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75% of customer experience management executives state that customer experience or CX is incredibly important for business, according to Forbes’ list of CX stats.
84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue, as per research by Dimension Data.
Take a moment. Let that sink in.
Today, we live in the customer experience era where instant gratification is the new normal. For customers, the line between a positive experience and a negative one is quite thin. And it plays a crucial role in setting apart one brand from the other.
A satisfying experience across online and offline interactions can earn you loyal customers, ensuring a steady profitability.
Also, without question, happy customers means you’ve earned yourselves loyal brand ambassadors as well.
On the other hand, a survey by Hiver revealed that 30% of consumers will not give brands more than one chance after a bad customer service experience.
Another research suggests that 78% of people back out of purchase due to a bad experience.
Poor customer experience directly impacts key business metrics like customer acquisition, revenue, and retention. This accounts for an increasing focus on enhancing customer experience along different touchpoints of the customer’s journey.
Clearly a great CX is key to driving the most out of your business.
But, how do you design these great experiences? What are the key aspects that contribute to an exceptional experience for the customer?
We’ve pondered long and hard on these questions and laid out all the answers in this article. And as an added bonus, we’ve even included some practical ways to design a solid CX strategy that can stimulate overall growth.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- What is a Customer Experience Strategy?
- Benefits of Customer Experience Strategy
- 10 Steps to Design a Successful Customer Experience Strategy
- Customer experience is the new battleground
What is a Customer Experience Strategy?
A customer experience (CX) strategy is a planned approach to optimize customer interactions across different touchpoints and channels. These include both online and offline interactions.
A good CX strategy not only focuses on providing optimal experiences but also focuses on metrics and data to identify where your CX is lacking and then correcting it through multiple iterations and experiments.
It puts customers at the center of marketing, design, development, support services, and more and decides how each function needs to better their process for a great CX.
Here are the four essential aspects of building a customer experience strategy:
- Gauging and tracking customer experience at different points.
- Collecting insights to map their preferences, concerns, issues, and pain points along their journey.
- Resolving the problems and identifying opportunities to enhance the experience.
- Repeating the process.
Benefits of Customer Experience Strategy
The effects of improving customer experience across different touchpoints in the customers’ journey trickle down to various aspects of your brand. This makes it a necessity to invest in a solid CX strategy because the returns would definitely outweigh the expenses.
1. Increase in brand loyalty
Customers want more than just good products and services; they want an overall amazing experience at every touchpoint.
Case in point; a recent Gartner study revealed that customer experience alone drives almost two-thirds of customer loyalty, outperforming brand and price combined.
A good customer experience takes into account several things. From how customers are made to feel from the first time they arrive on your website to how quickly they receive responses to how attentive you are of their feedback, every little thing matters.
Focusing on these aspects paves the way for a better customer experience, ultimately leading to stronger customer loyalty.
2. Positive word of mouth
According to a Salesforce research report, 72% of customers share their positive brand experience with others. That is 10% more than the ones that share the negative experience.
A good CX strategy can help you cultivate satisfied customers and turn them into brand promoters to spread the good word about you.
One of the ways to do it is to proactively ask happy customers for reviews and ratings to build brand credibility. You can also publish customer success stories on your website to demonstrate how your product or solution has helped a business to grow.
3. Higher purchase value
67% of people say they are willing to spend more for a great experience. (Salesforce research report)
Mapping customer experience across multiple channels and touchpoints lets you understand their behavior and actions.
You can identify your customers’ motivations, purchase patterns, concerns, reservations, and preferences. Then use these insights to retarget different customers with upselling and cross-selling to increase average order value (AOV).
4. Reduced cost of service
With a CX strategy in place, you can remove friction points that hinder customers from having a satisfying experience.
If customers can complete their desired actions without any issues and resolve their queries without repeated calls and emails, it frees up your resources and support services.
It’s much easier to install seamless service points than deal with a frustrated customer.
You can introduce self-help tools such as a chatbot widget or a knowledge base that lets customers resolve small queries independently.
10 Steps to Design a Successful Customer Experience Strategy
Here are some practical ways to design a seamless customer experience plan in your business:
1. Develop a Customer Experience Index
A customer experience index is a useful measure that helps you evaluate the quality of your customers’ interactions and track the efficiency of your customer experience strategy.
Developing a customer experience index lets you measure customer satisfaction, customer expectations and loyalty and determine the factors that affect customers’ behavior. Measuring the CX Index also allows you to tie together the quality of your customer interactions with the revenue from your CX investments, enabling you to put your money where it really matters.
