Any company worth its salt realizes it’s in the business of customer experience. While service with a smile may not make a mark in your customers’ minds in the eCommerce world, providing a positive customer experience will get you far.
A well-defined and properly executed customer experience strategy can enhance customer satisfaction, improve your customer’s lifetime value, and send your revenue on an upward trend. Organizations around the world have come to grips with this fact so much so that 81% of them compete mostly on the basis of customer experience.
But what exactly is “customer experience”?
While the broader meaning of customer experience encompasses many things, at its core, it is a term used to describe a customer’s experience while interacting or engaging with a business’s offerings. These interactions are what constitutes a “path to conversion,” i.e., the customer journey.
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”Michael LeBoeuf
This customer journey is the advancement of a prospective customer from the inception to conversion stages, and it rests on three pillars. These are:
- Knowing your customer better
- Creating improved experiences based on previous interactions
- Building a customer-focused culture
These three pillars keep simultaneously feeding off of the others. A holistic customer experience strategy, therefore, rests on them and the insight gained from testing newer or modified experiences to build a customer-centric culture that’s key to creating better customer experiences. Here, we are going to take a look at what you need to get along the way to build a truly unified CX strategy that provides excellence at every stage and rounds up the whole customer experience.
1. Mapping customer journey to identify loopholes
Considered as equally an art as much as a science, mapping customer journey is described by Salesforce to be “a visual representation of every experience your customers have with you.” Shockingly, however, only 13% of businesses today have been known to orchestrate customer journeys at all, according to Forrester.
“It helps to tell the story of a customer’s experience (CX) with your brand from original engagement and into hopefully a long-term relationship.”According to Denisa Spinkova, VP Executive Services Development, Menzies Aviation
Customer journey mapping can help you build a solid foundation for good CX as it helps you identify loopholes in your business’s offerings while deepening your understanding of the customer’s needs through their pain points. It can also help you determine the right touchpoints to apply certain technologies, such as live chat software, to augment CX even further.
2. Leveraging technology to reduce workload
A customer journey map helps you identify the touchpoints that you should enhance, but what comes after that. In the era of rapidly escalating customer expectations, how do you optimize at scale?
With AI coming to the fore, businesses can finally rely on smart technologies like chatbots to boost customer experience inordinately. Using the insight gained from journey mapping, businesses can also study customer behavior to equip customers with the entire product knowledge.
You can make this information easily available to customers through an AI-enabled chatbot to increase engagement, as 83% of organizations found out about it the right way. It can not only empower customers, but it can also help you automate almost 80% of routine questions, eventually freeing up service agents to focus their energies on other more productive tasks.
3. Creating a centralized brand vision with personalization in mind
A unified CX should be built with only one thing in mind; to create a system of touchpoints that helps customers interact freely, according to their own volition, while still experiencing the shared sense of brand continuity. The goal, therefore, lies in being able to maintain uniformity in brand style, design, and voice.
The customer of today has really high expectations from brands. They want a seamless transition through every single one of your brand’s touchpoints, with 70% of them saying connected processes are very important to keep their business. At the same time, customers also want to be made to feel like a unique part of your business by having offerings tailored to their needs, with 59% of customers saying tailored engagement based on past interactions is important to winning their business.
While coming up with your CX strategy, ensure that your central brand vision acts as the foundation for personalization needs as well. One way to think of it is as variations of a consistent theme. These variations aren’t at loggerheads with your overall contemporary brand vision, but rather enhance it. In fact, 92% of marketers claimed that personalization helped them in their brand-building efforts, while another 84% stated that it massively improved customer acquisition and retention.
4. Switching to a proactive approach
According to Gartner, CX is generally approached by customer experience teams in one of the following two ways:
An Ad hoc method
A fix-first, reactive approach to resolving problems that customers adduce to in the customer understanding program. While still a very effective and successful approach, it is all about putting out fires rather than keeping them from erupting in the first place.
A progressive method
This method is a proactive approach whose goal is to build a routinized system to brainstorm and test customer experience improvements for foreseeable customer issues. It is about preventing fires from erupting in the first place.
While reactive approaches are proven methods to improve CX, customers today want companies to be proactive in the quest to gain their business. In fact, 62% of customers expect businesses to anticipate their needs.
Create a timetable where you dedicate a certain length of time every month to evaluate journey maps, customer data, journey maps, and the latest insights and trends. Deliberate over CX improvement areas and leverage technologies to facilitate your CX strategy based on expected customer desires.
Using the insight you gain after brainstorming on expected CX roadblocks, you can use the newly found information to automate expected queries. This can help you enable personalization while also saving you 30% in customer support costs in the process.
5. Creating an omnichannel experience
“Businesses that provide a consistent customer experience across several saw 89% of their customers returning to them. In another study by Exolevel, 89% of customers expect to be able to shop products through any channel they find convenient.”According to the Aberdeen Group
This shift is increasingly apparent today as customers like following their preferred brands across every channel. They like seeing what the brand is involved in and how do they bring it to the customers.
Businesses must realize this and try to sync and utilize their different channels to enhance the customer experience throughout the customer’s journey. Businesses must also keep in mind to optimize digital touchpoints and keep their channels regularly updated to ensure to deliver the best possible customer experience.
Spoiling your customers is the very basis of ideal customer experience, and it rests massively on your knowledge of their preferences so that you can build a customer-focused culture around your product to be able to consciously create great experiences.
Businesses focusing their energies on creating a unified CX strategy should be mindful of the three pillars that it rests on. A 360° strategy can enable you to optimize engagement while taking innovative steps to embed customer-centricity in your brand’s DNA to create more meaningful and improved customer experiences.