In every area of our lives, we are in a permanent search. We are looking to get the most exciting and well-paid jobs, to read the most interesting books, to have amazing vacations, to get the best offers, and the list can go on. That’s because people are really looking for experiences everywhere. What if you’re on the other side if you’re responsible for creating a customer experience strategy? What can you do to ensure a memorable experience for your clients? How can you offer them the element of novelty and show them your gratitude, so that they feel enriched after interacting with your company?
Watch how Porsche approached Customer Experience and how they built a successful relationship with their customers since the beginning:
What Is a Customer Experience Strategy?
Customer experience, also known as CX, is your customers’ entire perception of their experience with your business or brand, both pre and post-sale, including navigating the website, talking to customer service, receiving the product/service they bought from you and in the end, reviewing the goods.
Keeping your customers happy should be the main goal of your customer experience strategy if you want them to come back. Deliver a great customer experience and you’ll turn them into your best supporters. If you’re still not convinced, see some of the reasons below:
– a study made by Oracle revealed that 74% of senior executives believe that customer experience impacts the willingness of a customer to be a loyal advocate;
– a study made by American Express showed that 60% of the participants didn’t mind to pay more for better customer experience.
Customer experience statistics don’t stop here. If you want your customers to stay loyal, you have to invest in their experience! The better the experience you offer your customers, the more they will buy again and will leave positive reviews. Your company will not feel the discomfort of dealing with customer complaints and returns. Even better, they will spread the news, which means they will be your free of charge marketers. After all, word of mouth publicity is the most efficient one business can get.
Customer Experience Management
Companies that successfully implement a customer experience strategy will achieve higher customer satisfaction rates and will increase revenues.
CXM or CEM, the abbreviations of customer experience management, is, in fact, the process of leading and following up all the customer interactions. It doesn’t matter if they are digital or physical, because the aim is the same: delivering personalized experiences to your customers.
The major responsibility of the customer experience manager is to improve the customer experience, with the goal of increasing customer satisfaction. Typically, a customer experience manager must make use of three disciplines to improve customer experiences:
- customer loyalty management (CLM), for growing customers loyalty;
- customer relationship management (CRM), for the strategic managing of all the organization’s interactions with customers;
- customer value management (CVM), for implementing the best methods so that the organization should manage each customer relationship, in order to achieve durable advantages from the entire customer base.
The customer experience manager will also check the customer experience flow chart, will study the customer experience funnel, will make the customer experience analysis, and will create a new customer experience, management models.
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Customer Experience Strategy Best Practices
According to market research, 80% of companies think that they offer great customer experiences, but only 8% of the consumers think alike. Therefore, it begs the question, which are the errors that lead to such a big gap?
The Digital Trends report done by Econsultancy and Adobe shows that Customer Experience is the biggest opportunity for companies in 2019.
Let’s lay out the best practices of the customer experience strategy, and see if we can clear up the mystery.
- Develop a client focused culture is a must for your CX strategies. Always keep in mind that the customer is the ground zero of your business. You wish and try to sell him something, but it’s only up to the client to decide if he buys from you or he remains a potential client indefinitely. So, show your gratitude if the customer brings you revenues and recommendations. Otherwise, you’ll lose more than just a client.
An eloquent example is Richard Branson’s reaction, owner of Virgin Atlantic Airlines. An unhappy first-class customer complained that he received an awful meal which he compared to a “miscellaneous central cuboid of beige matter”. A really difficult to digest review… Nevertheless, Virgin Atlantic saw it differently. Given that one of the company’s fundamental beliefs is that “a complaint is a chance to turn a customer into a lifelong friend”, owner Richard Branson wrote a reply to the furious customers. He apologized for the bad experience and asked the man to help Virgin Atlantic Airlines rethink the menu, in order to create a better customer experience vision.
The point is that you should see a complaint as a gift. If you are able to listen and understand your clients’ needs, your business success will know no boundaries.