There are several standardized CX metrics that allows you to easily measure transactional and overall experience. Here are some of these metrics:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS is probably the most used metric for any customer experience framework. It enables you to track customer loyalty and brand advocacy by measuring how likely a customer is to recommend your product or service to their peers. This is measured on a scale of 1-10 and conducted with standard NPS surveys.
You can easily create these NPS surveys and add them to your website, mobile app, email, or other channels.
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
Who among us hasn’t filled out a CSAT survey?
It is a standard metric to monitor in-the-moment and overall customer experience.
Simply add this survey at different customer touchpoints like checkout pages, homepage, live-chat, etc., to gauge how satisfied customers are with your products and services.
- Customer Effort Score (CES)
CES mainly measures the customer service experience, i.e., how easy it is for customers to get their issues or queries resolved by your support services.
According to Gartner, CES is an excellent predictor of customer loyalty and repurchase probability. Increasing the CES score can earn you loyal customers and more revenue.
2. Set up Measurable Objectives
You are trying to improve the customer experience, but what markers would you use to measure the ROI on your efforts?
This is where measurable goals come into play. Assigning measurable goals can help you keep your eye on the target without losing focus.
- Compare your Net Promoter Scores (NPS is a measure of how likely your customers are to recommend your product or service to others. It allows you to track customer loyalty, brand advocacy, and customer satisfaction) with the industry standard and set an achievable target for the next quarter or year. There is plenty of NPS benchmarking data available on the internet, as shown in the image below:
- Analyze the average customer interaction times on different channels like calls, social media, emails, and tickets. You can then try to improve Service Level Agreements and Turn Around Times over a particular time.
3. Segment Your Audience Base
To design a great customer experience strategy, you cannot view your customer base as an aggregate population. It is necessary to adopt a granular perspective and divide customers into different cohorts based on various attributes like demographics, lifetime value, behavior, etc.
Segmenting your audience helps you understand different types of customers better, enabling you to tailor and personalize your CX strategy depending on fears, motivations, preferences, and more.
Here are some ways to do it:
- Create surveys to collect demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data from customers. Then, segment them based on age, purchase habits, devices, locations, and other attributes.
- Use KPIs like NPS, CSAT, and CES scores to segregate them into promoters (customers who enjoyed your product or service) & detractors (customers who were not happy with your product or service), happy and unhappy,satisfied and unsatisfied customers.
- Categorize using customer data like total purchase value, total time with the brand, and other attributes.
Segmentation helps you address different segments individually to drive a seamless customer experience.
4. Capture Regular Feedback
A Microsoft research report shows that 78% of people favor brands that collect and act on customer feedback. Asking for feedback makes customers feel heard, and that’s an integral part of a solid customer experience strategy. Additionally, customer feedback is an important part of understanding your customers’ needs and then identifying how your product could be made better to align with their needs.
With advanced feedback tools like Qualaroo, you can target customers with different feedback forms and surveys to collect in-the-moment feedback and measure their experience.
- Use exit-intent surveys to ask people if they were able to find what they were looking for and what they would like to improve on the page. This is a great way to ensure that your website is responsive and caters to customer intent.
- Use post-purchase surveys to gauge customers’ shopping experience and uncover any issues in the checkout process.
- Send post-service survey emails to people to collect insights about the service experience.
Proactively collecting feedback allows you to map customers’ delights and concerns as they interact with your brand. You can then analyze the responses in real-time with AI-based techniques like sentiment analysis to make data-backed decisions and improve their experience.
5. Build Customer Journey Maps (CJMs)
Customer interactions are scattered across various channels and touchpoints, making it hard to track each one separately. CJMs let you visualize a customer’s path as they move along the sales funnel.
These maps consolidate different aspects of a customer journey in one place such as:
- Journey Stages
- Channels and touchpoints
- Issues and problems at each interaction
- Opportunities for improvements and retargeting
It gives you a 360-degree view of their overall experience so that you can optimize your customer experience model for each of these points.
Tip: Use the feedback to create buyer personas for different segments. Then, start building individual maps for each persona to visualize and compare their journeys.
6. Promote an Effortless Service Experience
Over 90% of customers say that customer service is an important factor that affects their loyalty towards a brand.
It means a good service experience can turn customers into loyal promoters, and a bad one can drive them away from you.
Even Gartner advocates an effortless service experience so much that they came up with a designated experience metric, CES or Customer Effort Score, which we discussed above.
The stats speak for themselves – Make effortless service a part of your customer experience strategy.
Here are some ways to do it:
- Introduce a helpdesk or a ticketing system like Hiver to address complaints and grievances.
- Add a live chat widget on your website or mobile app to provide real-time support.
- Use a dedicated service counter or Kiosk to improve the in-store experience.
Tip: Collect post-interaction CSAT and CES scores at each service point to assess customer satisfaction and the effectiveness of your support staff.
