The Definitive Guide to Customer Experience

Customer experience ranges from scale immaculate to infuriating. You will never forget either extreme. Think about the tailor who happily rushed in a last-minute alternation. Memorable, right? Again think about the last time a restaurant staff unapologetically gave you terrible service yet charged the full price. Also unforgettable, right?

The way you think about your customer experience profoundly impacts how you look at your business. Outstanding customer experience is the heart of every successful business. But get it wrong once, and consumers won’t bother to give you a second chance.

It’s no wonder businesses that deliver the best customer experience have the most loyal customers. In fact, a study by American Express found that 86% of customers are willing to pay for exceptional experiences.

Moreover, Temkin Group found that companies that earn $1 billion annually may gain an additional $700 million within 3 years by spending on flawless customer experience. That is a 70% boost in revenue within 36 months.

This is just one reason why obsessing over customer experience is crucial. If your ongoing CX is not up to a standard, we got solutions to change that. 

Read the guide to explore.

 

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience or CX is the inkling clients have about your brand throughout all aspects of the buyers’ journey– even if it does not result in a purchase. Whether a support call or something as simple as paying a bill– every exchange between the business and consumer builds or damages the relationship.

Here are a few statistics that caught our eye:

  • Over the next few years, customer experience will become the number one brand differentiator.
  • Customers are willing to pay a premium of up to 13% for luxury and indulgence services just by receiving a great customer experience.
  • 1 out of 3 customers will leave a brand if they encounter a bad experience.
  • 49% of buyers make impulse purchases after receiving a personalized customer experience.

So, businesses must focus on the customer experience they will deliver for their clients.

According to a global CX study by Oracle, it was found that 74% of senior executives believe customer experience impacts the willingness of a customer to be a loyal advocate. The happier customers stay with a brand, the longer they’ll stay with a business. So, if you treat customers poorly, then they are likely to stop doing business with you. This is why companies that offer superior customer experience outperform their competitors.

 

Benefits of Superior Customer Experience

Today customers have the power over sellers. Who delivered this power? Businesses like us– with the help of the world wide web.

With the increasing competition, customers have several options at their fingertips, plus the resources essential to educate themselves about the services. This is why it is so important to deliver a distinctive customer experience.

Benefits Of Superior Customer Experience

Customer Experience Improves Conversion Rates

An effective way to boost your conversion rates is by focusing on your customer’s journey. You need to keep your customers satisfied and meet their expectations through a better customer experience. Since retaining existing customers is more uncomplicated than finding new ones, you should design a CX that provides value through each touch point of the conversion funnel.

Here are some tips you can follow to improve your CX:

  • Know your target audience
  • Prepare an Ideal Customer Profile or ICP for better prospecting
  • Use personalization
  • Focus on customer lifetime value
  • Reward loyal customers

 

Customer Experience Increases Customer Engagement

Brand engagement or loyalty originates from customer touchpoints. And more engagement means mutually beneficial relationships.

One of the practical ways to connect with them is through social media and emails. Not only do you get insightful feedback on the platform, but you can also create a safe atmosphere for your consumers to share their experiences and demands about your brand.

 

Customer Experience Reduces Customer Support Cost

Instead of randomly guessing your customers’ needs, focus on building a customer-centric culture. Many companies try various hypotheses to modify their CX strategy based on customer satisfaction.

A perfect customer-centric culture lets you understand how to deliver the best CX at each stage. This way businesses can cut down their marketing budget while increasing customer satisfaction because they know how to spend money wisely.

 

CX Impacts Customer Acquisition

You have no idea how negative CX can repel prospects for life. One negative word on social media– and game over. So, CX is substantial for new customer acquisition.

As Jeff Bezos says, “If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” Studies further revealed that 92% of customer trust is based on recommendations and referrals. So, if you want to acquire customers, make sure to deliver a great CX for existing buyers.

