What is customer experience, and how can you create a CX strategy that will retain loyal customers and gain new ones?
Customer experience strategy requires some deep thinking, as well as complete organizational buy-in. One of the biggest misconceptions about CX is that it’s the job of one division; in reality, every department plays a crucial role.
Let’s get started!
First things first: What is customer experience?
The entirety of every interaction that a customer (or potential customer) has with your brand plays into the customer experience.
What is customer experience? It’s your brand messaging and brand morals, social interactions, sales process, post-sale care, in-store experience, and how your product or service functions – therefore each aspect of the customer journey must be part of your customer experience strategy.
Even though a customer might love your brand, if they have a bad experience at any touchpoint (think airlines and regional airline carriers, or grocery brands and third-party sellers), it could be enough to turn them from a loyal consumer to someone who begins shopping your competitors.
There’s so much involved in the customer experience that you’ve got to pay close attention to each part of the customer journey in order to get it right, because there simply isn’t a part that’s more important than the other.
The amount of organizational buy-in necessary to steer CX so that everyone in your company – and everyone who represents your company – understands the clear goals and importance of the customer experience is tremendous, so make sure you include everyone at the table when you’re talking about your CX strategy.
What is CX software?
Many businesses use customer relationship management (CRM) software, but it’s important to note that CX and CRM are not the same technology.
CRM software focuses on interactions with current and potential customers. With the data that a CRM captures, it analyzes a customer’s account history and generates insights to improve the business relationship, customer attention, and sales growth. However, these CRM functionalities account for a very small part of the capabilities of CX software.
CX software is a cloud-based suite of commerce – marketing, sales, and service solutions – that fosters seamless intelligence and processes throughout the entire customer journey. CX software allows customer-consented data collection throughout each interaction of the customer lifecycle and helps leadership understand the customer journey. The software can take orders, process transactions, monitor deliveries, and detail units sold of a specific product and services.
Most importantly, CX software shines a light on the areas where your business is underperforming, especially from a customer perspective.
Think about the time your marketing colleagues crafted a campaign that emotionally resonated with consumers and increased sales like never before. Now let’s say that a week later, customer service is overwhelmed by calls reporting issues with your products. When sales and marketing are meeting their goals, that department may think everything is fine until the pipeline is depleted. Meanwhile, the customer service team knows when and why sales will diminish.
Customer experience software provides everyone across your business access to the insights of your service department in real time. Managers can assess issues with a product, while empowering customer service agents to immediately remedy customer concerns, rather than passing them off to a different division.
Remember, your business might have many different departments, but the customer sees you as one brand. You can use CX software to assure that each interaction with consumers is unified in voice, no matter if sales, service, or marketing is speaking.
Boosting profits: CX means big money (gained or lost)
There’s big profits to be made from an excellent CX, to the tune of $823 million over three years, according to the Temkin Group.
No matter how much changes, thanks to e-commerce and having nearly anything you’d ever want at your fingertips, one thing remains true: It’s still more expensive to acquire a customer versus investing in a current one.
When you offer a five-star customer experience, you’re increasing the chances that your customer will stay with you for life, and customers for life means increasing your bottom line by substantial amounts – up to 95% for some industries.
5 ways to create a great customer experience
1.) Empower employees: In order to create a CX that will keep customers raving about your brand, it’s got to start with being a customer-centric organization. By empowering employees with the ability to solve customer problems the first time, you’re also creating happier employees. As the front-line of your brand, customer service reps play a huge role in how your brand is perceived.
2.) Mobile-first: The customer journey can begin anywhere today, and there’s a really good chance it starts in the hands of the customer, literally. The future of e-commerce sites will likely be built upon the practices of single page applications, meaning that sites will function more like apps than websites, and there still is no greater engagement tool than a mobile phone. You’ve got to go mobile-first if you’re serious about creating a great customer experience.
3.) Get smart with AI and machine learning: Chatbots and robots have advanced tremendously when it comes to being able to communicate with customers. As a first pass, chatbots can provide 24/7 customer service, and appropriately escalate the issues when needed.
4.) Plan the customer journey: Understanding the complete customer journey is one of the most important elements of creating a CX that will keep customers happy. Mapping out the touchpoints that a customer might take should include everything from searching for your product or service to the check-out experience, and follow-up service. Remember, every interaction with your brand plays into the overall experience.
5.) Personalization: Positive and negative experiences can have lifetime impacts, which is why it’s so important to make sure you’re personalizing CX at every turn. Emotions play a huge role in commerce – if you have a great experience, you’ll likely rave about it, and if you have a bad experience, you’ll likely complain about it. Customers want to feel valued at every turn, so be sure to create a customer journey that is uniquely tailored to their needs, locations, and purchase history.