Why create a customer experience strategy?
Companies that focus on customer service strategies achieve better satisfaction rates and increased revenues. Not to mention keeping customers around longer. This should come as no surprise. Nowadays there is little room for error when it comes to the customer experience. Social media has drastically affected the customer service ecosystem — forcing companies to hold themselves more accountable than ever before.
Ok, so what is customer experience?
Customer experience looks fairly simple on the surface. The more a customer enjoys interacting with your business — the more likely they are to purchase. This is true. But are you considering every interaction your customer has? Let’s take a look at all the stages your customers experience:
How did your customer find your business or service? Yes, how your potential buyers discover your business is an experience. The initial experience your customer has with your advertising and marketing can greatly predict their purchase behavior. It is imperative that your strategy begins with the very first interaction your customers have with your company.
Consideration When and where did you relay quality and value of your product or service to the customer? This will depend on the nature of your business. Promoting a dinner special past typical dinner time on a webpage about woodworking doesn’t make any sense — or cents.
Purchase How pleasant and seamless was the purchase process? This is what most people typically think of when they are asked about the customer experience. The interaction a customer has with your employees is often considered a representation of the business itself. Some companies are absolutely consumed with this part of the customer experience. Just try having an unpleasant conversation with a Trader Joe’s employee — it won’t happen.
Advocacy Are your customers willing to convey the value of your product or service to others? When you have a great product — and a great customer experience strategy, the customers will begin to do the work for you. Thank you internet. Sure, review sites like Yelp are one avenue of advocacy. But social media has opened up a super highway. Everyone has access to multiple mediums of social media — and are willing to give free promotion for exceptional experiences. However, advocacy is a two way street. A negative customer experience with any of these four steps can be extremely problematic for your business.
Taking the right steps to build and refine your customer experience strategy creates loyal customers. A happy customer is a returning one. The big players know this. In fact, 74% of senior executives say that customer experience affects loyalty.
Customer Service vs. Customer Experience
Customer service is essentially the first point-of-contact your customers have with your employees. This can be on the phone, in person or chat service. Delivering exceptional customer service is indeed important.
But, this is just one part of the customer experience.
Let’s look at an example:
A customer orders tickets to a baseball game on the phone and has a pleasant interaction with the employee. That’s good customer service.
Taking the time to record that data and provide promotions about upcoming games or MLB events (including deals stemming from previous purchase history) is exceptional customer experience.
It’s that simple!
3 ways to make a better customer experience strategy
Here are 3 quick customer experience strategy tips to increase revenues through better customer satisfaction and increased retention rates.
- Get to know your vision
First things first you should have a clear understanding of who your business is and what your values are. These values should guide your company’s messaging and dwell within every corner of your organization.
Companies like Patagonia have embraced their commitment to sustainability by implementing this value into all aspects of their business.
2. Embrace your customers
You may think you know every nook and cranny of your business because you helped build it from the ground up. But what about the one that matters most: the customers perspective. A well oiled customer support team gets to know the wants and needs of the customer. They also must empathize with any problems or situations that arise, and do something about them.
Creating customer/buyer personas can help prepare your team for the types of customers and situations that may come up, along with how to best solve them based on the persona.
Creating an emotional connection with your customers is invaluable. Your support team going above and beyond when interacting with a customer can create lifelong advocates.
- Real time customer feedback + action
You will rarely know if your customer is satisfied unless you ask. Unfortunately, most customers don’t write or call unless there is a problem. These situations on the surface seem like just problems that will hurt your business’s reputation. In fact, these are opportunities for your business to retain customers.
It can be problematic if a customer orders a sandwich and receives the wrong order. If nothing is done, the customer can be lost forever. But take away the charge for the sandwich and give them a gift card for the inconvenience, the customer will likely return!
Social media is an incredible tool for customer experience. Frustrated customers often turn to outlets like Twitter or Facebook to vent complaints. If a business wants to stand out, they can reach out to these customers to make amends.
What does this mean for your customer experience strategy?
It means you have to pivot time and energy into every avenue of customer interaction.