The link between a superior customer experience and increased revenue is clear, with almost all brands who actively work on their customer experience reporting an uplift in revenue.
How a well thought out and implemented customer experience strategy impacts sales however is subjective – with so many great tools for businesses to use to make the most of their customer journey, we thought we’d round up some of our favourites for you here.
With 86% of brands actively working on their CX reporting an increase in revenue, and loyal customers spending on average 67% more than brand new ones, it’s easy to see the link between customer experience and sales.
The more you consider your customers and their needs and expectations, the easier it will be to hit your sales targets – it’s really that simple!
Sales have always been a people business. Customer relationship managers, membership engagement teams, and account managers – all have one main job, to keep the money coming into the business by getting to know their customers.
By linking your sales approach to your wider customer experience strategy, and ensuring that your CX strategy helps add back into the sales pot too, you can stop leaving so much to chance and aim for consecutive quarters hitting targets that you know your team, your business and let’s face it, your customers deserve.
Why does customer experience affect sales?
Before we get into the how let’s look at the why. When we think about our own experiences as a customer it’s often the case that if we enjoy an experience somewhere, we’ll want to return.
We might spend more the next time because we already trust the business in question, and if we enjoy ourselves we’ll want to shout about our positive experience to others too.
Creating satisfied customers isn’t rocket science, but unless you have a dedicated focus on customer experience management, your customer journey is too open to chance, where something could go wrong, it probably will.
Instead, if you deliberately build in a customer experience strategy that keeps customers happy, keeps them coming back and even wins you, new customers, most companies will start to see revenue growth and customer retention rates follow.
What is the impact of dissatisfied customers on sales?
In such a competitive market where our customers no longer need to get in the car and drive to our competition, it’s worth being acutely aware that you aren’t your customer’s only option, so if anything goes wrong, if they don’t feel valued or if it’s simply too difficult to work with you, they can find a replacement at a click of a button.
Not only do they have more choices than ever before, but if they aren’t happy they can spread their story quickly using social media channels.
Their in-store experiences no longer have to stay in the store, or simply spread by word of mouth, they can go global in just a matter of moments.
The great news is that even on the rare occasion when something does go wrong in your business, customers are pretty forgiving.
Did you know that actually, you can create strong customer loyalty in someone who has experienced an issue with your brand as long as it’s handled well then you’ll find in a customer who just had a smooth experience with you from the start.
There’s so much at stake that prioritising customer experience within your budget is now a business-critical decision.
Managing customer expectations
Your product or service isn’t the only factor that determines whether your customer shops with you or with someone else.
Of course, you need to produce good quality, and you need to give great value, but it’s also the softer less tangential elements that need to be looked after to retain more customers.
Your customer’s expectations are often set before they ever speak to an employee, they can be created by your marketing efforts, your online reviews, and your reputation. The expectations are then either confirmed by your sales team or potentially altered, depending on how their interaction goes.
Either way, your customer’s expectations for the entire customer journey are often set right at the start with your sales and marketing. If those expectations aren’t set clearly or are set at a higher standard than your operations can deliver, you’re potentially asking for trouble.
Meeting expectations = brand loyalty
Instead, use clear customer segments to understand your customer’s needs and expectations, focus on checking you’re meeting those expectations and work to fix any over-exuberant sales efforts in favour of a more realistic but tailored sales approach.
Your customer’s experience will be fair smoother if they have realistic expectations set by the sales and marketing teams, and if those expectations are then handed off smoothly between departments during the customer onboarding.
It’s a very simple fact that when a complaint arises in any business, it’s usually because something either happened that the customer wasn’t expecting, or something didn’t happen that they were expecting. Expectations management can be a very important factor in determining your customer satisfaction levels.
Using the customer journey map to improve customer satisfaction
The only way to be sure you have a strong customer experience is to work with your customers to see their journey through their eyes and plot out a customer journey map that goes into detail on every single touchpoint (or interaction) they have with your business.
Find out how they feel about each step, how they knew to take that step, how they know what to do next and which elements of the journey are critical to them.
