Running a business or a department in a business is a serious job. There are so many elements to consider and balance on a daily basis, so many choices to make and objectives to progress.
Customer experience matters for so many reasons, such as driving loyalty, building your reputation and, not least of all, the return on investment the majority of businesses see when they actively work on their customer experience strategy. It’s always been the right thing to do to look after your customers – but now it’s also the smart thing to do too.
So why should customer experience (CX) factor? What’s so important about CX that it should get a piece of your time, or even form a major part of your strategy?
Why does customer experience matter?
Let’s start with a little introduction on what great customer experience is shall we?
With customer experience often confused for customer service or customer satisfaction, it’s easy to assume that it’s just one small slice of the pie, one element that you’re pretty sure your business has covered, because we’re all customers right? We all know how we like to be treated.
Your customer experience is so much more than just one piece of the puzzle. It’s every piece of the puzzle.
Your customer journey starts the moment that your customer first becomes aware of your brand, and continues all the way through until their very last interaction with you. Every single touchpoint your customers go through form part of their wider customer experience.
How they see you, what happens, how easy it is, how it makes them feel, it all goes into the overall customer experience. When the industry refers to a customer journey map – this is what we’re talking about mapping!
Here’s the kicker though – it’s not just every touchpoint that forms your customer experience, it’s also every employee, every process, and every strategic decision your leadership team makes.
A consistent customer experience helps to build customer loyalty, manage customer expectations, increase customer retention, and ultimately drives brand loyalty and increased revenue. It’s a crucial part of your strategy if you want to keep customers and grow your business.
But the flip side, is that customer experience is impacted by so much, that it’s easy for a single thing to fall out of place, to not happen as it should and as a result cause frustration and maybe even lose you a loyal customer.
Customer engagement, customer loyalty, customer service, and customer success should all form part of your customer experience strategy, and none of those elements should be left to chance!
Reason 1 – Customer experience management removes the element of assumption!
In the opening paragraph of this article we referred to the common assumption that so many businesses make – that they know what their customer wants because they are customers themselves.
But – if we were all the same, the world would be a pretty boring place! In fact, we all have different thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs and that’s no different when it comes to customer journeys and customer expectations.
What your customers perceive is a great experience matters far more than what you think they should perceive.
A great customer experience strategy should be built with customer feedback at the core. It’s so important to measure CX, listen to your customer’s frustrations, and take them on board.
By removing the element of assumption from how you run your business you won’t waste money on initiatives that fall flat with your customers and you’ll be more likely to see a return on your investment.
Reason 2 – Mapping your customer journey is the best way to ensure consistency and build trust!
Customers do business with brands they trust. Building trust is an essential component to attracting new customers and keeping existing customers happy.
You can do that by building a consistent brand, making sure your reputation both online and in the real world is positive, and that you follow the values you stand by.
But – there can always be room for inconsistency in any business!
How one branch handles a situation might be totally different to how a branch one county along handles it. Even if both handle the situation well, the inconsistency will be noticed by your customer and it can start to erode trust.
Likewise, you might have an internal process that’s counterproductive to your overarching customer goals, but because everyone is busy with ‘business as usual’ activity, no one has sat down to think hard about that process, why it is the way it is or how well it serves the business (or your customers).
Journey mapping is an in depth look at every single touchpoint your customer experiences. Backed up by customer sentiment and feedback, you know which areas of your journey are most important to your customer and where any issues could have a damaging impact.
You can systematically work through and fix anything causing an issue in a structured way that contributes to your strategy.
Reason 3 – Poor customer experience can damage your business’s reputation!
It stands to reason that if customers want to shop with brands they trust, then a negative customer experience could have far-reaching repercussions.
In the digital age it’s easy for a negative review to be seen by thousands of people, and we know customers place a lot of stock in peer reviews.
In fact, studies show that customers place as much trust in an online review as they do in a recommendation from family or friends.
A consistently great customer experience won’t necessarily mean you never have issues or that your customers never feel let down; mistakes happen and things sometimes go wrong.
What it will mean is that when something does go wrong, your team know how to listen, empathise, and fix the issue in a consistent fashion that build further loyalty and avoids reputation damage.
Reason 4 – Customer experience is predicted to overtake both price and product as the leading brand differentiator!
It’s long been predicted, but this year is finally the year it looks like CX will become the most important factor when a customer chooses a brand. It’s the new competitive battleground and it evens the playing field for both large and small businesses.
It doesn’t matter what size your business is or how big your brand name is – it’s all about your reputation for delivering an excellent experience, and meeting your customers’ expectations consistently.
If you can do that; then you’ll find customer feedback is positive, you’ll get more glowing reviews, and you’ll be in a better position to attract more customers.
Reason 5 – Loyal customers spend more than new customers!
You can harness your existing customers’ satisfaction to drive more revenue. On average, loyal customers spend 67% more than brand new ones, so it’s just good business to keep your customers happy enough that when it comes to purchasing decisions they only think of you!
Organic brand advocacy (or word of mouth) are just another positive side effect of keeping your existing customers happy – so think twice before you dangle irresistible deals in front of prospective new customers just to win their business. Your current customers will only feel left out if they don’t get access to the same great deals!
Why is customer experience important for a business?
Helping both your customer service team and the rest of your employees understand why customer experience matters can be easier said than done.
When we are busy, it’s human nature to try and focus on our own priorities and to push other concerns to the back of our minds.
Most of us are pretty busy most of the time, so expecting anyone in your business to automatically remember customer experience or their role in it without a little nudge every so often isn’t realistic. To help – we compiled a list of just some of the reasons customer experience matters.
You can use it to help drive awareness, or simply as a refresher for you!
Is there such thing as perfect customer experience?
There is no such thing as the perfect, one size fits all customer experience. What works for one brand and their customers may not work for another. That’s just another reason why it’s so important to have a customer experience strategy at the heart of your business.
By understanding your own customer frustrations, needs and expectations, you can start to improve the things that matter most to your customers and create something more akin to their perfect customer experience – but remember that what a customer wants is constantly evolving, so try to view your customer experience as an agile project, ready to evolve with them.
You shouldn’t ever consider it ‘completed’!
What is customer value?
Have you ever heard the saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Well, value is a very similar thing. What your customer perceives to be great value will vary from person to person. It’s also possible that it could even vary depending on their mood, their expectations (which you help set), and how their day has gone.
A happy customer could perceive a particular service is good value if it’s easy, convenient and does what it says on the tin, whereas another customer may want more than that. They may want the bells and whistles.
The only way to know what your customer wants and whether they perceive you are adding value with your product or service is to ask them. Customer feedback is crucial to any customer experience strategy and any negative feedback should be listened to and acted upon.
Customer experience matters more now than ever before. It’s not just about how you keep your customers happy or how you get them to spend more,
it’s how you stand out from the crowd and make sure that your business has the competitive advantage when it comes to both winning new business, and attracting top talent!
So what are you waiting for? Take the Customer Impact Quiz today to see how your business scores when it comes to your customer strategy!