Would you take a 3% annual growth rate advantage over your competitors?
What about a 2% lower expense ratio?
Or perhaps you’re tempted by 80% higher customer loyalty than your competitors?
According to a July 2017 analysis by McKinsey, all of these benefits and more are ripe for the taking if companies can provide a winning customer experience compared to their competition.
It’s obvious why this is the case. To customers, the expectation of good customer service can outweigh price as a decision factor.
In fact, customers are willing to pay more for good customer experience. Companies have taken note and are working on creating a best in class customer experience. A Gartner report estimates that 81% of companies will compete on the basis of customer experience by 2019.
In this marketer’s guide to customer experience, we’ll cover what you’ll need to understand why and how customer experience is so powerful.
You’ll also learn how your marketing practices can contribute to creating a great customer experience for your customers.
Stand In The Customer’s Shoes
86% of marketers are convinced that it’s essential to create a streamlined customer experience.
But what is “streamlined customer experience”?
In a nutshell, streamlined customer experiences are easy and seamless customer experiences.
Easy customer experiences lower the barrier to buying from a brand or from engaging with a brand’s customer support. Creating an easy customer experience is essential to generating customer satisfaction.
Empathy For The Customer Generates Good CX
Knowing how to create a highly intuitive customer experience is a matter of identifying with the customer and understand what they are trying to solve for.
This means that the best trait for marketers is empathy.
Empathy gives marketers the ability to fine tune customer experience by helping visualize every step of the customer’s interaction with the brand. Once a marketer has mastered customer empathy, building a great customer experience is all but assured.
To get started with using empathy to improve customer experience, ask yourself the following questions as though you were the customer:
- How long should I expect to wait when requesting customer service?
- What’s my favorite aspect of this brand?
- Do I feel that my experience with this brand is made specifically for me?
- If I have an issue, will it be easy to fix?
- What’s the hardest part of my interaction with this brand?
These questions will help you to flesh out customers’ expectations. Other questions are fair game too, but these foundational questions should stay in your wheelhouse whenever it’s time to optimize customer experience.
Customers’ expectations need to be clarified and attended to because they’re something that your company can control. Part of the job of marketers is to set customers’ expectations such that the company regularly exceeds them.
Doing this is much easier than it may sound; just do your best to make the customer’s interactions as easy as possible while promising slightly less than your company can consistently deliver.
To fulfill the customer’s expectations for an easy experience, points of friction need to be recognized and smoothed. Likewise, every claim that reaches the customer should be accurate and easy to understand.
This means that everything from pre-sales outreach materials to customer service routines should be examined carefully.
Ambiguities in language should be replaced, time-intensive interactions should be shortened to the duration the customer desires, and interactions with multiple steps should be simplified.
After ironing out difficulties in the customer experience, the next step to achieve good CX is building personalization.
Customers love it when products or services are personalized.
A McKinsey report on customer experience states that 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that deliver custom content.
Personalization has a few components:
- Catering to the customer’s market segment
- Catering to the customer’s prior interactions with the brand
- Using the customer’s name and other personal details
- Making the customer feel uniquely valued
- Giving the customer a range of options for brand interactions
Each of these points is deeply important and has the potential to make customers feel good about their interactions with your brand.
Make sure that every interaction that the customer has with your brand mentions them by name, refers to their prior activity, and thanks them for their loyalty.
Arrange your product’s features and website such that the things your customer wants to interact with most frequently are the easiest to access.
Let The Customer Engage However They Want
Easy access applies to your customer service and sales just as much as it does to your product.
Part of providing a great customer experience is making your company available to customers across multiple channels for customer service and sales.
These channels should include:
- Live chat
- Knowledge bases
- Social media
Most customers find live chat and knowledge bases to be the easiest channels for support.
There are other advantages of providing multiple support channels. The more channels your company regularly uses to engage with your customers, the more channels that you can use as opportunities for cross-selling and other promotions.
It’s normal for companies to be stronger in some channels than in others, but strive to always provide a quick response to your customers whenever they reach out for support, even if it’s just a confirmation that you have received their request.
Providing a quick response is a huge competitive advantage; an HBR study reported that only 37% of companies responded to requests for support within the hour, and 23% of companies never responded.
If you know that you can’t provide a quick response, reach out to the customer and let them know that you’re sorry for their inconvenience.
Be sure to let the customer know that they haven’t fallen through the cracks.
The last critical aspect of customer experience is using every opportunity to follow up with the customer to further the relationship.
If the customer has recently asked for support, made a purchase, commented on your product on social media, or answered a customer survey, treat it as a chance to check in and let your customer know that you appreciate them.
Be sure to reference the action that the customer just took and use personalization to further improve customer experience during the follow up.
Building a dialogue with your customer by following up makes the customer feel valued and adds a sense of familiarity with your company that helps to build trust.
By following these tips, your company can continue to grow customer loyalty, increase revenue, and reduce overall costs.