How To Improve Customer Experience
A great customer experience (CX) requires a customer-first mindset and a lot of carefully thought-out work. Businesses that deliver an exceptional customer experience (CX) are the ones that dominate their industry.
Delivering a positive customer experience is popular for a good reason. With the competition high for many businesses, they simply cannot afford to provide mediocre service and risk losing customers. Poor customer service is costing companies more than $75 billion a year.
Savvy business leaders leverage excellent customer experience management to gain a competitive advantage and effectively differentiate and stand out from their competitors. The two primary touchpoints that create the customer experience are the people and the products.
What Is Customer Experience?
Simply put, customer experience is the impression your brand leaves your customers after all aspects of their buying process.
Many times, limited unique product features that differentiate a business from its competition make human interaction a critical part of a customer’s experience. The ultimate goal is to provide an outstanding customer experience to win them over to keep them coming back and be loyal to your brand.
Customer experience includes all aspects of the buying journey from the marketing ad that drew them in, the user-friendliness of the website, the buying process, and the customer service before and after the sale.
The entire process adds to how the customer feels about your brand. At every touchpoint with a customer, you can improve or destroy how they feel about you.
It’s crucial to look at each touchpoint to ensure it’s adding to a positive experience for your customers, which will add to your business’s long-term success.
Why Is Customer Experience Important?
The bitter truth is, U.S. consumers today are quick to abandon one company for another for reasons such as price, quality, and poor customer experiences. Improving customer experience has a major impact on a business’s bottom line. Investing in customer experience also reduces operational costs.
Nowadays, customers don’t solely base their loyalty on price or product. A bigger deciding factor is their experience from doing business with a company and how it made them feel. If your brand doesn’t keep up with the demand for a positive experience, your customers will likely leave for a competitor who is putting more attention on the customer’s experience.
This customer experience study shows:
- Eighty-six percent of consumers will pay more to receive a better customer experience.
- Eighty-nine percent of consumers turned to a competitor after a poor customer experience.
In today’s technology-driven world, one customer who received a poor experience with your brand shares their story online in many places, which is seen by thousands, tainting your brand’s reputation. A single negative review could be detrimental to your business.
On the other hand, a customer who had an exceptional experience with your brand may share their experience online for potentially thousands to see, which is an extremely valuable marketing asset that didn’t take from your marketing budget.
When your customers are happy, they are more likely to purchase from you again and refer their friends and family to your brand.
A bad customer experience is caused by:
- Rude employees
- Issues or questions that go unresolved
- Inadequate products or service
- Too much automation or not enough of a human connection
- Unpersonalized service
- Long wait times
- Employees who do not understand the customer’s needs
6 Ways To Improve Customer Experience
Make Service Your Top Priority
Customer service is a huge part of a positive customer experience. Customers will buy from you time and time again when they feel confident they will get the support they need whenever they need it.
When you make customer service a top priority, you’re letting people know that they matter and are valued. Spending the time to listen to your client’s wants, needs, and issues and quickly fixing any problems helps your customers feel satisfied and cared for.
You could even win back a dissatisfied customer by providing excellent customer service and make them feel heard. Every customer should end a customer service interaction feeling appreciated and satisfied.
Set High Standards
The best companies set high standards for customer experience. These companies invest in training, rewarding, and coaching their employees on fulfilling those standards. The standards for service should be consistent for everyone in the company.
However, the leaders within the organization set the tone and expectations for the entire company making it essential for top executives to model the culture, attitude, and first-class service they expect. It’s vital to train managers to provide top-notch customer service — don’t expect them to know how to, or you’re potentially setting your team up for failure.
Today, many companies try to simplify their process using technology and lose sight of the human connection. Yes, speed and ease of buying are important, but people remember how you make them feel. It’s critical to make that connection to retain your customers.
It’s also extremely beneficial to your business to make it known that customer service is your highest priority. When your brand has the image of providing exceptional service, you’re more likely to have a higher volume of organic new leads coming in, which positively affects your bottom line.
Invest in Your Employees
Employees who are on the frontlines interacting with your customers are the face of your business to your customers. That employee may be the only human interaction your client gets with your brand, so it must go well.