- Build personalized interactions. Your client is expecting custom-tailored experiences (or what is also referred to as hyper-personalization), as we all do. Match the technology with the human factor for giving an emotional experience. We know from personal experience that, when in doubt, we choose with the heart, unless there are significant differences regarding the quality or utility of the product.
- Create a map and follow the customer journey. You will clearly see the gaps between customer expectations and the actual experience at each key stage of the journey. Also, add the context, personal features, outcomes, touchpoints, and other relevant information.
How to create a Customer Experience Strategy – 8 Tips
- Define your business objectives, visions, and processes
First, you have to know what you want. You need to establish your long term goals and the ways you can fulfill them. Also, analyze if or how your actual customer experience strategy can help you reach your target and spot the competitors. Finally, ask yourself: do I want new customers, do I want to gain a new market or do I want to launch my products into a current marketplace? Once you have an answer, you are one step closer to your goal.
Whatever your objectives are, you’ve got to act SMART:
- Specific – provide a clear description of what needs to be achieved
- Measurable – include metrics that indicate success
- Achievable – set a challenging target, but keep it realistic
- Relevant – keep your goal consistent with higher-level goals
- Time-bound – set a date for when your goal needs to be achieved
When starting a business, everyone hopes for the best. But the constant growth of your company doesn’t come overnight. Better than waiting for miracles is to really become your own marketing expert. One efficient tool that you can use is the growth matrix. First of all, it will help you set the right strategic objectives and initiatives for your business. Then, by starting A/B testing, you’ll be able to assess the impact of each initiative on every objective, to rate the budget, execution time and resources needed to get the ease score. In the end, you just need to decide which strategies work best for growing your business and stick to them.
- Find and understand your audience & create buyer personas
Define your customer’s profile and identify his needs, preferences, and expectations. A great way to do this is to ask your service team, which deals with your clients every day. Once you have collected enough data, sketch buyer personas and increase effectiveness by representing real people. Human nature is about emotion and you have to always keep that in mind in order to create a great customer experience.
Furthermore, you can generate actionable insights from your clients’ answers if you use at the right moment our on click, on load, on scroll, and on exit survey tools. Ask relevant questions based on customer feedback and follow the string to your goal, customize your customer satisfaction survey by taking into account your customers profile because even if it’s online it’s persuasive and profitable.
Create a Single Customer Profile (SCP) to have all customer data in the same place and drag accurate conclusions.
- Create a team
The best way to improve customer experience strategy is to assemble a team of employees dedicated to the idea that client satisfaction is the core of the business. So hire team-players, social people who love human interaction, have the ability to manage high pressure situations and find the best solutions. Monitor employee engagement continuously in the program and use employee feedback to improve it. And we don’t only refer to the people in customer facing roles, but to all the departments’ employees. By comprising customer feedback and customers perspective views across the company, it would be easier to align the organization around the intended goal: improving the customer experience.
- Establish a friendly front-end for your page
You need to get rid of the bad design pages. Make sure that your site has the latest optimization tools, the proper loading speed and… give emotion a chance – don’t be afraid to use emoticons or emoji ☺. But don’t overuse them, you need to be perceived as a serious company that can be trusted and which can find words to express itself, doesn’t always rely on smiley faces.
Nowadays, in numerous cases, the very first contact a person has with a company is a digital interaction, on the company’s website. You really need a good website in order to turn your potential customers into real ones.
Digital customers are forcing traditional companies to change their business models and adapt to the new reality. Failing to do so can lead to serious problems or even bankruptcy like the case of the Thomas Cook travel agency. A digital customer experience strategy is vital.
Uber, for instance, the famous ride-sharing company, is a good example of a business completely built on digital customer experience. Its app has a very intuitive interface that successfully connects drivers and customers and guarantees payment security.