With a clear journey map, you’ll be able to spot any issues that cause your customers frustration, prioritise fixes and start to increase customer retention.
You’ll be working towards a deliberately planned and carefully executed customer experience that leaves nothing to chance.
How to use customer feedback to drive a positive customer experience
Feedback is so important. Without it, you risk creating a customer experience based on your own assumptions of what your customers want or need.
You might have a strong grasp of what that is, but if the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that customer needs can change, as can ways of working and technology.
The only way to be sure we understand how our customers experience our business is to ask. Start with surveys, and customer focus groups, and look at your customer behaviour.
Do existing customers behave differently from new ones? Have they got different expectations? Understanding your customer types and making it as easy as possible for them to all feedback in a convenient way, will ensure you have plenty of data to use when building any customer processes.
Your customer interactions whether in person, via mobile apps or digital should all be designed with the feedback of the people who experience them to enhance customer experience.
Should you invest more in customer experience to increase sales?
Customer experience should be a whole team effort, with every single employee in the business understanding their role in the customer journey, and the impact their role has on driving loyalty and sales.
By investing in customer training for everyone in the business you can spark innovation, increase engagement with the customer strategy and end up with a natural team of brand champions, all able to do their bit to contribute to driving revenue.
Happy customers are more enjoyable to work with!
Not only can customer experience increase sales and revenue, but it also goes hand in hand with a positive employee experience.
If you can get both right then your employee churn reduces, employees stick around longer and the knowledge and skills in the business get stronger over time – also adding to the positive customer experience.
Companies investing in their customer experience report an increase in revenue, in short, by delighting your customers or even just delivering what you say you will, you’ll see a return on any investment into the customer experience.
Digital customer experience
The online experience should be simple, easy to navigate and offer your customer the ability to self-serve, finding whatever they need to without having to call you.
The smoother the digital experience is, the more likely you are to convert sales online – but don’t panic, if you aren’t selling a physical product and don’t have an online shop, you can still have a smooth and intuitive online journey that leads to more enquiries.
The importance of personalized experiences
Personalisation offers a lot of benefits, with Salesforce reporting that 84% of consumers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. In a digital age, we need businesses to find the right blend between technology and the human touch and we want to know our business is valued by the companies we spend money with.
Not only that, but if we are consistently bombarded with products or services that are irrelevant to us, we eventually switch off and stop taking notice of what’s been touted.
Tailor those offers to us so we start to see the things we need, so we feel listened to and all of a sudden you grab our interest again.
Deliberately building personalisation into your customer experience can help to drive increased sales, and increased conversion of leads.
It’s crucial to any sales strategy so ensuring your CRM systems are set up to hold relevant data that helps with personalisation is key.
Knowing when and how to ask for more information from your customer to ensure the line isn’t crossed between helpful and slightly creepy.
Measuring the impact of your customer’s experience on sales
Let’s talk about return on investment. Sales are all about increasing revenue, so it’s important if you’re using customer experience to drive increased sales, you can see what works and what doesn’t.
Tracking the right customer data, such as customer churn, average spend per customer, overall revenue growth and customer retention will all help you keep track of whether your efforts are moving in the right direction.
Pair those key statistics with customer experience favourites such as customer satisfaction scores and a net promoter score, and you should be able to see how overall satisfaction impacts your sales.
Customer experience is predicted to overtake both price and product as the key market differentiator, making it a crucial aspect to focus on this year. Your sales teams should know your customers inside and out, but more than that, they need to know where they fit into the wider customer experience.
What your customer’s expectations are when they first arrive into the sales funnel, and the impact their interactions have on those expectations as the customer progresses through the rest of their journey.
If you can utilise the satisfaction of an existing customer to help spread positive word of mouth, build an online reputation to be proud of and know that no matter how your customer finds you, they’ll be treated well and their loyalty will be won and you’re onto a winning formula.
In short, you can’t reach your full sales potential without a customer journey that keeps the customer at the centre of everything you do – so get journey mapping, get talking to your customer base, and watch as your sales figures climb.
Contact us today, to find out how we can help you take your customer experience to the next level!