7 ways to create a great customer experience strategy
Gartner defines customer experience (CX) as the discipline of understanding customers and deploying strategic plans that enable cross-functional efforts and customer-centric culture to improve satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.
Although customer service and customer experience are related, they aren’t the same. CX can include anything from customer service to personalised content, the customer journey and listening to customer feedback.
In today’s hypercompetitive landscape, customer experience is more important than ever. So how does your company shape up, and how can you improve your approach?
Published April 18, 2022
Last updated April 28, 2022
Why is customer experience management important?
Companies that excel at customer experience have been shown to drive revenues 4-8% higher than their competitors. This increase can be attributed to a variety of benefits that arise from improving CX.
Additionally, people who enjoy their customer care typically tell others about it. In fact, SEMRush found that 78% of people rave about their favourite recent customer experiences to people they know at least once per week, and 90% of people are much more likely to trust a recommended brand.
TechTarget explains that by receiving feedback from clients, you also gain valuable information about your competitors. CX is also often linked to employee experience, meaning that improving one will contribute to the other. So what are the ways for you to achieve better CX?
An action plan to improve customer satisfaction
1. Adopt a customer-first approach
Before you can implement actual changes, you need to look at your company’s culture and its values. Taking a customer-first approach means that you put customer satisfaction above all else.
First, it should be reflected in your mission statement. A good example comes from Apple’s statement: “To bring the best user experience to its customers through its innovative hardware, software, and services.” Second, you should reflect this approach in your employee handbook. You should also stress this in any meeting, training, or presentation. Make it a part of the company’s DNA.
Once you make this shift, it will be easier for everyone in the company to take the customer into account in everything they do. An example of that, according to CX pros, is setting internal goals that think of the customer. For instance, you may want to keep support conversations under five minutes to improve your call centre's efficiency – but that will probably translate into a poor customer experience. Before adopting any new goal, it’s important to ask, “How will this affect the customer?”
2. Get to know your customers
The next step is to understand who your audience is so you can provide them with the best, most personalised experience. Dave Dyson, Senior Customer Service Evangelist at Zendesk says that “Your customer-facing teams are going to have a good feel for what the biggest pain points are for customers.” Since they talk to customers regularly, you can get a lot of information from them to establish your customer profile.
Combine that with data that you probably already collect, such as age, location, interests and buying behaviour. With all of that, you can create different customer categories, and provide tailored services accordingly.
For instance, if you know that a group of people are between 20-30 years old, make all of their purchases online and are tech-savvy, you may prefer to text them about new offers.
3. Take your customer journey apart
To better understand where you need to make improvements, you need to look at each point of contact your customers have with the brand. This includes everything from searching the website and using chatbots to placing an order, receiving refunds and making a complaint. If you map out the entire journey, it will be easier for you to pinpoint the issues that need to be addressed.
4. Cultivate human connections
A report by Capgemini reveals that customers are more likely to consider purchasing again from a brand when they connect to it on a personal level. So newsletters and mass messages may be an efficient way to connect with consumers, but nothing beats a personal touch.
Look at the CX you’ve mapped out, and consider where you can make that connection. It could be with a handwritten note inside the purchase thanking that person for supporting your brand. Maybe it’s by sending branded merchandise, personalised with their name, on their birthday. In addition, train your staff to pay special attention during calls, and encourage them to go the extra mile for customers.
5. Act on customer feedback
One of the easiest strategies to improve customer satisfaction is to simply listen to them. Since it’s their experience you want to improve, they are the ones to give you the information you need.
Aim to collect as much feedback as possible. At the end of every call, email a survey. Look at Yelp and Google reviews. Track what your customers are saying about you on social media. Create focus groups. Encourage feedback at any point of the customer journey, and act on it promptly.
6. Make your employees a part of the change
To deliver the best CX, you need your employees to be on board. Before you implement any changes, make sure you talk to your staff about the CX and explain why these changes are important. Keeping the lines of communication open throughout the change can also help you understand what you’re doing wrong—as the employee experience is closely linked to making customers happy.
7. Measure customer satisfaction
Implementing a customer service strategy and improving customer experience is just half the battle. Once that’s done, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse and ensure the strategy is working. The best way to do that is to set clear ROIs and track them. Are your sales improving? Is your retention rate higher? Are your feedback scores rising? All of these can help you determine if your CX strategy is working.
Not sure where your organisation stands in terms of CX? Read more about CX maturity here.