In order to find out the most important growth opportunities for your business, you can use a CRO audit. A complete audit provides you with a Google Analytics health check, an UI/UX audit, quantitative and qualitative research. You need to understand what your users intend to find out when they access your website and if the design makes it easy for them to reach their goals.
Use the advantages that UX (User Experience Design) and UI (User Interface Design) offer you. While UX deals with the entire research process, testing, development, content and prototyping to test for quality results, UI is about transfer the brand’s strengths and visual assets to a product’s interface to best enhance the user’s experience. Must say that both elements are vital to a product and work closely together for the best results.
The quantitative research consists of advanced segmentation, funnel, and cross-device analysis and identifies the previous anomalies. The deeper understanding of your visitors’ experience comes from the qualitative research, which highlights for you the most efficient choice reduction criteria, the purchase intention, the barriers that should be eliminated, who is your buyer persona and what makes your visitors buy from you. Data show that only a tiny percent of people take the time and the energy to complain about the interaction with a brand; all the others just leave. You can prevent this inconvenience by making it very handy for your clients to express their dissatisfaction right on your site. The feedback from your customers helps you focus on what they really expect from your company as a provider and also identify and eliminate the problems. Accordingly, you can develop better products or services.
- Give your brand great attributes for a big personality
Humanize the brand and the consumers will relate to it. After all, there are a lot of brands in the marketplace that offer the same things as you, but consumers feel more attracted to one of them. The reason is the connexion that the chosen brand succeeded in creating between the public and itself. You might wonder why someone would choose one producer over another. It’s because of the moral values that one company embodies and others don’t. People want to identify with the brand they choose, so they go for the hero, the savior, the savant, the healer or the adventurer, to mention just a few examples. Depending on the type of product or service that you are trying to sell and on your buyer persona, identify the values that your clients might resonate with, and build your company portrait based on them.
- Use the technology for delivering a better customer experience
Machine intelligence is your ally in your attempt to give your customers a great experience. Use AI to generate auto-responses to routine customer queries, to remind your client that he was looking for something, to suggest related products, or to show what other clients bought together with the selected product. This will save your employees time, allowing them to do some other more complex jobs.
Let’s take a look at Starbucks. They are really focusing on their slogan – “Make it right”. The company is constantly trying to improve the mobile app which now allows customers to order and pay online for their coffee and to collect points from the famous rewarding system. And that’s not all! Starbucks made a deal with Alexa, the virtual assistant developed by Amazon, that is making it possible to order coffee by voice, from home or your office. And furthermore, due to its website, Starbucks also created a large online community, where the customers share ideas about their experience. Another important effect of using AI is that being strongly related, both customer experience and marketing will grow if you adopt the specialized customer-centric tech. A very useful tool is our product, Adapt which uses a conversion rate optimization machine learning algorithm and will help you to convert more with your website or your e-shops.
- Think and act backward
If you need to improve your customer experience flow chart, recent studies show that it’s more efficient to think and act backward. Meaning you should start with your goal, which is to increase the clients’ satisfaction and figure up the whole scenery through a downward path, from top to bottom. Customer feedback is important and can offer great insights on how to improve their satisfaction and customer perspective about your eCommerce. Look for the studies, try making alternative plans and see for yourselves. I’ll only say that Steve Jobs himself acted on the same principle, and he did a pretty good job with his company.
- Measure the results and ROI of your customer experience strategy
Investing in customer experience has invaluable qualitative benefits, but you need to be able to provide your management with numbers. You have to show the quantitative ROI in order to obtain the budget you want for your CX program and initiatives.
Customer Experience ROI = 100 x (Benefits – Investments) / Investments
It is really difficult to measure the benefits of CX and you might be tempted to skip ROI calculation. Don’t give up and organize your analysis around these 2 steps that will be described below.
