seven in 10 US consumers admitted to spending more money for great service.
These numbers are indicative of the need of the hour – a powerful CX strategy. There are many big and small ways to create a customer experience strategy that works magic. But let’s focus on key areas:
Put your customers above everything else
From understanding who your customers are, what they want and need, to creating personas, find out who you are doing this for. And then, create a distinct customer experience vision.
Make it convenient beyond your customer’s imagination
No one likes to wait over the weekend – to get questions answered, to buy a product or to fix a problem. So be available 24/7, 365 days, if you can. Be around, start to finish. And make customer support a high-quality product in itself.
A customer will always remember how you made him/her feel. Saying the right thing is what draws the thin line between a customer engaging with your positively, or turning and walking out the door never to come back.
Ask for feedback
It’s as simple as that. Ask your customers if you are delivering a remarkable customer experience. And then, ask your employees if they believe the business is doing a good job with CX. The two-way answers should help you power up your strategy.
Keep the system well-oiled
Having a good CX strategy is a work in progress. So ensure your development system for your support team is upgraded and kept efficient round the clock. Understand the need for coaching, and have a compelling training schedule in place, so your team knows what is expected of them.
Track your ROI
This one is basic. If your CX strategy is paying off, you will see direct reflections of it in your business KPIs. A tip here though: don’t get caught up in focusing on ROIs alone. A good CX strategy needs innovation, personalization, and constant assessment. So keep at it.
Read more: Key Customer Experience (CX) Activities 2018
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