Why You Need a Customer Experience Strategy
Here’s how to get started developing a great one.
The terms “customer service” and “customer experience” are often used interchangeably but understanding the distinction between the two is key in developing strong, lasting relationships with your customers. Good customer service is about improving direct sales or support interactions with your customer. Customer experience is a more holistic term that combines the qualities of your brand with all your company’s touchpoints. Its focus is to create a strong face for your business that will be consistent through all aspects of the customer lifecycle.
Great customer experiences can position businesses to increase consumer satisfaction, reduce customer turnover, and, ultimately, increase revenue.
In 2020, more and more businesses are realizing how important their digital customer experiences are. “73% of customers point to experience as the third most important factor in their purchasing decisions, behind the price and product quality,” according to research collected by PwC.
Each company should come up with a customer experience that is unique to their business needs and the strategy may differ greatly depending on what those needs are. However, each successful plan will start with the same groundwork: determining your basic values, your mission statement, and answering the question, “What is our main goal?”
From there, one must assess their business’s differentiators, their audience, and the specific value their customers will expect from their products or services. The findings of this assessment will form the basic model for business-to-customer interaction, define what success looks like, and provide insight into what areas need improvement. However, the most important thing is to know your target audience.
There are many ways to approach audience definition. Analytics detailing website and social media engagement will give you important demographic data and help you chart who your customers are, past, present, and prospective. Using this data, the team can create customer profiles (e.g. Jenn is a typical 34-year-old customer with young children and a college degree in marketing). This focus on customer archetypes or “personas”, will help you focus on their specific needs.
The more you know your customers, the easier it is to empathize with their issues. The classic “customer service” response goes something like, “I feel so bad. However, that is just how we do things here.” In this case, it’s great that the employee showed sympathy for the customer — but the dissatisfaction remains. Applying empathy at the start of the process will allow you to craft an experience around eliminating your customer’s pain points. For example, the team at Tesla understands that first-time customers need help adjusting to the uniqueness of their product. Part of Tesla’s empathetic customer experience strategy might involve articles, FAQs, a tool for finding electric vehicle charging stations, info about past customer experiences, webinars, and more. All of this, in addition to offering basic customer service options like chat and phone, are ways to get ahead of customer issues.
Creating an excellent customer experience is a continuous process of optimization. Over the course of many interactions, businesses need to gather data on what is working and what isn’t. Along with reporting, the final component of your customer experience plan must involve a system for capturing feedback. Customers and employees should be given away to share their experiences through polls, social media, or reviews. The resulting data will be invaluable to your company as they solidify effective processes and identify what to improve.
As the customer experience evolves, businesses must keep ROI in mind. Did we do what we set out to? Did this decrease customer turnover and increase revenue? Once a customer experience strategy has proven a success, further enhancements can be made. automation. Since it’s always easier to keep a current customer than find a new one, customer experience is and will remain an important consideration for businesses worldwide.