Nowadays, providing your customers with seamless and unforgettable experiences during their journey with your brand is more relevant than ever before. In the era of digitalization and hyper competitive markets, customer experience optimization can make your brand: from building customer trust, reducing churn, and increasing retention and loyalty to growing your brand, upselling and generating more revenue.
Although companies used to believe that the best way to stand out from the competition was through their product, differentiation now lies in improving consumer experiences through personalized omnichannel experiences. So much so that 79% of consumers will stop doing business with a brand after having just one bad experience and, moreover, 86% of consumers say they are actually willing to pay more for better experiences. In other words, ignoring any window of opportunity to improve customer experience is a flat mistake.
In this article, our experts explore the what, why and how of customer experience optimization so you can reap the benefits of an optimized customer experience!
What is customer experience optimization?
Customer experience optimization is the ongoing practice of leveraging data to improve your customers’ interactions with your brand –from the very moment they see an ad to the moment your product is in their hands.
A good customer experience (CX) takes into account each of these individual touchpoints throughout the customer journey, and it entails delving into the complexities of a problem and determining which levers you can pull to make a positive impact, rather than applying a blanket approach for resolving everything at once. You can upgrade your customers’ experiences in many ways, such as:
- Providing personalized experiences
- Meeting –and better yet, exceeding– consumer expectations
- Creating omnichannel experiences
- Replying to queries more quickly
- Guiding users to where they want to go faster
- Reducing confusion throughout the journey
In short, CX optimization is the practices brands put into place to keep consumers happy and coming back for more. As you can see, a good CX is more than just delivering a great service or product, it’s about creating smooth, coherent and enjoyable experiences from start to finish.
At this point, you might be thinking: “Sure, an optimized customer experience seems great –but why is it so important?”. Below we explore why exactly more and more brands are putting CX at the front and center of their business strategy.
Why is customer experience optimization so important?
Customer experience optimization tends to focus on offering experiences that are simple, seamless and tailor-made for each consumer. However, rather than only focusing on specific engagement touchpoints such as billing and replying to online customer queries, the optimization of CX aims to shape experiences —not just deliver a service.
A recent PWC study found that a whopping 52% of Americans believe companies need to up their game when it comes to consumer experiences. This, in turn, translates into a huge opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves from the rest through an optimized consumer experience. Let’s take a look at some statistics that show us exactly why CX optimization is so important:
- Brands with effective omnichannel CX strategies retain 89% of their customers on average, compared to 33% of their peers with unoptimized strategies.
- 49% of consumers have made spontaneous and impulsive purchases due to personalized experiences.
- 48% of online shoppers say they abandon a website when they feel it was not well curated for them.
In addition, experience-driven businesses achieve 1.9x brand awareness and 1.9x customer retention, while growing revenue 1.7 times faster than companies that don’t focus on experiences, according to an Adobe survey.
In other words, CX optimization is essential because it helps brands improve customer retention, lower the customer acquisition cost, boost customer satisfaction and, thus, generate more revenue by upselling and cross-selling. A happy customer is crucial to drive revenue and build awareness that brings in new customers.
How to carry out an effective customer experience optimization.
To stand out from the rest, brands must have a strong Customer Experience Management model that dramatically improves and personalizes consumer experiences and their (customer) journeys. At Conexio, we understand that customer experience optimization can seem like a daunting and overwhelming task to undertake. It might be tough to know where to begin with so many different areas to examine and improve on. So, we’ve compiled a thorough list for you to get started. Let’s dive in!
1. Adapting to a data-driven, customer-centric mindset.
To stay competitive in today's business landscape, companies need to adopt a data-driven, customer-centric mindset. This means that they need to put their customers' needs and preferences at the forefront of their business strategy, and use data to gain insights into their behavior and preferences.
So, let’s talk about the main key to your CX optimization: data. Having both quantitative and qualitative customer insights is critical for a fruitful customer experience optimization. While surveys and consumer interviews can provide the more qualitative insights, customer data comes into play for the quantitative insights.
Quantitative data gives you the opportunity to learn about your customers —who they are, how they connect with you, and what they want from your brand. Consumer insights not only help you decide when and what to market to them, but also how. Essentially, customer data allows you to personalize each touchpoint and provide seamless experiences that fulfill –or even exceed– your customers’ expectations of you.
One way to achieve this is through the use of a Customer Data Platform (CDP). A CDP is a software platform that allows businesses to collect, manage, and activate customer data from various sources in a combined view. Adobe Experience Platform (AEP), for instance, is a renowned CDP that provides a unified, real-time view of customer data that can be used to deliver personalized experiences across channels and devices.