When an employee is happy at work, it shows through their performance. Employees that feel valued and appreciated are more likely to have a positive attitude and be committed to the success of your organization.
Getting their feedback and listening to their ideas helps them feel important and part of the team, which means they are willing to ensure your customers’ experience with your brand is positive.
Sending surveys is an excellent way to understand how your employee experience. It’s essential to take action when you get feedback to fix any areas that may be causing your employees to be unhappy at work and not committed to the organization’s success.
8 Ways To Improve Employee Happiness:
- Give recognition – Being recognized for hard work goes a long way and motivates employees to continue to do their best. This recognition could be in an email or verbally.
A simple weekly team meeting to recognize excellent work or achievements can be super impactful for the entire organization.
- Offer perks and benefits – Perks for hard work go a long way, and it could be as simple as free coffee or food. Some companies go further and offer perks that get their employees raving about their jobs, such as chair massages, mobile car washes, yoga, or fitness classes at the office.
- Team building activities – Fostering friendships within the office has many benefits, including employees who work together as a team, fewer politics, and happier to come to work.
Hosting team-building activities is an excellent way to get your employees closer and build stronger bonds. It’s a way to get out and have fun together without the hustle and bustle of the office.
- Incentives and compensation – Ensuring your employees receive competitive compensation is a great way to keep them happy and stay long-term with your organization. Offering incentives for exceptional work gets them motivated to do great.
Playing games within the office to reach goals is an excellent way to get your entire team excited to work hard to accomplish the same thing. Of course, there should be rewards for reaching goals as an incentive.
- Eliminate toxic employees – One toxic employee brings the entire group down, so it’s critical to handle toxic employees immediately. A no-office politics policy is an excellent way to make it known that talking negatively about another employee or the organization will not be tolerated.
- Welcome feedback – When your employees know you want their feedback on their thoughts and opinions about how things run in the office, it makes it more comfortable for them to speak up when something is upsetting them.
- Invest in their personal development – Helping your employees learn and grow to move up the ladder within the organization helps them see the bigger picture and work towards goals set.
- Proper training – When you onboard an employee, it’s crucial to quickly give them the proper training and empower them to do what’s right (and best) for the company’s success.
The training should include: How to provide exceptional customer service, what’s expected in their role, the organization’s goals, company culture, and even how to handle upset customers.
Quickly Identify and Eliminate Any Customer Dissatisfaction
Listening to your customers’ upsets and complaints gives you an idea of areas within your process that need improvement. It’s vital to take action when you hear about any dissatisfaction from a customer.
Of course, you can’t make everyone happy, and sometimes people complain for reasons that are not valid or out of your control. However, it’s imperative you look into every complaint and validate it and see if there’s an issue that needs to be fixed to avoid any upsets in the future.
You may need to step back and look at your entire process from the customer’s perspective. Walking through the sales journey as if you were a customer gives you a better idea of your customers’ likes and dislikes about your process.
You may find parts of your process that are downright annoying or repetitive, creating friction or frustration that you could quickly fix to eliminate it from happening in the future.
People love to feel special, and that’s no exception when doing business with a company. When you know your customers better, you can give them personalized service, making them feel important, strengthening your brand’s bond with the customer, and increasing their loyalty. When you know more about your customer’s likes and dislikes, you can also personalize ads to get them back to purchase more often.
Calling your customer by name and talking to them like you would like your best friend (but professionally) helps build closeness and increase customer loyalty. A loyal customer is more likely to tell you when they are upset about your product or service so you can fix the problem, while a new customer may never do business with your brand again without telling you why.
Loyalty Programs and Incentives
One of the easiest ways to add to a great customer experience is to offer a loyalty or rewards program. Rewards and incentives help create a positive and satisfying customer experience, which in turn increases brand loyalty.
You can incorporate social and behavioral actions, such as referral rewards and points for user-generated content to increase loyalty program ROI and consumer retention. Customers are more likely to stick with a brand offering a loyalty program, making it an excellent way to increase client retention.
A retained customer is a huge asset to any brand since they bring more revenue and have more chances of becoming brand advocates.