 

Customer Experience Increases Loyalty & Retention

According to Statista, 61% of customers in the U.S. are willing to pay extra for unparalleled customer service on the condition that you provide additional value in each transaction. People are on the search for high-quality products and services. Unless you ensure an excellent CX strategy, it’s improbable that you can retain your customers.

 

Examples of Companies With Riveting Customer Experience

Companies today are competing for the love and attention of their customers. And here are a few examples of our favorites:

  1. Uber: If you’ve ever ordered an Uber, you know how quick, convenient, and smooth the process is. With just a tap of the fingers, you can book a ride and pop to any destination. It just takes a few minutes for the ride to arrive. You can do everything from the mobile-friendly app, from leaving tips to contacting customer support. This is what a frictionless customer experience looks like– one that is smooth and doesn’t require any complicated steps to use.
  2. FedEx: It might seem CX only pertains to B2C companies, but it plays a role in B2B companies. For instance, FedEx figured out ways to take the hassle out of sending and receiving packages.
    Further, they have taken massive steps to make customer communication a breeze. And this has helped the company not only boost CX but also become a popular vendor globally.

 

Understanding Customer Experience

As businesses constantly grow, a great customer experience strategy is now the key to success. Indeed today’s shoppers are empowered like never before, and delivering great CX can help businesses run loyalty and revenue in the long run. Downplaying the importance of CX is no longer an option today for businesses since customers’ voice gets louder every day. 

In this section, we’ll take a deeper understanding of customer experience.

 

How is Customer Experience Different From Customer Service?

You might be wondering whether customer experience is the same as customer service. The answer is No, and here’s why.

Typically, a customer’s first contact point is contacting the employees. This allows companies to deliver excellent customer service. But, customer service is only one aspect of the customer experience model.

For instance, when reaching your travel agent, if the person is jolly and friendly– that’s good customer service. However, if your tickets don’t arrive in time and the hotel room is crappy– then that’s a terrible customer experience.

That’s how the two are different.

There are even more ways to distinguish CX from customer service:

  1. Control Level: The organization has complete control over the services it provides. However, it’s more limited for CX. It mainly depends on how customers perceive your brand.
  2. Reactive Vs. Proactive: Customer service is initiated by the customer. When customers face a problem, they reach your brand for support. So, it is reactive. However, CX is about anticipating consumers’ needs through customer journey mapping. So, it is proactive.
  3. Ownership: Customer service is primarily the responsibility of customer support teams. Other teams may interact with the customers, but the support team is accountable for delivering the help people need.

CX is a shared responsibility of the entire organization. Everyone within the company should create the best CX at all touchpoints.

 

Components of Great Customer Experience

There’s a massive philosophical shift in how companies think now. The CX strategies that worked once do not cut in anymore. So, let’s have a quick rundown on the CX components built for today.

Components Of Great Customer Experience

  1. Reliability: Reliability helps to build your company’s brand image and generate positive feedback.
    So what comprises reliability?
    • Delivering support for both critical and non-critical aspects
    • System and data safety
    • Integrating guarded and robust channels for communication
    • Resolutions in the shortest time possible
    • Consistently delivering outstanding services
  1. Availability: In today’s fast-paced world, customers expect an an-easy-to-reach-out company. They might interact via different platforms but they want prompt and accurate solutions. Long waiting times and recurrent queries are unacceptable in the current business hierarchy.
  2. Convenience: In addition to availability, customers expect convenience. The ability to reduce non-monetary costs like time, energy, and effort during purchasing impacts CX significantly.
  3. Personalization: When customers engage with top-notch personalization, they feel valued. In fact, 71% of customers expect personalized interactions, and 76% get frustrated when this is delayed.
  4. Simplicity: Customers expect their buyer journey will be a simple and seamless process. This means a business should keep the number of jumps from one touchpoint to another at a minimum.
  5. Adaptability: Because digital channels are evolving, consumers will experiment with new technologies and engagement channels. So, brands must consider the shift and implement the changes required to maintain a quick and smooth buyer journey.

 

Importance of Empathy in Customer Experience

Did you know 61% of consumers leave your brand because a competitor provided better CX? Not a better product.

