When it comes down to it, the success of your business depends on your ability to engage and satisfy customers. Happy buyers buy more often, and tell their friends to buy too. How do you encourage their satisfaction? By investing in customer experience management.
In this post we'll explain what customer experience management is; how it's different from customer service; and a foolproof, four step system you can use to better engage your audience and improve your business.
What Is Customer Experience Management?
Customer experience management is the process of managing customer interactions in order to exceed expectations and build both customer loyalty and advocacy.
When properly strategized for and executed, a customer experience management system will strengthen brand recognition, reduce customer churn, and increase revenue. Why? Because positive customer experiences can differentiate your company from competitors and build trust.
The Truth About Customer Experience
Now that we understand what customer experience management is, it's time to share the cold hard truth about it. Here are a few statistics to keep in mind:
- 55% of consumers would be willing to pay more if a good customer experience was guaranteed. (Source: ThinkJar)
- 79% of consumers are hesitant to purchase from a company until the brand proves that it cares about them. (Source: Wantedness)
- 84% of companies working to improve their customer's experience with their brand report an increase in revenue. (Source: Qualtrics)
- The cost of acquiring a new customer is roughly 6x higher than retaining a current one. (Source: ThinkJar)
- An effective omni-channel engagement program is key to customer retention. Companies that invest in one report an average 89% customer retention rate compared to just 33% for companies with an underperforming program. (Source: Aberdeen Group)
As you can see, consumer experience management is vital to the success of your company. It's not a "luxury" some organizations invest in, but a bonafide business necessity.
"Customer Experience" vs. "Customer Service"
Before we move on to the next section, we need to address the difference between "customer experience" and "customer service." While the terms are often used interchangeably, they are different. Customer service is just one piece of the customer experience puzzle. It's when a customer contacts your company, usually because something is wrong, seeking some sort of assistance or counsel.
For example, if the new lawn mower you purchased last month suddenly stopped working, you might call the company's customer service department to help you diagnose and fix the problem or to return the faulty tool.
Customer experience, on the other hand, is the entirety of a customer's relationship with your company. It includes customer service, but also the customer's experience with your actual products, the feeling they get when they enter your brick-and-mortar store or click on your website, and the thoughts that come to mind when they see your marketing efforts.
Every interaction a customer has with your brand, good or bad, contributes to their experience.
Customer experience management is important, but not always easy. There are multiple challenges your company will face on the road to better customer interactions. Namely; personal bias, consistency, and managing data. Let's explore each of these in greater detail.
Personal bias is one of the main enemies to positive customer experiences. It must be eliminated immediately. What do we mean by personal bias? Seeing things only from your own point of view.
For instance, you may be a mathematical expert and look at the world in a very analytical, by the numbers way. But many of your company's customers won't view life in the same light. Attempting to interact with every person on this level is a recipe for disaster. Instead, attempt to view everything — customer challenges, your marketing approach, etc. — the way your customers do.
Personal bias also creeps in when companies prioritize profits over customer experiences. Your business needs to make money, but boosting revenue at the expense of the customer is short sighted. As the statistics show, customers who have positive experiences with your brand will become much more loyal. Meaning an investment in client experiences is really the best path to increased profits.
Consumers expect your brand to remain consistent regardless of the channel they're currently interacting with your company on. This is becoming increasingly difficult as more and more avenues of communication become standard.
While nobody expects to be offered phone support via Facebook Messenger, customers contacting your company through this channel still want to receive the same level of care and attention that they would were they to call your support team. Proper consumer experience management means ensuring every consumer interaction leaves a consistently satisfactory impression.
Lastly, many brands find that effectively using the many customer data points at their disposal is a challenge. With so much information available, it can be difficult to know what's useful and what isn't. But the proper use of data is essential to client experience management.
Fortunately, each of these challenges can be overcome by a great customer experience management strategy. Let's talk more about crafting one now.
4 Steps to Exceptional Customer Experience Management
Ready to craft a winning customer experience management system? The following four step plan will get you started on the path to success.
Step 1: Prioritize the Customer Experience
Effective customer experience management starts with a change in mindset. You need to begin prioritizing customer experiences with your brand. You'll never be able to consistently improve your company's interactions with consumers until you decide, first and foremost, that it's important — important enough to make the necessary changes.
