Customer experience (CX) is a wildly misunderstood concept. Businesses believe that they’re providing an exceptional customer experience by offering a great product or a killer new feature. However, according to data, an exceptional CX experience is about:
- Prioritizing speed, convenience, hospitality, and knowledgeable assistance as per 80% of the US customers.
- Offering unparalleled convenience such as same-day deliveries, for which 40% of customers are ready to pay more.
- Providing a ‘seamless’ purchasing experience, a lack of which can lead to 74% of customers ditching the brand.
The learning? Clearly, the scope of CX is wide, and benefits to users largely remain intangible. In other words, CX is about allowing customers to achieve their end-goal/outcome with as little friction or issues as possible. This also includes any interactions businesses have with their customers across communication channels.
In this blog, we will look at some time-tested ways to create an exceptional customer experience and also understand what kind of mistakes to avoid. Let’s jump right in.
Top-4 Ways to Deliver an Extraordinary CX
1. Always Maintain a Positive Attitude
Laser-focus on driving a positive attitude among your CX agents, no matter the conversation outcome. You can start by thanking the customer for taking out the time to interact with your brand. It also helps to end the conversation with a “Thank You,” even if your customer leaves dissatisfied.
Companies that focus on the minute details (such as agent language and tone of voice) can reap the benefits of a user-friendly and warm conversation. If most of your customer-facing communication is being driven online, make sure to use emojis, GIFs, images, etc. to convey warmth and humor as Walmart does:
JetBlue raised the bar, despite being in the thick of the pandemic, by offering free flights for medical personnel and supplies.
This is the perfect of how CX leaders can reinforce and prioritize a positive culture within the company, which will ultimately lead to a stellar customer experience.
Key takeaway: The idea is to ingrain a happy, grateful attitude within your CX team, which can ultimately transform the negative customer experiences into positive ones.
2. Integrate Live Chat Software for Real-Time Interactions
Live chat software empowers businesses to interact with customers in real-time and offers speedy, reliable, and accurate solutions to their problems. Since customers don’t have to wait to get their issues resolved, this strategy works like a charm. In fact, 92% of customers feel satisfied when they use a live chat feature (as opposed to the other modes of communication).
Take the example of ModCloth, whose live chat agents are known as “ModCloth Advocates,” ever-present to assist users in their times of need:
Notice how the brand uses a photo of the agent as well as a first name, making the conversation feel more personal and intimate.
Here’s another excellent use case of Nike using live chat to solve customer questions and offer useful advice:
If you cannot have live agents 24×7 to assist your users, you can always integrate a useful knowledge base with commonly asked interview questions so that customers can self-serve and address issues by themselves:
Key takeaway: Granted, CX is about taking charge, but plenty of times, it’s also about getting out of your customer’s hair and empowering them to solve their own issues through the right use of tools and technology. This is where live chat truly shines. It offers unparalleled immediacy and the ability to communicate with your customers one-on-one, thereby taking the customer experience up by several notches.
3. Focus on Your Social Media CX Strategy
Customers are vocal on social media about everything and anything under the sun. There are no two ways about it. Whether they want to appreciate brands or reprimand them, whether they want to show off a new purchase or recommend a recently-bought item, customers aren’t shying away from social media to vent their concerns.
Naturally, this serves as a golden ticket for brands looking to improve their customer experience and leave a lasting impression. Let’s take a look at how some real-life brands have mastered the art of social media CX, one post at a time:
- Nike takes its social media CX seriously by creating a dedicated Twitter account, Team Nike, whose primary job is to address customer issues instantly and to customer satisfaction:
In the following example, notice how patient and friendly the CX team is when catering to an unhappy customer:
- Then, of course, you have Starbucks, which is the Godfather of delivering an exceptional customer experience across all platforms and channels, both offline and online:
Key takeaway: Implementing a dedicated CX team that handles your social media has become a must for brands today. Most customers take to social media platforms to celebrate and scold brands in equal measure. What’s also important to remember is that offering instant and valuable resolution is key. Answering questions and offering solutions, even a day later, is no good.
