To understand CXM and its importance, brands must first absorb the impact good (or bad) customer experience has on their customers and reputation.
What is customer experience management (CXM)?
Customer Experience is how a customer feels about your brand. ‘Feels’ is indicative of emotions – what emotions a customer is going through as they interact with your brand throughout their journey, from first contact until they stop being a customer.
Customer experience is an ongoing event.Every time a customer uses your product or service, every time they talk to a support rep, every time they see a marketing campaign, they are experiencing your brand.
And that is why having a strong CXM strategy in place is incredibly important – the experience never ceases to impact the customer, so you need to always be delivering.
The implementation of CXM strategies is quite different today than it was a few years ago. We live in a highly digital world, and customer experience, in the context of digital, is very different from what it was when business was done through physical stores.
For example, customers can now reach brands from multiple channels instantly, customers have a huge number of options for their needs, engaging and disengaging with a brand is as simple as a click, and so on.
And that is why Customer Experience Management is so crucial. The aim of CXM is to understand customer experiences and deploy strategies to enhance them for better engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty.
CXM strategies in 2023 need to be tailored for the digital world, and that is what we will cover in this article.
1 Fosters loyalty in customers and increases user retention
Acquiring a new customer is 5 times more expensive than retaining an existing one, and increasing retention by just 5% can increase company profits from 25 to 95 percent.
Customer retention is a result of multiple brand strategies, but CX alone drives close to 67% of customer loyalty which is more than what brand reputation and pricing drive combined.
Any brand looking to increase customer retention numbers should first focus on creating an impactful customer experience management framework.
Mattress company Casper’s marketing bot Insomnobot3000 is a great example of what going above and beyond can do for a brand.
Insomnobot3000 is an ML-enabled chatbot developed by the mattress company, but its purpose is not what you would think. The bot was not built to sell mattresses but to be a ‘friend’ to insomniacs.
People who stayed up late could engage the bot via their phone and have conversations about anything, from TV shows like Seinfeld to the latest football match.
What was its purpose if not to drive sales? To build customer relationships.
The bot elevated Casper’s reputation and helped them generate $100 million in sales within just one year of the bot’s launch.
2 Increases sales through referrals
Loyal customers will refer your brand to their friends and family, and it is a known fact that word-of-mouth is more effective than even paid ads and lead to five times more sales.
And loyalty is driven by CX.
When customers have an excellent experience, they publicize it. In a world that is highly connected thanks to technology, this customer feedback is magnified. Having a well-defined CXM strategy helps you deliver good experiences, consistently.
3 A great CXM strategy creates a loyalty-referral-loyalty loop
Customers who have a good experience with a brand spread the word to their peers, and studies have shown that 28% of people find that promoting a brand through word-of-mouth increases their affinity to the brand.
In essence, good CX leads to happy customers who invest in the brand by referring to it, and this roots them to the brand, even more, further increasing loyalty and retention.
4 Use customer feedback to drive sales
93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product. Customer reviews are powerful and generating genuine customer reviews should be one of the top strategies for digital marketers.
The challenge with generating reviews, however, is interrupting customers for a review, nudging them to put in the effort and write one, and getting feedback that is positive.
All of these challenges are solved through a well-defined CXM strategy that includes feedback surveys and polls. Delivering an impactful experience will increase a brand’s chances of getting a quick and positive review from a customer.
CXM Framework That Works in 2023
Step 1: Empower your employees
CXM strategies are built for customers but executed by employees. Employees need to understand the purpose and impact of each step in the customer experience funnel; they need to take ownership of the experience being delivered.
You can achieve this through technology and training. Implement tools that help employees meet their customer experience KPIs. If engaging within five seconds is a KPI, implement an omnichannel platform so they can quickly jump onto any channel through one dashboard.
If customers expect three-day follow-ups, use an email platform to automate conversations.
Employees should also be trained to analyze customer experience metrics.
Understanding why churn rate is increasing or Average Time on Site is decreasing will enable them to look for solutions. Empowering the drivers of customer experience will automatically improve customer experience.
Step 2: Leverage customer feedback for insights into CX
Lastly, turn your attention to the customer and get direct feedback from them about their experience with the brand. No platform can explain a customer’s pain points or delight better than the customer themself.
Customer satisfaction surveys serve this purpose well. A CSS can be configured to trigger after a customer interacts with your brand and you can collect their feedback when their experience is fresh.
You can also implement a manual feedback process if you believe that the personal touch will enhance customers’ experience. To do so, collect user information at different points in the journey or use external tools, like email finders, to get customer information that you can use.
Remember to use authentic user information only. Sending out emails to wrong IDs will land you in their spam box and affect your domain. To avoid this, make sure to do proper DMARC setup and focus on other technical details of emailing.
