Customer Experience – Have you ever lost a customer to a competitor and didn’t know why they left? A customer experience strategy can help you retain more customers and stop them from defecting to competitors.
Companies who skillfully manage and execute customer experience strategies reap enormous rewards. They achieve higher customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction.
With rising competitive pressures, creating a highly differentiated customer experience can help turn dissatisfaction or indifference into delight. People like being WOW’d and having their expectations exceeded.
Why customer experience is important
- Increases customer satisfaction.When a customer is WOW’d by the experience and has their expectations exceeded, it increases customer satisfaction.
- Reduces customer churn.People want to buy from places that make them feel good. Creating an experience that is memorable and enjoyable for the customer will help to keep them coming back for more and not churning away.
- Create a competitive advantage and differentiation. No longer can you compete on price, customers want more, and they want emotional connections with the companies they deal with. Create that experience that keeps them coming back for more. This will create a point of differentiation that you can use as a competitive advantage.
Let’s take a look at four customer experiences strategies you can use to increase satisfaction, reduce churn and increase revenue.
1. The three ‘Ds’ of Customer Experience
In order for leaders in customer experience to deliver a ‘superior customer experience’ in the eyes of their customers, there are three imperative they need to pursue simultaneously:
a) Designing the right experience-focused value propositions
The companies delivering a truly outstanding customer experience divide customers into segments and design experience-focused value propositions for each one. They tailor and design customer experiences for different customers.
b) Delivering value to the customer
The best companies deliver these value propositions by focusing the entire company on delivering them. An emphasis is put on cross-functional collaboration. For instance, the marketing team and supply chain team are in line across the whole customer experience; they know and deliver a consistent value proposition.
c) Developing the capabilities to do it again and again
Companies who offer superior customer experience have developed their capabilities to please customers again and again. They have systems in place to deliver a consistent customer experience over and over again.
The leaders also know how to keep innovating and improving the experience. They have tools to help with customer-focused planning and executing; they know what customer-based metrics need tracking; and offer customer-focused management incentives to keep their employees goals in line with the company’s goals.
2. Define the Customer Experience and keep it consistent across all touch points
Customer experience management represents the discipline, methodology and/or process used to comprehensively manage a customer’s cross-channel exposure, interaction and transaction with a company, product, brand or service.
The best companies recognize that customers interact with different parts of the organization and across multiple touch points. They know customers engage with different employees when they make a purchase, when they’re getting service and support, and when they’re talking to billing or accounts.
A company must take all of these experiences into account if they want to create loyal customers.
Scott Nelson, vice president and distinguished analyst at industry research firm Gartner, shared this on the topic of customer experience.
In the past, companies could rely on loyalty out of sheer convenience. If you wanted a bank account, for example, you went to the branch closest to your home or office. Not anymore, Nelson says: “I can bank with somebody in Ohio if I’d rather, [instead of] with the bank across the street.” – Scott Nelson, Gartner
Customer loyalty is now driven by a company’s interaction with its customers and how well it delivers on their wants and needs. The customer doesn’t see the marketing department and customer support centre as two different things, they simple see one brand. They demand an experience that reflects that.
So when a customer gets transferred from support to sales, you better make sure your sales guy is clued up with what existing products and support requests the customer has had in the past. No way is the customer going to want to explain it all again.
3. Base the experience on individual customer needs
Customer experience strategy must start with knowing what your customer needs and wants, which will equate to their expectations. Once you know that, you can work backwards to create an experience that exceeds those customer expectations.
Taking a hands-on approach to understanding individual customers’ needs will help create an experience that WOW’s your customers. Exceeding customer expectations is the easiest way to create a memorable experience. Memorable experiences also develop customer advocates, who sing praise about your company to friends and colleagues.
4. Create experiences with ‘real people’ not ‘brands’ or ‘companies’
People want to deal with other people, not brands or companies. There’s nothing less personal than getting an email from a ‘brand’ with no personalization. It just doesn’t pack a punch. We seek human to human engagement.
Make sure that every engagement with a customer is a personalized experience. It’s an opportunity to build a strong relationship with a customer. A relationship that extends beyond expectations and one that will lead to a memorable experience.
Think about the now famous Zappos customer service representatives. Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, doesn’t care how long his customer service representatives stay on the phone. He sees it as a marketing opportunity to build a customer experience that then gets told to friends and colleagues.
Here are my tips to start using people, not brand to build an experience:
- Send emails from a personal email account.
- Use names and personalization – treat them like a person not a number.
- Send follow up emails and calls based on a specific action (don’t just blast them).
- Get your employees engaged, and excited about your product. This comes off when emailing and on the phone.
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