To stay competitive with providing a great customer experience, you will need to ensure you’re always staying up to date with your technology. This includes providing an informative and user-friendly website that offers customer service through common channels such as online chat, social media, and SMS.
If customers have issues or delays in getting service, they may simply go to another provider that offers a faster and smoother process. Also, it’s important to note that consumers today want service quickly, no matter the time of day or night which sometimes means offering service 24/7 to provide the best experience for your customers.
Analyzing and Measuring Customer Journey
Assuming you know your customer’s experience without analyzing and measuring it sets your business up for failure. Ninety-six percent of unhappy customers don’t complain, and 91 percent of those will simply leave your brand and never come back.
Also, a dissatisfied customer tells around 9-15 people about their poor experience and writes negative online reviews about your company.
Many companies send after sale emails or customer surveys asking for feedback which is a great way to show you care about their experience with your brand and hear of any areas within your processes that need improvement. Asking for their feedback makes a customer feel important, involved and that their opinion is truly valued.
There are several different customer feedback metrics used individually or together to get an indication of customer experience. By measuring your customers’ experience, you can track how it improves or worsens and use that data to evaluate the success or failure of the changes you make.
Here are two top metrics used to improve your customer experience strategy over time:
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net Promoter Score is a loyalty score that is obtained by asking your website visitors one closed-ended question: “On a scale from zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend [your brand] to a friend or colleague?”.
You can choose to change the question slightly to better suit your business and use follow-up questions to get more insight. However, the point of NPS is to get a numerical score on a scale from zero to 100 that represents customer experience.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
CSAT surveys measure your customers’ satisfaction with your product or service. CSAT scores are expressed with a five or seven-point scale (where one is very unsatisfied and seven is very satisfied) or with yes/no answers.
The Net Promoter Score asks customers to consider their overall feeling towards the brand and their likelihood of recommending it or not. In contrast, the CSAT focuses the customer’s attention on specific touchpoints with which they are satisfied or dissatisfied.
You can send CSATs after every interaction with a customer to pinpoint any areas within your process that may need improvement.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Your CES helps to measure the amount of effort your customers put forth to solve their problems using your services. This is another customer-centric metric that helps to improve customer retention.Again, you can reach out to customers via any device or forum: Mobile devices, live chat, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
While pricing is complex and involves marketing, psychology, and revenue modeling, customer experience is the easiest benefit that quickly sets you apart from your competitors.
Focus on customer service and fulfilling your customers’ wants and needs, as well as meeting and exceeding their expectations, and you’ll create a large following of consumer advocates that do a significant amount of marketing for you, aka free advertising.
Focus On a Positive Customer Experience
A positive customer experience is critical to the success of a business. With so many choices for who to do business with, there’s no doubt consumers call the shots. A positive customer experience is critical to the success of your business.
Happy customers are more likely to become loyal customers boosting revenue and becoming brand advocates, which are free marketers for your business, making it a win-win. Keep in mind, when you’re focused on customer service, your customers are more satisfied and feel good about their experience with your brand.
Many of the top companies obsess over it.
Don’t Forget To Ask For Feedback
A customers’ experience with your brand begins the moment they learn about your business. It is essential to look at all touchpoints possible to ensure that your customers’ experience with your brand is favorable.
Surveying your customers and asking for feedback gives you the data needed to make changes that improve customer satisfaction. Taking action is vital when receiving negative feedback to find what went wrong and correct it from happening in the future.
Showing your customers, you care about their experience goes a long way and helps build closer relationships with them. Personalizing the service and offering a loyalty program is an excellent way to boost their experience and keep them coming back to your brand time and time again.
Value Your Employees
Human contact is a huge part of the customer’s experience. Hence, you must have happy, trained professionals working on your team who are dedicated to the success of your organization with a customer-first mindset.
Invest in your employees, and your employees will invest in your company by providing excellent service and working towards the same common goals of the organization.
Are you in need of a customer service team to improve your customers’ experience with your brand? Contact Awesome CX today, and we’ll ensure your customers rave about your awesome service!
Businesses Lose $75 Billion Due To Poor Customer Service
The Value of Customer Experience, Quantified
2011 Customer Experience Impact Report – Consumer and Brand Relationship