Decision to invest in customer experience can make all the difference. From strengthening customer loyalty, to creating a stronger competitive advantage.
You’ve probably heard the term customer experience (or CX) thrown around a time or two by now. In a nutshell, customer experience focuses on the perception your customers have of your business. How they feel before, during and after doing business with you? It’s the experience that begins the moment a customer first interacts with your business and extends beyond the sale.
Unfortunately, many business owners design a customer experience around what they think is best. Often times this design doesn’t actually suit their real customers. Most likely because they haven’t been paying attention to, or are assuming, what their customers need and who they are. Which is pretty much taking a shot in the dark. Except this shot in the dark can mean decreased customer satisfaction, thus affecting retention rates and sales.
There’s plenty of evidence that a bad customer experience will send people running into the proverbial arms of a competitor. On the flip side, research from the Harvard Business Review, customers who’ve had a great experience spend 140% more compared to those who had poor experiences.
It really doesn’t matter what kind of business you have. Making it easy and enjoyable to do business with you, as well as creating a likeable, relatable brand, will put you ahead of the competition. So, if you’re wondering whether it’s time for your business to improve and invest in customer experience, read on.
Why The Customer Experience Matters
If you’re a regular reader of the Nice Reply blog, you’re already familiar with the cost of customer dissatisfaction. It’s no longer enough to have a great product or service (though that’s a very important part of the equation). Customers have a lot of options at their disposal these days. Skipping out on making it joyful to interact with your company as a whole can be fatal. Like the fact that 82% of people have stopped doing business with a company due to a bad experience.
We’d like to bet there aren’t any businesses that set out to do the bare minimum for their customers. Yet, so many businesses unitentionally treat their customer’s experience with them as a secondary issue. This can look like:
- Letting repairable customer service issues go unsolved.
- Making customers do all the leg work IE: constantly having to follow up, speak to multiple reps, not being able to find answers on your website etc.
- Brushing negative experiences under the rug and pretending things never happened.
- And one of the most common – getting too comfortable with ‘how things have always been done’ and never bothering to improve.
In order to avoid taking that route, decision to invest in customer experience design can make all the difference. From strengthening customer loyalty, to creating a stronger competitive advantage as well as increased sales and revenue.
Take A Walk In Your Customer’s Shoes
As Jay Baer, Founder of Convince & Convert put it, “Customer experience is how you make customers feel, and it’s based 100% on your actions vs. their expectations.” And if you know your customer well, delivering the delightful customer experience that’s expected is a lot easier to do.
No matter what, you’ll never be able to give everyone exactly what they need all the time. But thinking big picture, while planning for the worst and aiming for the best is a great place to start. What better way to lay that foundation than by getting into the minds of your customers?
Just like buyer personas is a simplified outline of an ideal customer, a customer journey map is a simplified outline of all the touch-points and experiences the customer has before, during and after buying from a business. For some businesses this could be very detailed and others not so much.
Not sure what that looks like? Let’s break it down.
Map Your Customers’ Journey
- Envision your customer’s perspective. This is important and worth reiterating. It’s harder for employees and businesses owners to point out where things are going wrong because they are already familiar with the business. That being said, getting into a customer’s head will require a bit of research to go beyond surface level assumptions.
- Do your research. This can be the most challenging aspect. A couple options to extract the in-depth customer research necessary is hiring help from an experienced CX consultant or investing in qualitative and quantitative data. We’re also a big fan of Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys to gain insight into how customers really feel while interacting with your business. An NPS survey is a simple way to ask customers how they feel about doing business with you without overwhelming them. Some may question how a single question could provide any real insight, but data shows high NPS scores correlate with repurchases, referrals, and other indicators of loyalty. Other options include looking into user feedback, google analytics data and customer service transcripts.
- Map the customer journey touch-points. Think of all the points of interaction from brand presence, website, social media, emails to interactions with customer service and sales teams. Coupled with data and research, these touch points are crucial indicators that can help you figure out which stage of the buyer’s journey a customer is in. The journey map should focus on customer questions, concerns and overall feelings throughout their interaction with the business.
- Examine the flow and determine how each element ties back to your company’s overall brand and bottom line. Is it on par with the value and experience you claim to deliver? Or did something get lost in translation along the way?
Always Be Learning And Improving Customer Experience
Defining customer experience from both qualitative and quantitative point of view gives businesses the capability to recognize what is working, along with what isn’t, then repeat that experience. But as with many things in business, creating a positive customer experience isn’t a set it and forget it type thing. Data is always changing and there’s always something to be tried, tested and improved upon.
Your Customer Experience doesn’t need to be all perfect at the beginning, but starting small, being patient and constantly working to improve it as your business grows is the most important.