Not long ago, companies believed they could compete on price. And it worked. For a while. But with the growth of the Internet and smartphones, consumers became more aware than ever of options. And began demanding better experiences along the way. And thus, a new marketing buzzword was born: Customer Experience (CX).
Today, leading researchers consider great customer experience a differentiator, something the modern businesses can use to outrun their competitors. But how can your company identify CX opportunities? How do you build a fantastic customer experience? Let’s take a look.
What is Customer Experience?
Simply put, customer experience is the combined interactions a customer has with your brand. It looks at the lifecycle of the customer, mapping each and every touchpoint the customer has with you. It highlights where you’re delivering an exceptional experience, building loyalty and advocacy. And where you’re delivering a poor experience, driving your customers to competitors. It puts you in the shoes of the customer.
Customer experience, meanwhile, is about showing up for the customer when and where they need you, with ease and consistency on their part. And it’s about making sure every interaction with the company is memorable and meaningful. It’s not transactional, it’s relational.
And so the next question for many companies is, “how do we create a great customer experience?”
Map customers’ journey
A great customer experience starts with a detailed map of your customer’s journey. This is where you create a visualization of every interaction a customer has with your company. It includes indirect interactions, starting before the customer even comes into direct contact with your brand, and continuing until after they make a purchase. Use these moments as opportunities to exceed your customers’ expectations.
When your customers interact with your brand across multiple channels, consistency is paramount. Your customers expect the experience to be the same, whether they are interacting with your brand on your website, social media, or over the phone. If there are gaps or inconsistencies, it can be confusing and frustrating for them, which may drive them into the funnels of your competitors.
The next critical step in the process is gathering feedback from your customers. Surveying your customers on a regular basis is an effective, and accurate, method of understanding where there are gaps in the delivery of a stellar experience.
By collecting data, and analyzing for pain points, you can offer better solutions and continue to capitalize on what you do best. Simply put, you won’t know what you need to work on if you aren’t asking.
Include your employees
The final consideration when crafting a strong customer experience is including internal stakeholders. Employees across your company have diverse perspectives and interact with your customers in different ways.
Including your employees in this process will ensure important details aren’t missed. It will also highlight the value they bring to the organization. When it comes to executing a brilliant customer experience, your employees hold the key.
Benefits of a great customer experience
A primary benefit of great customer experience is brand loyalty and retention, which directly impacts the bottom line since it’s far less expensive to keep existing customers than finding new ones.
In addition, loyal customers who have consistently great experiences become brand advocates. And their proactive word-of-mouth is invaluable to an organization.
At the end of the day, brand loyalty, retention, and advocates lead to increased revenue.
By 2020, companies will be competing more than ever on their ability to deliver the best customer experience possible. Those who do not trade in that currency will be left behind. It’s time to start improving your UX strategy now!