Customer experience is now predicted as the biggest brand differentiator. Let thank sink in…
If you want to build a superior customer experience, starts with these:
- Looking at the entire customer journey
- Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
- Listen to your customers and take feedback seriously
- Consider investing into customer relationship management
- Always look to improve your CX strategy
A customer experience strategy is what sets you apart from your competition more than any other factor; including price and product.
What does that mean in real terms? Well, simply put, it doesn’t matter how cost effective you are or how great your product or service is. If you can’t look after your customers – you lose them. Meeting consumer expectations whether it’s in a B2C or B2B transaction has never been more important.
77% of consumers say inefficient customer experiences detract from their quality of life.
In addition, 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue.
It’s pretty compelling evidence that what matters most to customers, is feeling like they matter to a business. Consumers need to feel valued, heard, and have a customer experience strategy designed for them that makes their life easier, adds value, and ultimately meets their expectations.
Why is it building on your customer experience important?
Firstly, not only is delivering a positive customer experience to your customers KEY to customer retention, it also helps you stand out against competitors. Your customers have expectations and it’s your responsibility to meet their needs and turn them into happy and loyal customers.
80 percent of companies believe they are providing great customer service, but only eight percent of customers agree with them.
You don’t want to be part of that statistic.
A great customer experience strategy is only created if you revolve your strategy around your customer feedback and customer expectations. Creating a customer experience strategy is more than just good or bad customer service, answering phones or responding to emails.
It’s much bigger…
The customer experience starts the moment your customer first hears of your brand, and spans every single interaction they have with it all the way through to the last time they deal with you. It’s not just who they speak to, it includes technology like your website or chat functions, it includes marketing they might see from you, how quickly their payment or refunds are processed and even how clean your business premises are.
It’s everything they see, hear, feel, and touch relating to your brand and their purchasing and receiving of goods or service. Every employee in your organisation can impact the customer experience and everyone should know how they fit into it.
If it helps, consider customer experience as an umbrella that covers all other departments in your business.
How do you know if your customer experience is bad?
If you’re noticing a lack of customer loyalty, and an increase in unhappy customers, maybe it’s time to brush up on your customer experience strategy.
Do some research to find out where you could be going wrong or look on social media channels to see how customers feel and what they’re saying about their experience:
- Are you difficult to reach?
- Are your customers frustrated over being left on hold for ages?
- Did your customer support team solve the problem after the first call?
These are all aspects that can drastically affect your customer’s experience and if you’re lucky enough to have customers leave you feedback on what you need to improve on, listen to them!
How do you build good customer experience?
Now that we know how important Customer Experience is, and what it is, let’s look at 7 of the best ways you can make sure you build the best customer experience possible.
1. Look after your staff
Having a happy and productive workforce should be a goal in and of itself. It’s good practice to look after your people – after all, they spend most of their time helping you build your business, but did you know how happy your team are also impacts your customer experience?
In fact, companies with engaged employees outperform the competition by 147%.
There is a direct link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, so make sure you understand what’s important to your team and that you listen to their needs. Happy staff = happy customers and happy customers remain loyal.
2. Invest in training
Knowledgeable, confident staff are more likely to be engaged, happy, and stay with an organisation longer. This can help improve your customer experience in so many ways, from having happier staff talking to customers, empowering them with the right answers to help your customers, and ensuring consistency is maintained because you don’t have to keep hiring new people. The benefits to investing in the right training for your teams are huge and what’s more…
Professional development seems to be of particular importance to the younger generations, of which a huge 87% claim it is a necessity.
Check out my recent article on using customer experience to compete with bigger brands.
3. Step into your customers’ shoes
When was the last time you tried to walk in your customers’ footsteps and actually experience your brand? Is that even possible for you now, or are you so familiar with how your business works (and why), that it’s difficult to view your processes exclusively through your customers’ perspective. If that’s the case, you aren’t alone.
Did you know that 84% of mid to large sized businesses hire consultants (and are satisfied)?
It can be useful to get an unbiased view of your customer journey and gain insight from someone who doesn’t yet know your business so well they could potentially be blind to some areas of frustration. Whether you hire someone to help you, or you look at it yourself, make sure that you regularly take time to reflect on what your customer is seeing, hearing, and feeling. Try to make the experience as easy for them as possible.
4. Listen to customer feedback
The most important thing before making any changes to improve your customer experience is to make sure you genuinely understand your customer. You can’t guess at this and by making assumptions you may well end up changing something your customers loved, or missing something critically important.
The best way to get to the bottom of what your customers expect and their genuine views about your customer experience is to ask them. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to provide feedback on their experience as frequently as they like. Create feedback links that are perpetual and can be accessed by any customer, at any time, on any device, on multiple channels. By making it as easy as possible to hear your customers, you’ll be amazed at the insight you can learn.
Don’t forget that 91% of customers unhappy with a brand will just leave without ever telling them why, so any feedback you receive should be treated the precious insight it is.
5. Take action
Once you have all that wonderful data about what it feels like to be your customer, the things they love and what causes them pain, make sure you do something with it.
Create a clear feedback process internally so that all staff know what to look out for and what to do with feedback once they receive it. Ensure that everyone is kept up to date on feedback trends and gets a chance to suggest ways to fix common issues. Some of the best ideas can come from those speaking to customers every day so don’t feel that as the leader of a business or the customer teams all the ideas have to come from you.
Make improvements in an agile way and measure how well they are working as you go along. Don’t be afraid to backtrack if something doesn’t have the desired impact once you’ve given it enough time to work.
6. Close the loop
There’s nothing more frustrating as a consumer than spending your own valuable time to provide feedback, make a complaint or suggest improvements to a company – only to receive radio silence in return.
Show your customers that you value them, their time, and their thoughts by thanking them and keeping them updated. You don’t have to give them insight into your full customer experience strategy, but it’s best practice to ensure they know you are using their feedback.
Customer feedback is valuable – don’t take your existing customers for granted. Prioritise their opinions and listen to their feedback. This will immensely benefit your business and goes a long way with improving customer loyalty for the future.
Make sure to provide customer feedback opportunities as this is a fantastic tool for achieving your CX goals and equipping your team with the best customer service skills. Be sure to provide your customers with avenues for leaving feedback, whether this is through a form on your website, an email asking about how their experience went or physical business cards asking for a review.
7. Customer Experience Management
Customer experience management is a system of marketing strategies put into place that focus on customer engagement, satisfaction, and experience.
It would be a good idea to start using not only reviews to improve customer satisfaction but also investing into customer experience management software. All of this can help you to create a great customer experience, here are some examples of ways you can measure your customer experience:
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT):
Ask your customers, on a scale of one to five, how satisfied they are with their purchased service. Then, to calculate the CSAT, divide the total number of satisfied customers according to the survey (a score of four or five) by the total number of survey responses, then multiply by 100 to get the percentage of satisfied customers.
This is a quick way of gathering customer experience data, however it doesn’t go into much detail.
Customer Effort Score (CES):
A customer effort score is a customer experience metric that asks customers how easy it is for them to interact with your business. CES is recorded and measured with a one-question survey and helps to gather a large amount of opinions.
8. Repeat (has customer satisfaction been achieved?)
Regardless of whether you use industry best practice, customer insight, employee ideas, or a combination of all three (recommended) to improve your customer experience and increase customer satisfaction, one of the most critical aspects is to never consider yourself ‘finished’. Customer needs evolve, your business will change over time and you can guarantee that there will be tweaks made here or there to sales processes, website copy or internal processes.
Your customer experience will change and, even if nothing changes internally, your customer’s perception, expectation, and how they experience your brand may well alter too.
One of the best pieces of advice anyone working on their customer experience can take on board is that you should continue listening, continue asking for feedback, and keep learning what works well. Make sure someone in your business is dedicated to looking at your customer experience regularly and if you don’t have that perfect person in your team, consider looking at external support. It’s just too important not to.
Build a great customer experience strategy with ThinkWow
Not sure where to start? Start with ThinkWow! We are award winning customer experience strategy consultants and our reviews speak for themselves.
Whatever your business objectives are, we can help you to identify and solve any flaws in your CX strategy and help you to put your customers first!
Check out my recent article on using customer experience to compete with bigger brands.