Companies frequently designate customer experience (CX) as the most exciting opportunity for their business, according to the Digital Marketing Trends Report. Successful customer experience strategies will lead to greater customer satisfaction, higher revenue, and diminished customer churn. Indeed, American Express research shows that a better experience is worth a higher cost for 60% of customers. Because of this, customer experience should be the primary focus of any company.
What is customer experience (CX)?
Customer experience includes all interactions between the organization and the customer from start to finish of the entire business relationship. A customer who has a positive experience with a company is more likely to remain loyal to that brand, even going as far as to advocate for it online or offline.
Isn’t that the same as customer service? Not exactly. Customer service is simply a part of the entire customer experience. Customer service is limited to the interaction between an employee of the company and the customer, either in person or by phone, whereas the experience encompasses all aspects of the business relationship between an organization and a customer, including the discovery, introduction, purchase, service, and advocacy.
Luckily, it’s quite simple to create a successful customer experience strategy for your organization if you follow these seven steps.
7 pillars for successful customer experience strategies
1. Create or optimize your customer experience strategy
It goes without saying that the first step to providing great customer experience is developing a customer experience vision that can be shared within the organization. What are your organization’s values and how can they drive the company’s decisions and actions when it comes to its customers? Developing a set of guiding principles can help express this vision and provide guidance and framework to all employees.
2. Understand your customer base and target audience
The next step is to understand your customers. If you want to be able to address their needs and concerns, you must be able to empathize with them and their reality. “A helpful way to do this is to create personas based on the types of customers that interact most frequently with the customer service team. If your customer personas have a name and distinct personality, you can account for different factors that would affect their experience,” says Justin B. Gonzalez, a customer experience manager from 1 Day 2 Write and BritStudent.
3. Connect on an emotional level with your customers
Research shows that the best customer experiences stem from an employee developing an emotional connection with a customer. In fact, studies have shown that emotions are the biggest driver for decision-making, as more than 50% of the experience is linked to emotion. Furthermore, a Harvard Business Review study concluded that emotionally engaged customers are three times more likely to purchase another product from your company, and three times more likely to recommend your company.
4. Obtain customer feedback
It’s vital to ask customers for their feedback to find out if you are providing a great customer experience. This can be done through surveys after an interaction, either sent through an automated phone call or email tools or even by making a personalized call to a customer for detailed feedback. It’s also extremely important to monitor the social media conversation around your company. A resolution system may also be a good customer support tool which they can access when needed, such as live chat platforms, dedicated social media support, and traditional feedback forms.
5. Focus on team training and development
Once the customer experience strategy is defined and you can compare customer feedback to the company’s vision, it’s time to focus on the training requirements for the customer service team. As previously mentioned, customer service is a key aspect of customer experience, so organizations will often review email and phone communications with customers. To go beyond this, consider tracking long-term employee development through training sessions, coaching, and performance meetings.
6. Include your employees in the process
Customer experience strategies will result in nothing without engaged and invested employees. It’s easy to engage employees by creating tools to receive real-time employee feedback on improving the customer experience. “This will create a feeling of inclusion and buy-in from employees and will increase their ownership of each customer interaction. The standard employee survey frequency amongst organizations is once a year, but this leaves an 11-month gap where no feedback is received,” suggests Scott S. Traylor, a tech editor from WriteMYX and Australia2Write.
7. Track the business results
In order to measure if your CX strategy is working, monitor the business results. Many companies struggle with measuring customer experience and have turned to the Net Promoter Score® (NPS®). This asks whether customers would recommend this company to others and can be a clear indication of the success of the customer experience strategy.
With the prevalence of social media, customer reviews travel quick and have a broader audience. This means that customer experience is more important than ever, and companies which focus on their customer experience strategy will see a positive impact on revenue, brand loyalty, and customer advocacy.
Editor’s Note: This article reflects the opinion of our guest author.
About the guest author
Emily advises startups and small businesses on their employees, getting the best talent, managing conflict and so on. In her free time, you’ll find her writing for her blog.