7. Promote Self-Service Options
Around 90% of customers expect brands to have an online self-service portal, according to the State of Global Customer Service Report and 67% of people prefer self-service options over directly speaking to the service representative. (Nuance survey)
The reason is simple; it’s faster to read FAQs and return/exchange policies than being on hold for several minutes. Moreover, think about it from the customer’s perspective. Contacting a service agent for a simple query adds an additional step in resolving the issue and takes up a chunk of the customer’s time. With self-service options, the customer is equipped with resources that they can leverage to solve such basic queries in no time.
Here’s how you can adopt these options:
- Implement a knowledge base to create self-help materials like guides, FAQs, and blogs on commonly searched topics.
- Use AI-based chatbots to provide quick answers to general queries during odd hours.
- Add a community forum to let people post their queries and reply to others’ posts. You can then pick the most asked questions and add them to your knowledge base.
8. Analyze Your Competition
Competitive analysis lets you compare your products and services with your competitors and optimize them to stay ahead of the curve. You can use questionnaires or surveys to ask simple questions to customers like:
- Which product would you consider as an alternative to ours and why?
- What made you choose our product over other brands?
- Have you seen any website/app/product with an identical feature?
- How would you compare our products/services to our competitors?
You can then incorporate the insights into your CX strategies to improve engagement and overall experience.
- If people state pricing as the best trait of your competitors, you can run a pricing analysis to restructure your plans.
- If they prefer other brands because of some specific feature, you can test out that feature in your product to see if it improves customer satisfaction and experience.
9. Personalize the Experience
We talked about segmentation to personalize the experience of each group, but it needs to go deeper than cohorts. Experience personalization needs to happen at an individual customer level to design a successful customer experience strategy.
Epsilon research indicates that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers personalized experiences and they are willing to pay more for it.
Here are some ways to offer personalized experiences:
- Use purchase history or website behavior to send personalized product recommendations through notifications.
- Use AI-based personalization engines to show related products on the product pages or cart.
- Show appreciation by sending in exclusive discounts, membership offers, event invitations, and giveaways to customers based on their total purchase value.
You can also leverage gamification to improve customer engagement and personalize their experience. Rewarding customers for taking specific actions like shopping from you can encourage them to come back for more. These include personalized quizzes, loyalty programs, contests, and more. Use these at different touchpoints to provide an engaging experience across the customer journey roadmap.
It also lets you collect in-depth data about customer preferences which can be channeled to design personalized campaigns.
- Add a branched personality quiz on your website to redirect the visitors to relevant pages based on their answers.
- Use this opportunity to collect demographic and psychographic data from the customers for your campaigns.
- You can also use a product recommendation quiz to explore upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
- Introduce loyalty programs to give incentives to customers for making a purchase. These loyalty points act as encouragement for customers to come back to you. It also shows that you value your customers’ loyalty.
- Run sweepstakes and online contests to increase brand awareness and engage your audience base. You can ask people to post how they are using your products and tag your brand in the post to participate in the lucky draw.
10. Optimize Onboarding and Product Adoption
86% of people say they’d be more likely to stay loyal to a business that invests in onboarding content to educate them. 8 out of 10 customers say they have deleted an app because they don’t know how to use it, according to a survey by Wyzowl.
A successful onboarding promotes a seamless experience for new users by familiarizing them with product features to improve product adoption and retention.
You can leverage it to teach them about product usage and show unique product features.
For example, if you offer helpdesk solutions, use onboarding to educate users about setting up the shared inbox to receive tickets, adding tags to each mail, and setting up the automation workflows.
You can also add inline help tooltips next to different settings to help users understand their functions. It’s a great way to demonstrate value for their money to new customers.
Another excellent feature to improve product adoption is in-app guides and instructions. These are short message prompts that guide a user about the specific setting or feature. Instead of searching for the solution in the knowledge base, users can read the short guides and learn to use the products.
Customer experience is the new battleground
Business is no longer just about roping in customers with fantastic marketing and selling your products. Today, customer relationships are equally, perhaps even more important when it comes to business goals.
It is important to realize that customers are more than just your source of revenue. They are your brand ambassadors. Every interaction that they have with your brand counts. And that’s precisely why investing in exceptional CX matters.
That being said, perfecting your CX strategy can be challenging, especially when it comes to deciding where to begin.
Our advice? Start with the basics and scale up your customer experience (CX) strategy with time. You can start by implementing our tips to build an exceptional customer service and feedback program on your website or mail. Use these insights to address customers’ problems and track your progress with experience scores. From there, you can explore self-service tools, experience personalization options, and more to expand your customer experience (CX) programs.