Forget Customer Service! Customer Experience Is the New Normal
Ever since its importance is being felt by majority of businesses, the term customer experience (CX) has become more than just a catchphrase or a buzzword. It is now one of the topmost priorities, around which marketers have started designing and implementing their strategies. The increased frequency of customer experience in variety of corporate discussions indicates that it has gained a significant traction in the business world.
According to a recent report conducted by Forrester, it was found that 72% of businesses have CX as their topmost priority. They also concede that in the past they lost a considerable chunk of their revenues due to poor customer experience. So, in the coming years we are going to witness a transformative revamp in the business-consumer relationship.
If we go by the trends, there is more interactive communication going to take place between these two entities since consumers are more empowered and pretty much know how to put money where the mouth is. Which is why, it is more than ever pertinent for businesses to reconstruct their approach toward CX.
What is customer experience and why is it so important in today’s perspective?
Customer experience refers to the sum total of all the interactions of a customer with a company regarding its products or services. Businesses that skillfully manage and execute various important customer service strategies reap tremendous benefits. As far as interaction is concerned, there is a multitude of touch points that make an important impact to set a stage for building a relationship between a company and customer. This relationship ensures that every touch point comes with a positive experience.
While creating an improved CX from end-to-end is the topmost priority in today’s scenario, different experts across the spectrum have different recommendations in terms of taking a top down approach. These include continuously monitoring customer feedback across touch points, taking good and honest online reviews from them regarding products or services, going an extra mile when it is least expected, so on and so forth. In general there may be myriad ways to influence customer experience, but identifying the most impactful ones is the real deal of the hour.
Customer experience is important for the simple reason that customers are what companies sell their products to, run their business on, and make profits from. So, the following points tell us how important customer experience is in today’s perspective:
- A better CX means higher customer referral rates due to better customer satisfaction.
- It improves customer acquisition, increases customer loyalty, and eases customer retention.
- It fulfils exceeded customer expectations, which means increased customer satisfaction.
- Creating an enjoyable and memorable CX reduces customer churn.
- It puts businesses at a competitive advantage and differentiation.
Before moving further, it is important to understand how customer experience is going to be the new normal rather than customer service. The latter is just one aspect of CX. The customer experience, therefore, can be understood using two important parameters:
- Different customers have different perceptions about an attribute
- This difference in perception should align with the difference in overall satisfaction.
These two parameters are crucial determinants to improve overall satisfaction of customers. For example, the essential factors for building customer experience in sales area are, service, retail facilities, products offered, pricing, shipping, packaging etc. So, the primary reason to understand the importance of various attributes of CX is to prioritize improvements.
Key strategies for improving customer experience
If better customer experience is on top of your agenda and want to devise effective strategies to improve CX, consider incorporating the following points:
1. Employ the 3Ds of customer experience
The three imperatives are:
- Design value propositions: If you want to provide an outstanding customer experience, you need to categorize your customers into different segments and design experience-focused value propositions for each one of them. This will be helpful for you in understanding your customers’ needs and wants.
- Deliver high customer value:Delivering high customer value is the key to your company’s success. Since value is perceived at various levels, so it needs to be delivered accordingly regardless of the time of selling your product or service. The higher the contribution your product or service offers to your customers, the better customer experience they will ultimately get. Therefore, in order to achieve that, try to be relentlessly efficient.
- Develop capabilities to deliver value Consistently: If you have systems in place to deliver a consistence customer experience over and over again, you will better realize your company’s short-term as well as long-term goals.
2. Encourage customer feedback on what and how to improve
One of the best ways to improve customer experience is to obtain your customers’ opinion and feedback because they are cardinal factors that tell you what to improve. As a simple rule of thumb, use your customer service feedback as a guiding star to quickly and easily learn what’s not working or what’s frustrating your customers the most. Quickly and diligently responding to your online customer reviews is a reflection of the status of your company. They will certainly appreciate your acknowledgement of their opinions and ideas.Measuring customer satisfaction also helps you determine whether your product or service meets or surpasses customer expectations. Furthermore, taking customer feedback invariably provides you an actionable insight to create a better customer experience, and you also get a tangible data that can be used to make better business decisions.
3. Self-service management
Customers today are more inclined towards finding ways regarding self service rather than seeking every little help. So you need to post online self-service support information that customers can find and use themselves. For example, FAQs are a time-tested self-service option. As a matter of fact, compared to other service channels, majority of consumers prefer self-service. Since, one of the most effective ways to improve CX is to cater to specific consumer preferences, so in this case, providing self-service resources will certainly improve CX. Companies, therefore, should make it imperative to offer effective, usable self-service resources in order for them to provide customers the experience they want.
4. Social media support
Social media has become a highly interactive place where people share their experience with their friends, family and acquaintances. This provides a genuine user generated content for your prospective customers, which you should also take very seriously. Social media being a potential CX minefield, you need to craft effective ways to monitor the conversations occurring on your customers’ social spheres. Social media is increasingly playing a pivotal role in customer experience management because organic conversations on this platform allow the data to be turned into a research opportunity, which subsequently help you improve the overall experience. There are many other ways to use social media to your advantage for improving CX, such as personalize your marketing by ensuring more relevant messaging, write content dedicated to customer experience, solve issues promptly, and creating a customer experience culture.
5. Optimize your workforce continuously
Lastly, you need to synchronize your workforce with your customer experience strategy by incorporating real-time skills assessment and training. It is extremely crucial to effectively manage your customers’ interests throughout their journey in order to deliver a consistent experience across all channels. You should be able to define people in your organization and relate customer-centric tasks to them. As a result, you will be successful in creating a measurable and manageable workflow in your company. While addressing your customers’ needs, this improved workflow will effectively process real-time customer activity and provide relevant information.