How to Define and Develop a Customer Experience Strategy
What is Customer Experience, and Why is it So Important?
Customer experience is a top priority for many businesses, and the reason is simple: the companies that focus on customer experience have higher customer retention and increased revenues. American consumers are willing to spend more on companies that get the service right. If you make your customers feel warm and fuzzy about their interactions with your business, they will be your customer for life.
All of the ways your business interacts with a customer and the interactions with the business’s products or service is included in your customer experience. Whether it’s a call to your customer service, email communication, or even something as dreary as paying a bill, every interaction between your customers and your businesses builds (or damages) the relationship.
These days customers have more ways to interact with businesses and experience them than ever before. This includes:
- Traditional brick-and-mortar store visits
- Social media
- Mobile apps
- Website and SMS chat
- Creative endeavors from marketing
- Online support forms
Benefits of Great Customer Service
Of course, getting people in the door is the key to success in business. Keeping customers coming back for more is an even bigger challenge. Repeat sales are not accidental, and with creating a positive customer experience, buyers are likely to purchase again and refer others which turns into more dough for you.
It costs your company almost nothing to get a referral from a customer, but they bring invaluable warm leads that close at a higher rate. Companies see up to a whopping 80 percent rate of closings when the sales call came from strong customer referrals.
As a small or start-up business, you just may not be able to afford to offer the low prices that your big-time competitor charges. But, if you provide top-notch customer service, you can offset the effect of your higher prices by offering a superior customer experience that simply makes your customers feel good.
When your company has the reputation of providing top-notch awesome customer service, it gives you the wiggle room to charge more for your products and services because your buyers will be willing to pay a little more to feel appreciated and happily taken care of.
So you not only will have more customers and more capital, but you will also have a better, more upbeat work environment. A company that provides a consistently awesome customer experience has a positive effect on its employees. Happy employees willingly go out of their way to deliver above-and-beyond experiences for their customers to feel better about their work, which has a huge effect on how much they love their job.
Consequences of Poor Customer Service
Companies who are culprits of poor customer service are often faced with some negative consequences — many of which are tough to overcome and can lead to the company closing its doors for good.
Think back to the last time you experienced bad customer service, like really bad. Did you return to buy again? Did you tell others about your bad experience?
Poor customer service can completely destroy the average customer lifetime value, which will then take more of your limited marketing budget to attract more customers. Bringing in new customers typically costs more than keeping your current customers.
Your brand’s reputation is on the line and it’s a valuable asset that you should have control over. Your reputation could be affected when your customer service is below expectations. As we all know, consumers are easily triggered to leave negative reviews online when they have a bad experience with a company. People love to vent about their negative experiences. With all the social media platforms everyone is you could be sure they will share their frustrations there too for others to know about.
Poor customer service could also negatively affect other areas of a business. If your company forms a bad reputation, your best employees may consider leaving to go to a new company or, worse, your competition.
Good or bad customer experience impacts all areas of your business, but how do you get started? We got you!
Here are 3 ways to create an exceptional customer experience:
- Create a clear 5-star customer experience vision
The first step to create a customer experience strategy is easy, just ensure your team understands your vision to always provide exceptional customer service. Include this vision in part of your mission statement and ensure all team members know the statement by heart and carry it throughout all the work they do. Say it aloud together at your weekly staff meeting.
In order to have loyal customers, you first need happy employees who are valued and feel valuable. A winning company culture has been shown to improve levels of employee involvement, productivity and even performance.
At Zappos, first of their 10 core values is “deliver wow through service” and if you’ve ever done business with them you will see that their employees are committed to it. Really, they are super chipper! When your team is clear on the principles and values expected it becomes part of your culture throughout your organization and your customers will really feel it.
Leadership must set the standards and drive its customer experience values throughout the organization. Train your team how to provide consistent 5 star service to your customers – don’t expect them to know how to. Your training and the tools you provide, your policies and processes, as well as your company’s culture all need to serve the customers and employees who serve them. Here are a few tips:
- Hire problem solvers
- Encourage active listening
- Support wide-ranging company knowledge
- Talk to your employees, get their feedback and really listen to their needs and ideas
- Make customer service everybody’s job
- Be the example of the behavior and values you want to set
- Share company goals
2. Incorporate customer feedback for continuous improvement
The key objective of every business is to make customers happy, satisfy their needs, and eventually to keep them loyal to you. But how can you be sure that what you’re doing is actually going to bring desired results?
If you do not really learn what your customers think about your business, you will not be able to give them the best customer experience. When you get their feedback and opinions about their experience, you can adjust to match their needs more accurately. This is why incorporating feedback should be a must for your customer experience strategy as they provide important information about their experience with your brand.
How does valuing customer feedback help to increase customer experience? There are two ways:
- Asking for their feedback communicates to them that you care about them, and it will help you create a stronger relationship, so they feel more attached to your company and form loyalty to your brand.
- Getting customer feedback will give you an insight into what’s working well about your product or service and what should be done differently to make the experience better.
Customers who give a perfect ten rating on a customer experience survey are likely to spend a massive 140% more than a client who selects the lowest rating. Moving up just a single point in satisfaction increases the client’s average revenue with a business by over 25%. This just translates to more cash money for your business.
- Understand your audience and create buyer personas
Who are your customers and what motivates them? A buyer persona is just a really detailed description of someone who represents your target audience, but it’s super important to know who they are. You’ll assign this customer persona a name, give them demographic details, interests, and even behavioral traits. Understand their goals and buying patterns as well.
The idea is to think about your model customer as if they were a real live person. Think of them as your new friend. This will also allow you to create awesome marketing messages targeted specifically to them that will actually work. Your buyer persona will guide everything within your organization from the products or services you develop to your brand voice to all the social channels you use.
With this buyer persona, you will be able to:
- Reframe your work from the customer’s perspective.
- Understand the complete end-to-end customer experience.
- Create marketing content that will speak to your buyer.
- Get a better understanding of what social channels your buyer uses most so you could target your ads more effectively.
- Analyze the benefits you offer your customer.
- Identify customer’s needs and goals.
- Address customer priorities.
Think about your buyer persona with each decision you make within your organization, including your marketing strategy. It will help you build a better connection with your real customers — boosting sales and brand loyalty.
Great customer service creates a cool enjoyable experience and opens the door for your customers to be excited about doing business with your company again. So if you get everything right, you will have executed the amazing experience flawlessly and result in totally happy customers that spread your brand to others. Analyze mistakes and quickly repair any flaws, then keep pushing forward to the fabulous experience your customers deserve.
If you treat your employees well they are likely to treat their customers well. Create your company culture from the start. Happy employees who are committed to the company will provide excellent customer service to ensure company success. When “doing the right thing” is part of the culture, that translates into a great customer experience.
Top-notch customer service is super important for every business, so if you make it a priority, your company will stand out from your competition and attract even more customers.
Call AwesomeOS.com and we’ll show you how we could make your customers experience amazing!