Offering genuine empathy in customer experience is what sets current businesses apart. It leads to an excellent CX that drives:

  • Loyalty
  • Positive Reviews
  • Repeat Sales

When companies implement empathy on CX, even a simple interaction with a rep can get more meaningful. Compassion reflects positivity on the brand when:

  • Customers feel like they are being heard
  • Their concerns and issues are taken seriously
  • The company is doing everything to help them

Here’s how you can incorporate empathy into the buyer journey:

  • Listen and not just hear. Use your focus and recognize customers’ sentiments
  • Acknowledge customers’ feelings and opinions
  • Personalize the experience, but avoid the sales jargon
  • Help. Don’t just sell
  • Be clear and concise. Never over-promise anything your company cannot deliver
  • Use statements that express empathy, like a Sorry or Thank You

 

Challenges & Solutions in Customer Experience

You can constantly improve your customer experience or process. But this can become frustrating due to various CX challenges. Fortunately, there are solutions. 

In this section, we will learn about them.

 

Common Challenges in CX

Our biggest challenges are our biggest opportunities. Once you have fleshed out the core issues, it gets easier for you to solve them.

Here is a list of challenges businesses often face while creating a seamless CX.

  • Knowing Customers: Many businesses indeed struggle with truly understanding their customers. Brands often target clients too loosely or solely based on their opinion. As long as you do not place yourself in the shoes of others, you won’t be able to understand their pain points.
  • Negative Reviews: While positive reviews bring smiles and boost energy, negative feedback gives you a true gift. While negative reviews might question your integrity, there are ways you can restructure them.
  • Disjointed Efforts: Many companies assign the monumental task of gathering data to a single customer-focused department. While this approach is cost-effective, it doesn’t improve your CX.
  • Lack of Personalization: Companies that fail to provide personalized experiences risk losing their customers. A common challenge businesses encounter during customization is delivering unique experiences at scale for all consumers.
  • Standing Out: Standing out and carving a niche for your brand is not easy in the competitive sphere. After all, you are vying for customers along with the leading brands.
  • Outdated CX Analytic Tools: By using outdated tools, you place yourself at a disadvantage to your competitors employing advanced tools.

 

Strategies for Overcoming the Challenges

With a few tips and tricks on your shoulders, you can easily eradicate the challenges in a cinch!

  • Gather Insights From Customers: Knowing your customers profoundly requires direct interaction with them. Speaking directly with customers, connecting the dots, and creating personas based on what drives your prospects can help brands create a great CX.
  • Listen to the detractors: Unsatisfied customer reviews are your most valuable resource to unearth the style of your CX. Accept criticism, and identify significant bottlenecks of the process using it. Then, get on fixing those immediately.
  • Rally Your Troops: Every employee holds an essential piece of the puzzle to create a brilliant CX. So, connect your team by conducting brainstorming meetings from different departments and encourage every employee to participate in those sessions.
  • Choose Technology For Personalization: Employ technology that can create micro-segments based on shared characteristics for personalization. Once these segments are developed, you can tailor unique recommendations, experiences, and marketing messages for each group.
  • Go Above and Beyond Customers: Whether you know it or not, there’s something you can always do for your customers that your competitors cannot. Perhaps you understand the rationale behind their seasonal purchases, so you can leverage the information to guide them to find the perfect holiday presents.
  • Stay Updated: It’s essential to stay updated on new program releases since they can elevate CX. You can do this by following reliable pages, staying connected with experts, or even blogs that post content about CX. These resources will notify you about the tools that can benefit your organization.

 

Designing a Positive Customer Experience

Premium CX requires a customer-centric mindset and a lot of careful work. There is no universal checklist to design a good customer experience. However, we have found several common principles to help you get started.

 

Strategies for Improving Customer Experience

It’s no rocket science that CX can improve, and it starts by putting the customer at the center. Follow these strategies to up your CX.