4. Listen to and Act on Customer Feedback
Some of the high-performing customer-facing brands have one thing in common: They listen to their customers and act on the feedback (where relevant). One excellent (and successful) example of this is the Starbucks “My Starbucks Idea” initiative that serves as a dedicated website to capture customer’s feedback in real-time:
If you’re still second-guessing the efficacy of this initiative, consider the following statistics:
The brand’s CX team actively encourages users to offer their feedback as responses to their customer’s suggestions on social media:
Key takeaway: In today’s day and age, it is not enough for brands to roll out automated surveys and call it a day. They need to actively encourage customers to provide their feedback through innovative forums and act on it to maintain customer loyalty and boost user happiness.
Now that we have looked at how brands can deliver an exceptional CX, let’s deep-dive to understand what mistakes they should avoid.
Top-3 Mistakes to Avoid While Delivering a Killer Customer Support
1. Don’t go all out on your customer loyalty program: The trick lies in balancing the fine line between over-rewarding new customers and under-rewarding the existing ones. Always keep your rewards system proportionate for new and existing customers (for obvious reasons). Your brand won’t be able to survive if you only have new customers pouring in or if you are only catering to the existing user base, without adding to your client base.
Key takeaway: Striking a balance between the two via your reward programs, deals, and coupons should be your primary focus.
2. Don’t ignore your employees: Let’s set the record straight. If your internal employees are unhappy, you will never be able to deliver a great customer experience. Taking care of your employees will allow your brand to leverage individual buy-in–a central element in making your CX strategies a success. If your employees themselves don’t believe in the brand’s culture, values, and ethos, convincing your customers of the same will remain a distant dream. Airbnb’s CEO recently wrote an open letter addressing the fact that the Airbnb workforce would have to be reduced, owing to the ongoing pandemic. Despite such heartbreaking news, the CEO won hearts for demonstrating empathy and honesty–a rarity today:
Key takeaway: Before you focus on driving a “Customer-obsessed” culture, make sure that your organization’s culture is rooted in an “Employee-first” mindset. And in times when you cannot even place your employees first (let alone your customers), an authentic, humane, and empathetic approach goes a long way.
3. Don’t make things too complicated: The golden rule of CX is this: Simplify your customer experience any chance you get. The more difficult it is for your customers to get to your brand, the faster you’ll see them leaving the (metaphorical) door. With a little bit of thought and customer care, you can enable a seamless and empathetic customer experience, allowing disgruntled customers too to accommodate and understand the brand. Finally, as long as your agents are polite and user-oriented, things will fall into place–no matter how disastrous they seem.
Wrapping Up: Great CX Starts with Empathetic Problem-Solvers
According to a survey by Gartner, around 81% of companies expect to compete mostly or completely on the basis of CX. And while most customers are fairly familiar with what a ‘bad’ customer experience constitutes, most aren’t used to being around an ‘exceptional’ customer experience. Fundamentally speaking, ‘exceptional’ CX is about:
- Making your customers feel valued, heard, and special by the brand
- Out-delivering your customer’s expectations, every single time
- Going the extra mile and providing value that even your competitors aren’t offering
- Delivering an experience that’s effortless, simple, convenience-driven, and quick
Try these proven CX strategies and best-practices, and train your agents to be empathetic problems-solvers, ever ready to put the customers first. By integrating an employee- and customer-obsessed culture, you can boost your customer experience and enter the (CX) hall of fame, for good.
Author’s Bio: Srushti Shah is an ambitious, passionate, and out of the box thinking woman having vast Digital Marketing exposure. She is working as a Digital Marketer and Content writer at Acquire. Her key focus is to serve her clients with the latest innovation in her field, leading to fast and effective results. Working beyond expectations and delivering the best possible results in her professional motto. Other than work, she loves traveling, exploring new things, and spending quality time with family. Reach out to Srushti Shah on Twitter or LinkedIn