Great customer experience is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing process that requires daily effort from a dedicated team.
As CX and marketing brands dive deeper into this customer-centric model, research has been done, and trends have appeared. They give us a better idea of what works and doesn't. What attracts customers, and what pushes them away.
Here you have 8 research-based strategies that will help you keep your customers first and foremost in your plans and strategies:
1. The quality of your services is as important as the quality of experience
Good experiences can convert a one-time customer into a loyal customer.
If your product or service is of high quality, but the experience to acquire it is not, that high quality might not be enough to keep customers loyal.
💡 Approximately 25% of customers would switch brands if they had a single bad experience.
💡 Great user experience builds trust, improves conversions, and engages customers.
💡 88% of customers say a company's experience is as important as its products or services.
Considering the end-to-end experience is key here. Brands must create journeys that consider digital and physical touchpoints whenever available.
"Most CX investments are digital, but relevant and timely personalization requires understanding all online and offline experiences." - Jay Proulx, Head of CXM at TMG
Translation: don't confine yourself to the digital world. Integrate physical touchpoints when appropriate or necessary and work to make these "hybrid" interactions as consistent and seamless as possible. This will help you stand out in a sea of digital-only brands.
When customers have many options, if you have to give them all possible reasons to prefer your product/service over others, an extraordinary end-to-end experience is one of the best ways to secure their loyalty.
2. Increase revenue with premium services that provide extraordinary customer experience
This does not mean that non-premium customers receive a bad experience, but rather that experiences are consistently good across customer levels, and this is precisely what motivates them to pay more for extraordinary services and experiences.
“While the exact premium service offers may vary based on each company’s unique needs, premium offers often include adoption services that help accelerate return on investment (ROI) for customers, services to help reduce complexity and costs associated with use of the product, dedicated resources such as a Technical Account Manager, enhanced Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and possibly additional channels” - Thinkhdi
The added value of these extra services is an opportunity to increase revenue by providing an experience they can’t get elsewhere.
3. Build trust with your customers
Brand-customer relationships are similar to friendships: if your friend feels understood and treated like an equal, they will wish to continue being your friend.
If you are attentive to your customers’ needs and preferences and make changes based on those specifications, customers will want to return to your brand repeatedly.
A few ways to promote customer loyalty include:
- Go above their expectations with a combination of good practices: promptly respond to them, provide unexpected but welcomed services like sending birthday cards or special birthday offers, personalize their offerings, and always follow up on prior communications (once a support ticket is resolved, reassure them with a quick email).
- Be ready to provide support on their preferred channels, whether a chatbot, live chat, or any other relevant channel to your audience.
- Value customer feedback. By asking for their opinions and adjusting to them, you let them know that their preferences are important to you. It will make them feel heard and valued.
- Reward loyal customers with early access programs, special event invitations, loyalty discounts, and other loyalty perks.
#4 Design consistency across touchpoints
Customer expectations have increased due to the gradual shift towards the customer-first model. One of the most common expectations is that interactions remain consistent across touchpoints.
Customers expect different departments from the same company to have access to the same database so that every employee can access, for example, your latest transactions and use that knowledge to provide a better experience.
💡 85% of customers expect consistency across touchpoints and departments, but 66% also report having to repeat information to different representatives - Salesforce
This means this expectation is not being met as often as customers want. Stand out by providing your employees with a unified database that allows them to offer contextual experiences for your customers.
#5 Be transparent about the use of customer data
This goes back to trust but deserves a point of its own. Customers are more aware that their data is valuable to brands. In the context of the increased political push for data use and collection transparency, this is an opportunity to be 100% crystal clear with them.
Stand out as a trustworthy brand that uses data responsibility for your customers' benefit.
Always explain what type of data you're collecting, why you're collecting it, and how you'll use it to provide a better experience.
#6 Provide personalization
Personalization is the one thing modern customers can’t seem to be able to live without.
💡 80% of customers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. - Epsilon
If you’ve been in CX for a while, that’s not news, but it provides context on the extent to which customers want personalization.
A few ways to introduce personalization are:
- Study the customer journey. Identify pain points to make adjustments that can improve the experience for every customer.
- Micro-segment your customer base. Segmentation is a fundamental part of targeting campaigns, but once customers have made purchases relevant to their preferences, they no longer want to receive generic ads. Instead, they want ads targeted at their specific likes and dislikes. That’s micro-segmentation, and it is what many customers expect.
- Dive into the omnichannel. Use data from in-store interactions, social media, phone calls, mobile apps, websites, email, and more, to extend their preferences across every possible touchpoint.
#7 A customer-first mindset
Putting the customer at the heart of your business at every touchpoint is the way to provide the experiences customers want.
What does having a “customer-first mindset” mean?
It means a brand puts the customer at the center of all decisions, instead of focusing on products/services and accommodating customers around them.
Customer-first brands accommodate everything around their customers by proactively delivering positive experiences.
But, how? Well, Messagely, a customer support messaging platform, identified 7 ways to adopt a successful customer-first strategy:
- Make customer experience one of your brand's core values, and develop strategies to stay true to it.
- Take care of your employees by managing all the variables they need to perform their best
- Harness buyer personas to understand who your customers are, what they need, and how you can help them reach their goals
- Make customer service the driving force behind your strategy.
- Improve transparency and communication between departments, so they have all the information they need to provide the best CX at all times.
- Collect feedback from all platforms and determine the most significant trends to shape your priorities and decisions
- Constantly train or upskill your employees to perform at their best and delight your customers.
Is this the process you should use for your brand?
Maybe, maybe not. Every brand's unique combination of context, needs, and customer base should inform their decisions. Still, whatever method you use, it should always have customer satisfaction first and foremost in mind.
#8 Deploy automation and AI solutions
But don’t go at it without a plan. Automation and artificial intelligence can only help you if you know how to apply them correctly.
So you need to go into the specifics of your processes and determine which one of them would benefit from some automated solution.
Would a chatbot improve customer support? Would text and voice analysis software help determine which campaigns generate the most customer calls?
Once you know where you’ll place an automated solution, you need to determine how the workflow will need to be adjusted and which employees will need to be upskilled to manage the new technology.
It’ll be a long process, but customers are open to these solutions if they add value to their experiences.
CX is the key to customer satisfaction.
Much research has gone into customer experiences, and it all paints a clear picture: providing a good experience, led forward by a customer-centric approach, reports excellent benefits to organizations.
Customers with good experiences spend more, stay loyal for longer, and refer your services to more people. This feeds back into increased loyalty, repeat purchases, and referrals.
The challenge is how to achieve this level of customer satisfaction through CX?
That’s a path that every brand must learn how to walk, but research and experience clearly show that focusing on customer satisfaction is indeed the way forward.
Apply these principles however suits your brand and customers best, and you’ll be on your way to achieve your goals.