Step 1. Find Out the Business Metrics Most Influenced by CX
The metrics that are usually considered relevant:
- revenue – analysis show that for each point of increase in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index brings hundreds of millions of dollars to the big companies
- customer retention – great CX strategies keeps your clients loyal, so your retention rate will increase, which will lead to more revenues at the end of the year
- cross-sell/upsell – a happy client will return to your company for more products and/or services, resulting in more sales for you
- customer satisfaction – this is the most difficult to measure, but not impossible, and it’s mandatory. You can use NPS, CSAT or any other customer satisfaction metric to determine how a 1-point increase translates into customer retention or additional sales. Find out the result and that’s the number you are looking for!
- cost-to-serve – reducing the effort to solve customers’ problems that appear after the sale you save money. As simple as that!
Here’s an example of how you can calculate your Customer Experience (CX) ROI:
As it is more difficult to calculate, here are a few more details about the metrics you can use to establish customer satisfaction:
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a unit of measure for assessing customer loyalty for a company’s brand, products or services. It is very easy to calculate, that’s why many companies use NPS as part of their customer relationship management strategy. Practically, in order to find it out, you only have to ask your customers how probable it is that they would recommend you to friends, colleagues or family members and to express that on a scale from 0 to 10. After that, your customers will be divided into three categories: promoters (the most loyal ones, with a score between 9 and 10), passives (with a score between 7 and 8, they are satisfied, but not enthusiastic), and detractors (with a score between score from 0 to 6, who are unsatisfied). The Net Promoter Score NPS help companies not only to gather data, insights and customer feedback but act on it.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) is a score that indicates how satisfied a customer is with a specific product, transaction or interaction with your company. It’s simple to determine it by asking your clients to rate their overall satisfaction related to your products, using a 0 to 5 scale, where 0 means very unsatisfied and 5 means very satisfied.
Customer Effort Score (CES) is a customer service metric that measures user experience with your goods or services. It shows how it felt for them to use your products and how likely it is to continue paying for it. Similarly to the former items, you ask your customers to evaluate their experience on a 0 to 7 scale, starting from very difficult to very easy.
Research on Customer Effort Score showed that successful companies create loyal customers mainly by reducing customer effort; by helping customers to solve their problems easily and quickly – not only by impressing them with exceptional customer interaction on all touch points.
Step 2. Use Customer Journey Analytics to Prove the Correlation Between Business Metrics and Customer Experience
Customer Journey Analytics is the best tool you can find to show that your calculations using business metrics are really linked to CX. Here’s what this tool can do for you:
- identify how customer experience changes the customer behavior
- segment your customers – this operation must be conducted focusing on your clients’ behavior, not only relying on metrics like NPS. Identify the customers that bring high revenue and those who have strategic importance.
- understand how your CX strategy modified customers’ behavior, the way they interact with your company and, finally, how these changes impact your business metrics
Conclusions on CX strategies
Summing up, how would you create a memorable experience for a customer? Regarding your product, keep it simple to use and remember that details make a great difference, so pay attention to them. Be a therapist for your customers if necessary! Listen to their complaints or problems, congratulate them on their birthdays, constantly learn about their needs and behaviour, and create personalized products and messages. Watch the customer engagement progress closely and don’t neglect the way your company handles problems that your customers might have after buying your product. A good customer service experience can turn a one-time buyer into a lifelong client. Don’t think about your clients as numbers, but make sure that every person from your company, starting with the management, is working every day to amaze the customer. In order to do that, all of your employees must feel important to the company and appreciated, because happy employees attract happy clients. Your employee feedback and their emotional connection with the customers can bring good results. And these clients are those who share their good experiences. Also, you need to be clear about your branding and the way it responds to your target market’s needs. An efficient way to spread the news about your brand is the social media strategies.
I suppose we are on the same side regarding the importance of a solid customer experience strategy and management system. Still, if you need another incentive to conduct your business keeping the clients’ satisfaction as your guiding star, take a look at the recent Temking Group study. Their data predict that companies that earn nowadays $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within three years of investing in customer experience. Now, are you sure that is worth it?