If you’ve ever found yourself questioning the importance of customer experience to your business, let’s end the speculation now.
A recent study found that 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. Forrester reports that 45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly.
In addition, Defaqto Research found that 55% of consumers would actually pay more for a better customer experience. Based on research available today, there should be no question that customer experience is a vital factor in attracting and retaining customers for any business.
Ensuring not only that you have a customer experience strategy but that it is up to date, should be a priority for any company. Yet it can be difficult to know what factors you should consider when looking to update that strategy. We’ve put together a hit list of things we recommend you should consider when looking to update your customer experience strategy.
What is Customer Experience?
First, let’s clarify what we mean when we say customer experience. As a basic definition, we are talking about the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction is made up of three parts: the customer journey, the brand touchpoints the customer interacts with, and the environments the customer experiences during their experience. To put it simply, a good customer experience means that the individual’s experience during all points of contact matches the individual’s expectations.
This leads to a second clarification: the difference between customer experience and customer service. Customer service is a piece of the bigger customer experience. The entirety of their experience with the company from awareness on, digital, in person, phone etc. is all a part of their overall experience with the brand.
With those clarifications out of the way, we now focus back to the question at hand, how can you update and rethink your customer experience strategy?
Understand Your Customers
When was the last time you reviewed data on who your customers are? As our business landscape changes, so too do the needs of your customers and your customers themselves. Evaluation of the data you collect from your customers can uncover new customer personas that could require new ways to advertise or communicate with them in order to optimize the interactions
Understand Their Journey
Small changes within your company can change a customer’s interactions in ways you may not have considered. Review what typical customer journeys look like to ensure you’re offering them the experience you think you are offering. This can be accomplished via internal evaluation, creation of a faux persona and account or via the use of “secret shoppers” who can follow the customer journey and report their findings and suggestions back to your team.
Evaluate Your Brand Voice
How do you speak to your customers? Consider this question via not only your customer service center, but your website navigation, email communications, print mail pieces or sales materials, point of sale pieces, etc. Fully understand what your brand voice is and if it is consistent across channels of communication. If consistency is lacking, this can affect your omni-channel strategy and require adjustments to ensure your brand voice is on point. Customers today want to be communicated with quickly and simply. Does your company tone match their needs and expectations?
Review the Metrics You’ve Collected
You can discover problems with the customer journey via website analytics and from what your customers are telling you, in real time, during their interactions with your brand. Make sure your website analytics, including Google analytics if you’re using GA, are being reviewed by your marketing team. Along with the basics, there are more sophisticated tracking applications that can track how your customers are interacting with your site. Are they finding what they’re looking for or getting lost in the site and having problems converting? The numbers are there, you just have to be willing to listen.
Evaluate Your Internal Training Programs
From every touchpoint on the customer’s journey with your company. What expectations have you have placed with each team along the way and what resources are available to your teams to help them to offer the best experience possible. A Forrester study notes that 42% of service agents are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems, archaic user interfaces, and multiple applications, so considerations towards your team resources should be a big part of evaluating your processes.
Customer experience is a huge factor in the attraction and retention of customers. Businesses need to understand the experience they are offering customers from start to finish in order to ensure they are putting their best foot forward, so regular evaluation of your customer experience strategy is an important process that should be practiced by your organization at minimum annually.
Today’s business landscape is fast-paced and extremely competitive. There is little room for error in most verticals because the competition is never far behind and often lying in wait for the opportunity to lure customers away. While you cannot control the competition, ensuring your customer experience is the best it can be is well within your grasp.
Consistent evaluation and iteration of your customer experience strategy is an effective way to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Looking to expand your customer experience strategy beyond the basics? Check out this short video to learn more: