Customer Experience (CX) is an up and coming business area, helping to fuel customer understanding and business growth in organisations across the globe.
The leaders who embrace customer experience as the key to customer engagement, customer retention and ultimately increased customer spend, will see revenue soar this year.
You can improve your customer experience in so many ways, and it all starts with learning about how your customers interact with you, what they expect from you and talking to them to understand if you’re meeting their expectations. Taking it back to basics by meeting customer needs is the best foundation for your CX project, from there the world is your oyster!
But how exactly do you improve CX? We’ll answer that question and so much more in this blog.
Where do I start?
It’s best to start by looking at your CX goals. What do you want to achieve? What do you need to achieve to support the wider organisation goals?
Whether you’re looking to drive increased brand loyalty, create organic brand advocates or simply reduce your customer’s pain points, having a customer experience strategy is essential.
Nail down your goals early on, so you can make sure you have the right data and analytics in place to measure any improvements or successes.
Metrics could include having more satisfied customers, increased sales conversions, business growth or looking at more traditional metrics like CSAT or NPS.
Check out our recent blog for more on what customer experience metrics are and their role in your business.
Once you have goals and metrics, you should seek to bring both your employees and your customers with you on the journey.
Communicate clearly with them so they know what to expect, ask them to input, gather their valuable insights on your current customer experience.
What works well? What hooked in new customers? Which elements are currently a poor customer experience?
Evaluate your current customer experience practices
You may not think you have current customer experience practices, this might be your first time formalising an approach to CX.
That doesn’t mean you won’t already be doing a huge amount right for your customers, or meeting customer expectations with lots of your current ways of working.
It’s crucial when you’re looking to improve customer experience CX, that you don’t accidentally throw the baby out with the bath water.
Change for the sake of change isn’t always a positive, so identify early on which elements of your customer journeys your customers love.
Which elements actually increase customer loyalty – and protect them.
Make sure the changes you make don’t negatively impact your customers, and lead to an improved customer experience.
Customer journey mapping can be a useful tool for highlighting key moments and pain points, as well as documenting customer expectations and capturing diversity and inclusion considerations in one place.
Customer experience training
Having a clear goal, metrics and even a customer journey map won’t be enough on their own however.
Your customer experience is impacted by every single employee in your organisation, whether they are customer facing or not.
If you want to deliver a positive experience then everyone needs to fully understand their role in your customer experience and which customer interactions they can influence.
Delivering regular customer experience training, building a customer experience module into all employee inductions and supporting your teams to learn from issues when they occur are all important.
We’d highly recommend having a customer experience training element to your overall CX strategy to ensure a continued focus on improving.
Follow the customer journey
It may be that you’re already fully aware of your customer behavior, and you could be doing a lot right. The best way to know for sure, is to ask your customers how satisfied they are and how well you’re doing.
If you then apply that feedback to an end to end customer journey map, you’ll be able to break down each stage of their journey with you in detail.
Scrutinise each step – is it customer centric, easy and intuitive?
Driving customer satisfaction doesn’t always mean spending more, or hiring more employees. Sometimes you can actually save money, make things simpler or make a cost free change that will align better with what your customers expect.
Our best practices
The truth is, there’s no one size fits all approach – what’s needed and what will work to improve customer engagement, spending and retention can vary hugely from one business to another.
What we do know, is that our approach has won our clients awards for great customer experience, and that they’ve seen an uplift in NPS, CSAT and revenue by working with us, so the following approach can go a long way towards creating better customer experiences.
Define your business goals
Make sure everyone is clear on what needs to happen, why and by when. Then tie back any customer experience work to those wider goals.
Assess your current culture and readiness for change
If your team has seen countless change initiatives, all of which have passed in time, they might not take this next one as seriously as you’d like – and who can blame them?
Once you know where you are, how ready your team is and whether your organisational values are currently reflected in your customer experience, you’re ready to start work.
Engage your team in the customer experience change
Get them involved from the beginning, and utilise their extensive knowledge and audience insights to see your customer experience through fresh eyes.
Let them lead on gathering customer feedback and identifying gaps in your customer experience, that way they’ll be invested in solving the problems they helped identify.
Ensure you have representation from your marketing team
When creating a journey map, or just workshopping a new process, involve key stakeholders from your marketing team, your sales department, your ops team – anyone who has a stake in the process, or end to end journey needs to get a say in what the new solution looks like.
There’s no point creating the best customer experience ever, if no one wants to deliver it or thinks it’s possible!
Aim for some quick wins that take you closer to your business goals
Whether it’s growing your visibility on social media channels, increasing positive reviews from customers or reducing inbound call volumes, giving your teams a quick win they can get behind that shows your customers are responding well to any change can be crucial.
Set the expectations that poor customer experience isn’t a one off problem
You can’t fix the customer experience and then drift back to your day jobs – more problems will occur, customer expectations will change, available technology changes.
Your drive to improve customer experience needs to be constant, agile and relentless if your business is going to compete when it comes to CX.
With 80% of businesses believing they deliver an excellent customer experience and only 8% of customers agreeing, it’s clear that most businesses have room for improvement.
If you have a customer experience strategy already then that’s a fantastic place to start, just make sure you keep up the momentum and share any wins to maintain team engagement in the strategy.
If you don’t yet have a customer experience strategy, or you have a less formal set of customer objectives then there’s never been a better time to review them.
Delivering on what customers expect can improve word of mouth marketing, increase customer retention, drive increased spend per customer and even reduce employee churn.
It’s crucial to have customer experience representation in your business, whether it’s a full time CX lead or a seat on the board to help keep the ship steady.
The first step to improve customer experience is to want to though, so if you’re reading this then you are already streets ahead of so many businesses.
You understand the value of listening to your customers and meeting their needs. Your customers are important to you.
Do something with that knowledge, use your understanding and passion to drive customer experience forward in your business and watch as you reap the rewards that come from improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
CX really could be the key to your business growth.