In every area of our lives, we are in a permanent search. We are looking to get the most exciting and well-paid jobs, read the most interesting books, have amazing vacations, 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, 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 from 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. Customer experience includes 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.
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 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.
Elements of customer experience strategy
Before redefining your customer experience strategy, you need to know where you’re standing right now. You will review and evaluate what your company has done so far to offer better customers experiences.
Once you document the new customer experience strategy, you’ll have to ensure all actions align with your plan and all departments are prepared to offer top CX.
Evaluate your existing customer experience strategy
Your marketing, sales, and customers success teams’ efforts should be evaluated during this stage. Look at all the customer experience metrics you’re currently using to evaluate customer experience and satisfaction. Think about the missing ones and add them to the ”must-have” list for your next CX strategy.
Perform customer research and analysis
Qualitative and quantitative customer research helps you understand your audience, get a better image of who your best customers are, how happy your customers are, identify the problems in their journey, and use their motivations and perception to improve future customer experiences.
Map the Customer Journey “As Is” and “To Be”
Customer Journey “As Is” represents the audit of the current elements that influence CX. Customer Journey “To Be” represents the map that will help you prioritize actions to fix problems and optimize CX based on your customers’ expectations.
Improve interaction on all touchpoints
If your business activates online and offline, you should keep in mind that customers perceive their CX as a whole, so you need to pay attention to all touchpoints, from website pages to customer support and in-store interactions.
Create a follow-up flow for customer feedback
One of the most annoying and damaging things you can do is ignore customer feedback. Think how much you lose if you ignore the negative feedback of a loyal customer. If you fail to meet their expectations, they will turn to competition. You must design a follow-up flow that allows your teams to act in line with your strategy to keep satisfaction levels high even after a poor CX.
Monitor customer experience performance pre and post-delivery
When you’re measuring customer experience and satisfaction pre and post-delivery, it’s much easier to identify what works and what doesn’t in the customer journey so you can prioritize the most burning problems and fix gaps that affect CX and generate churn.
Customer Experience Management
Companies that successfully implement a customer experience strategy will achieve higher customer satisfaction rates and 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 a 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 to achieve durable advantages from the entire customer base.
The customer experience manager will also check the customer experience CX flow chart, study the customer experience funnel, make the customer experience analysis, and create a new customer experience management model.
Customer Experience Strategy Best Practices
According to market research, 80% of companies think they offer great customer experiences, but only 8% of the consumers believe alike. Therefore, it begs the question, which errors 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.
Let’s layout the best practices of the customer experience strategy, and see if we can clear up the mystery.
- Developing a client-focused culture is a must for your CX strategies. Remember that the customer is the ground zero of your business. You wish and try to sell them something, but it’s only up to the client to decide if they buy from you or remain 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 that 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 to create a better customer experience vision.
The point is that you should see a complaint as a gift. If you can listen and understand your clients’ needs, your business success will know no boundaries.
- Build personalized interactions. Your client is expecting custom-tailored experiences, 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
1. Define your business objectives, visions, and processes
First, you have to know what you want. It would help if you established your long-term goals and how 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, 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.
2. 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 daily. 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 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 considering 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 about your target audience.
3. 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, can 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 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.
4. Establish a friendly front-end for your page
It would help if you got rid of the bad design pages. Ensure 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 emojis ☺. But don’t overuse them; you need to be perceived as a serious company that can be trusted and can find words to express itself and 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 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 in 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.
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 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 transferring the brand’s strengths and visual assets to a product’s interface to best enhance the user’s experience. I 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. A deeper understanding of your visitors’ experience comes from qualitative research, which highlights 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 identify and eliminate the problems. Accordingly, you can develop better products or services.
5. 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.
6. 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, remind your client that he was looking for something, suggest related products, or show what other clients bought together with the selected product. This will save your employees time, allowing them to do 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, allowing customers to order and pay online for their coffee and collect points from the famous rewarding system. And that’s not all! Starbucks made a deal with Alexa, the virtual assistant developed by Amazon, making it possible to order coffee by voice, from home or your office. Furthermore, due to its website, Starbucks also created a large online community, where the customers share ideas about their experiences.
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.
7. Think and act backward
If you need to improve your customer experience flow chart, recent studies show that thinking and acting backward is more efficient. It would help if you started 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.
8. 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 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 the ROI calculation. Don’t give up and organize your analysis around these two steps described below.
Step 1. Find Out the Business Metrics Most Influenced by CX
The metrics that are usually considered relevant:
- Revenue – analysis shows that 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 keep 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 – You save money by reducing the effort to solve customers’ problems that appear after the sale. 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 to 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, 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 helps companies gather data, insights, and customer feedback they can act on.
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 them. Similar 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, and helping customers solve their problems easily and quickly – not only by impressing them with exceptional customer interaction on all touchpoints.
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 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, how they interact with your company, and, finally, how these changes impact your business metrics.
Optimizing your customer experience strategy
Consumer behavior is constantly changing. Their preferences and expectation evolve over time. What you might have found at the beginning of the year about CX might not be true in 12 months. That’s why customer experience optimization is an ongoing process that involves all your teams.
Stay connected to what customers need, want, and feel
You have a lot of methods to capture customer feedback and measure satisfaction, so there’s no excuse to assume what they need, want, and feel. You can use NPS surveys, chat conversations, customer interviews, and many other tools to ensure your business is customer-centric.
Monitor all touchpoints
You have access to data that reveal how good or bad the customer experience is at different touchpoints. Keep an eye on those that have the biggest impact on your customer relationships and create a response plan for when things go wrong, and you have to intervene in real-time to fix customer complaints.
There’s no optimization without experimentation. Think about how you’re optimizing your site. You could run A/B tests, watch session recordings and see exactly how people interact with a product page. Your decisions will be based on facts and data, not assumptions about how people navigate.
Optimize product assortment
By optimizing your product assortment, you improve the offers you create for your customers and the satisfaction generated by using your products. Product assortment optimization helps you eliminate toxic products, focus on stick ones, and add more like them for a positive impact on CX.
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 behavior, and create personalized products and messages. Watch the customer engagement progress closely, and don’t neglect the way your company handles problems 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. All of your employees must feel important to the company and appreciated because happy employees attract happy clients.
Your employee feedback and emotional connection with the customers can bring good results. And these clients are those who share their good experiences. Also, it would help if you were clear about your branding and how 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, look at the recent Temkin Group study. Their data predict that companies that earn $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?
Frequently asked questions about customer experience strategy
Customer experience strategy represents the action plan that helps you generate a positive customer experience in each customer journey stage and achieve long-term customer experience goals.
An effective customer experience strategy starts with auditing the existing CX results and involves all departments in your company. To develop a CX strategy, you need customer research, customer journey mapping, an optimization plan for all touchpoints, a follow-up flow for customer feedback, and ongoing monitoring of CX.
The main components of a customer experience strategy are CX audit, customer research, customer journey mapping, touchpoints optimization plan, follow-up flow, ongoing CX monitoring.
Customer experience strategy is important because CX is one of the few differentiators you can use to set your brand apart from your competition and one of the most important elements in keeping customer lifetime value high.