Once you reach that point, you can then craft a customer experience vision and share it with the rest of your organization. This vision will likely consist of guidelines to abide by. For example, MailChimp, an email marketing software provider, has built its brand on humor, quirkiness and a commitment to great products.
This mentality shines through in all their interactions with customers; from the copy and images they use on their website, to the way they constantly strive to upgrade their platform, to their customer support team.
Make sure every person in your organization understands your customer experience vision and gets onboard. Since each of your customers will likely experience your brand in a myriad of ways, it's important that each company departments exhibits the same attention to them.
Step 2: Create Detailed Customer Personas
You can't create amazing customer experiences without first knowing who your customer are. The best way to do this is to create and maintain detailed customer personas.
If you're unfamiliar with the term, a customer persona, also known as a marketing or buyer persona, is a fictional character that represents a specific subset of your customer base. It's made by conducting research on your target market and collecting real consumer data.
Essential buyer persona information includes demographics like age, gender, physical location, income level, and preferred social platforms; and psychographic details such as customer challenges and fears, and their goals and aspirations.
Once a buyer persona has been created, it can be used to better facilitate amazing customer experiences. We'll talk more about that in the next section. But before we do, we should note that not all your customers are the same. You need to create multiple buyer personas to reach your entire audience.
Furthermore, your company doesn't have "static customers," which means your customers will change and grow as time passes. The things they enjoy now might be different in two years. That's why it's crucial that you constantly monitor your audience and update your customer personas when needed.
Step 3: Personalize Customer Interactions
When you understand your customers, you can personalize their experiences with your brand. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. It's where all the hard work you put in casting your customer experience vision and creating buyer personas begins to pay off.
For instance, if you understand that a specific segment of your audience is composed of millennials, you can send them special discounts and offers you know they'll enjoy. Offers that other customer segments might not find interesting.
When you look for them, you'll find countless ways to personalize your customers experience with your brand. Your support department can be trained to address customer concerns based on the product they've purchased. Your email marketing team can send perfectly relevant emails based on how subscribers joined your email list.
Many different touch points between your brand and its audience can be personalized. Doing so, for as many of them as possible, is what customer experience management is all about.
Step 4: Optimize the Customer Experience
The final step in your client experience management process needs to be optimization. Not every interaction a customer has with your brand will be perfect. There's always room for improvement.
This may occasionally take the form of reaching out to customers and apologizing for previous failings. It could also mean researching new ways and channels to better aid the customer experience. Maybe your support team has new client information you can implement.
The point is, your customer experience management process should be continually evolving. As you learn more about your target audience, as their preferences change, as your company releases new products and caters to new consumers, you'll need to adjust the way your company interacts with its audience.
Ideally you'll also be measuring the return on investment (ROI) your customer experience efforts are generating. The easiest way to do this is to simply track your company's Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Ask your customers one simple question, "How likely are you to recommend [Your Company] to a friend?" and give them the option to choose a number between 1 and 10. Scores between 1 and 6 are considered detractors, people who won't recommend your company. In fact, they may even speak out against your brand.
Scores of either 7 or 8 are viewed as passive. They are satisfied with your company, but don't feel compelled to advocate for it. Customers that give your company a 9 or 10 are your promoters. They love your brand and want to share it with others.
Your goal is to turn as many of your company's customers into promoters as possible. You do this by creating and optimizing amazing customer experiences.
Elevate the Customer Experience with CloudApp
As we've just seen, the experience you give your customers — at every point in their relationship with your brand — is of the utmost importance! While there are challenges, the four step system we outlined will take your customer experience management to the next level.
- First, change your mindset and prioritize the customer experience.
- Second, understand your audience and create details buyer personas.
- Third, whenever possible, customize the interactions consumers have with your brand.
- Fourth, optimize your approach and ensure that all customer interactions are top-notch.
Often times the technology you choose to use will be the difference between good and bad customer interactions. CloudApp is the perfect tool to provide top quality experiences to your audience. Use our visual communication features to:
- Easily create support materials and tutorials
- Optimize customer support workflows
- Provide customers with detailed answers and close Zendesk tickets faster
- Improve your team's CSAT scores
- Track bugs and document problems
- Improve customer support initiatives - download your FREE 6 slide template here
Learn more about CloudApp for Customer Support here.