Gnanaprakash Rathinam, Founder of Clearout, a company that offers email verification and validation service, correctly says that “email finder tools help in finding verified addresses and in turn support customer feedback collection”.
Step 3: Map out your customer journey
Customer Journey can be seen as a map that shows the path users take as they interact with your brand.
Knowing where the customer is in the funnel will tell you what they are interacting with and this will help you implement experience enhancers at the right location.
Mapping out the customer journey should start right at the ideation stage, and then be improved using live data. Insights from the latter should drive improvements in the former, and this should continue to be an iterative process.
For example, let’s say you track user journeys and find out that your marketing campaigns are driving huge traffic to the website but conversions are low. You have found the choking point – the website.
By using tools like data analytics and screen recorders, you can see where on the website users are dropping off from, and why. Once you have identified the pain point, you can take action to alleviate it.
A great example of the use of user journeys to create excellent UX is Airbnb. Airbnb recognized its two core customers – homeowners looking to host on through them and people looking for a place to stay.
They have divided the site into these two segments and then further created sections of different features each cohort will find useful. This makes the site extremely user friendly, people can quickly find what they want and this makes them appreciate the site.
Step 4: Implement an omnichannel approach
Delivering an omnichannel experience is extremely important in 2023 because of the number of channels customers have to connect with a brand. In fact, a survey by Qualtrics found that brands that deliver an omnichannel experience retain 89% of their customers on average, while companies that don’t retain 33% of their customers on average.
Firstly, it is important to have a widespread presence because different customers prefer different platforms when connecting with a brand. While some may prefer using Facebook chat or Instagram DMs for seeking support, some others may prefer sending emails or tweeting at your brand.
Secondly, it is important to integrate these channels with one another for smooth customer flow. Customer journeys should be fluidic, which means that they should be able to move from one channel to another seamlessly with no loss of continuity, and that requires integrating channels with one another.
With these two aspects managed, brands will be able to deliver an omnichannel experience. This may seem complicated, but there are omnichannel platforms available that make the process much easier to implement, execute, and manage.
Step 5: Set KPIs for tracking and improvement
Setting targets and measuring the results of your CXM strategies is important to improve the framework. KPIs not only set targets for the CXM framework, but also for employees who drive customer experience activities.
What KPIs do you track and measure is important. Here are a few every company must track:
- Customer acquisition rate
- Customer churn rate
- Conversion rate
- Cart abandonment rate
- Direct traffic
- Pages per visit
- Average resolution time
- Campaign ROI
- Net Promoter Score
- Customer Satisfaction Score
1 Survey & form builders
Collecting user feedback at the point of interaction is a key part of improving the customer experience. For example, right after a support chat is terminated, the customer should be asked how their experience was so you get real-time feedback.
Achieving this is easy today because of third-party survey and form builder tools that are readily available to be used out of the box. You can create Net Promoter Score surveys to get product/service feedback, Market Fit surveys, Customer Satisfactions Surveys, and more.
2 Use a helpdesk for omnichannel experiences and great support
We mentioned the need for an omnichannel experience earlier. Customers should be given the option of reaching your brand through multiple channels and these channels need to deliver a seamless and continuous experience. The challenge with this is management – managing different channels, conversations, etc. That’s where a helpdesk comes in handy.
Implementing a helpdesk gives you an added advantage. It enhances the customer support processes. The ticketing system, for example, helps the team keep track of all queries and solve them based on priority. It also helps customers keep track of their issues and get updates on the resolution.
Great customer support has a massive impact on customer experience.
There are many helpdesks available that you can use on a subscription basis, like Hiver, Zendesk, Freshworks, etc. They deliver a fully functional platform for a subscription enabling you to get started with omnichannel right from the get-go.
3 Content Management Systems
The content on your online site is what customers interact with first. They turn to it to get the information they need before continuing with their journey. Content should be tailored for relevance, add value to the reader, and the customer.
This is also how search engines rank sites – based on relevance to the user. Whether you’re launching a podcast, writing educational blog articles, or sharing posts on social media, it’s important to be relevant to potential prospects.
Content Management Systems like WordPress, Shopify and Drupal are easy to use and give you a host of plugins/apps that can be used to enhance the content being published.
WordPress, for example, has SEO plugins like Yoast and SEOPress that give content creators great insights into their SEO score by analyzing the content against the keywords they wish to rank.
The USP of CMS platforms, however, is the ease of use. Businesses are able to create, publish and modify content faster and this allows them to put out more content more frequently to help their customers.
Implementing a CXM framework and purchasing supporting tools is definitely going to be worthwhile. It will help enhance customer experience which will, in turn, increase your customer acquisition rate and retention rate, both of which greatly increase revenue.
Having a strategy for CXM helps your brand deliver great CX, consistently.
Consistency in delivering a good experience is as important as the experience itself, especially in today’s digital era.