Components Of Great Customer Experience

 

  • Create A Clear CX Vision: The first step in improving your CX strategy is to have a clear customer-focused vision that you can communicate with your employees. The easiest way to do that is by creating a set of statements that act as principles. Once these principles are in place, they will drive the behavior of everyone on the team. Every team member should follow these instructions. You can also embed the principles into every aspect of training.
  • Create An Emotional Connection With Customers:  ‘It is not what you say, it is how you say it’.– you’ve probably heard it. Well, the best CX is achieved when your team members create an emotional connection with others. A study regulated by the Journal of Consumer Research found that more than 50% of an experience depends on emotions, as emotions shape the path of decisions.

    A business specializing in emotional connection outperforms competitors by 85% in sales growth.

  • Create Feedback Loops: Customer feedback provides insights on how you can better meet customer expectations. It can also tell where your customers get stuck and confirm what’s working well. Feedback is not just lip service. Customer support agents can combine the data to discover the challenges behind excellent service. For instance, there could be policies that do not suit customer needs or friction between siloed teams that slow down issue resolution.
  • Build An Omni Channel Experience: Customers don’t want to tell the same story multiple times. Considering separate departments handle different queries– it’s hard for businesses to avoid the pitfall. The solution? Create an omnichannel that meets customers wherever they are and delivers a consistent communication journey, where their conversation history travels with them from channel to channel.
  • Provide Personalization: Almost 68% of consumers expect experiences to be personalized. Customization makes people feel valued, so creating solutions tailored to your consumers can go a long way.The strategies could include,
    • Engagement via preferred contact method
    • Distributing customized self-help content and FAQs
    • Product recommendations based on search history
  • Keep In Touch With The Clients: Ensuring your customers remember you are important for retaining them. Communication or following up with them through their preferred contact method can help you learn where to improve your business and show clients they matter. The strategy helps to build trust and familiarity with your customers.
  • Weave In Customer Self-service Solutions: Customers like being autonomous during their interactions with brands. They’d rather solve their issues first than interact with a customer support agent. Automated customer service chatbots and dynamic FAQs are some of the best ways to empower customers. This has the added benefit of minimizing the number of requests for customer service agents, which provides the authorities more time to focus on a more complicated CX strategy.

 

How to Measure Customer Experience?

CX exists on a spectrum, so it can be hard to measure. But here are a few ways to acquire data so you can hone in on your ideal CX.

  • Analyze Customer Satisfaction Survey Results: Surveys like Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Net Promoter Score (NPS) allow consumers to rate their experience on a numerical scale. Analyzing them from multiple touchpoints will tell you what to improve and where you deliver excellent services.
  • Identify The Reasons Behind Churn: Churns happen– it’s part of the business. But you must learn from those issues to prevent them from happening again. So, conduct a regular analysis of the churned customers to determine the reasons for churn and actions your team might take in the future to prevent a similar situation.
  • Perform A/B Tests For New CX Data: Send A/B testing emails to targeted customers. This will help you predict how new ventures or CX assets will perform.
  • Ask Customers For Product & Feature Requests: Create a forum for your customers to make your offerings more useful. Let your customers speak about the changes they want in your services. Give customers the option to proactively offer suggestions through community pages, social media, emails, etc.
  • Talk To Customer-Facing Staff: Customer-centric teams can give you valuable information on what customers are saying about their experiences with the brand.

 

In Conclusion

Brands survive and thrive by reputation. Your success in the industry depends on your ability to keep and attract loyal customers. Failing to retain them first will send them straight to your competitors.

However, identifying crucial touchpoints of the customer journey, collecting feedback to improve or iterate those experiences, and analyzing tends to stay updated– are all you need to ensure a delightful customer experience.

Zarin Tasneem
Author’s Bio

Juggling between a major in Mathematics and solving equations, writing allowed me to breathe. I am passionate about my fellow humans and drive inspiration from everything they do. You can find me brewing the perfect coffee when I'm not working. A motto I follow? Live generously, and don't be afraid to chase your dreams.

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