Great customer experience (CX) can lead to increased sales, stronger loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth. Isn’t it something many (all?) companies aim for?
However, many businesses find it challenging to start or improve their CX efforts. Let’s tackle that challenge head-on.
CX boils down to “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.” It’s all about delivering a helpful and enjoyable experience at every customer touchpoint and meeting the customer expectations you’ve set. As per PwC, five key factors make up a good CX:
- Human touch
Read on to explore practical ways to ensure these factors in your business and build an effective customer experience strategy.
Map Your Customer’s Experience to Get the Complete Picture
Journey mapping helps businesses visualize and understand current CX. Here are some tips on implementing this technique:
- Map out key stages customers go through, from initial research to post-purchase.
- Identify different touchpoints like website, app, and customer service.
- Evaluate emotional states at each touchpoint to uncover pain points.
- Create maps for different scenarios and segments for unique insights.
- Analyze maps to find gaps, pain points, and improvement opportunities.
For instance, Spotify used journey mapping to find out what frustrated users when sharing music. The map revealed ways to encourage more sharing and make sharing features more visible. As a result, they made changes, like adding playlist sharing, which significantly boosted music shares.
Journey mapping paid off greatly for them. Don’t know where to start with yours? Consider using ready-to-use customer journey map templates.
Deliver Prompt and Helpful Customer Support across Multiple Channels
Around 80% of American consumers consider speed, convenience, expertise, and friendly service as parts of a positive customer experience.
To achieve this, offering prompt multi-channel support is essential. Provide various support channels like phone, email, chat, in-person, social media, and more. This approach ensures a positive experience because customers can choose their preferred communication method and receive speedy responses.
Every channel has its advantages. For instance, chatbots improve customer service by providing instant responses and saving employees time. These are programs designed to communicate automatically with people, and their use extends well beyond customer support.
Offering self-service options is among other effective approaches. Create FAQs, how-to guides, interactive tools, and additional resources to help customers find information and quickly fix their issues.
Remove any Friction or Obstacles in the Customer Journey
According to PwC, loyal customers are with retailers, products, brands, and devices that consistently offer great value with minimal friction.
So, make it easy for customers to do business with you. For example, you can minimize bad experiences with these tips:
- Simplify the checkout process with guest checkout and saved payment options.
- Reduce waiting times by offering free shipping or expedited delivery.
- Make sure your website and apps are intuitive. Save your customers’ time in navigating them.
- Make the billing and payment process transparent and convenient. Offer clear explanations of charges, multiple payment options, and ways to manage accounts.
- Set clear expectations about service. Explain service standards, policies, delivery times, returns processes, etc., so customers know what to expect.
Understand Customer’s Needs Through a Voice-of-Customer Program
A customer experience component, voice-of-customer (VOC), is the process of collecting and analyzing customer feedback. To determine the VOC, a business should gather and analyze two types of data:
- Indirect input is the data that reflects customer behaviors. It includes transaction data, market research, product usage, and web analytics.
- Direct input is the data that reflects what a customer says. It involves social media monitoring, customer interactions with staff, reviews, and customer interviews to collect both negative and positive feedback.
By listening to customers, businesses can identify weaknesses in their offerings and make targeted improvements. This results in better products and services aligned with customer preferences. You can begin creating your own VOC program with these steps.
Ensure the Security of Customer Data to Build Trust and Protect their Personal Information
43% of U.S. consumers wouldn’t allow companies to collect their personal data for personalized experience. But when they value a service, 63% are more willing to share their data. Building trust is crucial, with 88% of U.S. consumers linking trust to sharing personal information.
Some tips for businesses to ensure the security of customer data are:
- Encrypting sensitive customer information like payment details when those are sent.
- Installing security software to protect systems and data from cyber threats.
- Controlling access to data with role-based permissions, multi-factor authentication, and strong password policies.
- Communicating data practices and protection measures to customers via privacy policies and notices. Obtain consent.
When customers feel their data is safe, they can confidently engage more with your brand. For example, they can explore your website. And if they discover valuable content, they’re likely to stay longer. The next section on improving CX will clarify why.
Create Engaging Content Like Blogs, Videos, Guides
Valuable content like blog posts, videos, infographics, and more not only fosters trust and credibility but also helps customers make the most of your products. To achieve this, developing a content marketing strategy is essential. It can help businesses:
- Boost engagement with better content: For example, Hubspot’s thought leadership content in multiple fields, coupled with effective search engine optimization (SEO), draws over 5 million visitors to their website.
- Cut down on content production costs: Digital collaboration tools, campaign analytics, and AI-driven budget optimization can lower production expenses.
- Maintain brand consistency: Content governance ensures cohesive planning, production, and publication across all marketing and advertising efforts. This helps stay on brand.
- Engaging and helpful content adds to brand loyalty, which you can also boost with our final tip.
Offer Loyalty Benefits and Perks
Last but not least, you can provide loyalty benefits that become more appealing over time for long-standing satisfied customers. Also, consider surprising customers with unexpected perks and upgrades, such as free shipping, discounts, or gifts with purchases.
As an example, Starbucks Rewards is widely known as one of the top retail loyalty programs. In October 2022, they had 28.7 million active members, significantly boosting the company’s revenue. Starbucks Rewards members contributed to 55% of the Seattle-based company’s U.S. operating revenue in the third quarter of 2022.
Improving customer experience greatly benefits your business. Happy customers tend to be loyal customers, and loyal customers are the formula for business success. How’s that for a winning equation?
And the good news is that enhancing CX doesn’t have to be daunting. You can start by:
- Visualizing and understanding your current CX through journey mapping.
- Providing several support communication channels, like email, chatbots, and social media.
- Making it easy for customers to do business with you, e.g., by simplifying the checkout process.
- Implementing a voice of customer program.
- Safeguarding customer data.
- Engaging in content marketing.
- Creating loyalty programs.
Take it step by step, and you’ll see long-term benefits. It’s not as overwhelming or confusing as it may seem, is it?