Let's take a look at some of the key benefits of using Adobe's CDP:
- Unified view of customer data: Adobe Experience Platform allows businesses to unify customer data from various sources, including online and offline interactions, while creating a single, real-time view of the customer.
- Personalization: With a unified view of customer data, brands can create personalized experiences for their customers across channels and devices.
- Real-time data activation: AEP allows businesses to activate customer data in real-time, so they can deliver personalized experiences at the right moment.
- Machine learning and AI: Adobe’s data platform uses machine learning and AI to analyze customer data and deliver insights that can be used to improve customer engagement.
- Security and compliance: AEP is built on a secure and compliant foundation, so companies can trust that their customer data remains completely safe and protected.
Simply put, adopting a data-driven, customer-centric mindset is essential for brands looking to stay competitive in today's market. By using a customer data platform, such as Adobe Experience Platform, brands can unify their customer data, deliver personalized experiences, and improve engagement.
2. Understanding and creating a journey map.
Creating —or optimizing— a customer journey map is a critical part of CX optimization since it will help you understand the different stages of your customers' experiences and identify potential pain points across the consumer journey. In other words, it helps you to put yourself in your customer's shoes and understand how each consumer interacts with your brand at every touchpoint.
To create a complete, effective journey map, you will need to collect as much data on your customers as possible, including their behavior, preferences and pain points. As mentioned above, you can easily collect all of this data with the use of a customer data platform. Of course, you can also gather qualitative data through customer interviews, surveys, social media, and customer feedback. The more the merrier!
By analyzing this data, you can identify the key stages of your customers’ journeys, from the awareness and consideration stages to the purchase stage and post-purchase stage. Once you’ve identified the key stages, you can then map out the touchpoints that customers have with your brand at each stage.
This includes both digital and physical touchpoints (when applicable), such as website interactions, email communications, phone calls, and in-store experiences. If you understand these touchpoints, you can identify areas where your brand can improve the customer experience while tackling any given pain point.
Now, remember we talked about the Adobe Experience Platform CDP? Well, it’s also a powerful tool that you can use to create a successful journey map for your customers. By leveraging a customer data platform to create a journey map, you can gain a deeper understanding of your customer's experience and use this knowledge to optimize the customer journey. This can include personalizing communications, providing relevant ads, guiding your consumer to where they want to go, and creating a more seamless journey from initial awareness to post-purchase.
3. Optimizing across touchpoints.
Now that we’ve explored all about collecting data and creating a journey map, let’s dive into the different ways in which you can continue your customer experience optimization across touchpoints:
- Adopting an omnichannel vision: Taking on an omnichannel approach is about providing a seamless and consistent experience across channels —be that in-store, on a website, on social media, or email. This requires a deep understanding of the customer journey and focuses on delivering relevant and personalized experiences at each stage. In short, an omnichannel vision helps you deliver cohesive experiences.
- Personalizing experiences: Personalization is essential to delivering a great customer experience. Customers expect brands to understand their needs and preferences, and to deliver relevant content and offers. The easiest way to personalize every interaction your customer has with your brand is through a CDP. For instance, the Adobe Experience Platform allows you to create detailed customer profiles, segment audiences, and deliver tailor-made content as well as specific offers based on behavior, preferences and other data points.
- Increasing content velocity: By increasing the speed at which you deliver relevant content, you can ensure that your customers always have access to the information they need, whether that’s product information, support resources, or other content.
- Deploying AI and Automation solutions: Automation and AI can help you deliver personalized experiences at scale. For example, you can use chatbots to provide quick and efficient customer support or use AI to recommend specific products or content. Start by identifying the areas of the customer journey where automation can have the most impact. Then, look for tools and technologies that can help you automate those processes, such as chatbot platforms or AI-powered recommendation engines.
By following these best practices in your CX optimization journey, you’ll be creating consistent, relevant and engaging experiences across all touchpoints and delivering a more satisfying experience for your customers.
4. Analyzing the results, rinse and repeat.
Examining the results of your initial customer experience optimization is a crucial step to ensure that you are meeting customer expectations and improving their overall satisfaction. By analyzing the data, you can identify what is working and what isn't, and make informed decisions on how to continue upgrading your customers’ experiences with your brand.
You can use metrics such as customer retention rates, conversion rates, and customer lifetime value. Moreover, you can ask for feedback from your customers through surveys, focus groups or interviews since this can provide valuable insights into their experience with your brand. Crossing both your qualitative and quantitative data is sure to help you identify pain points and areas for improvement and develop strategies to address them.
Using data analytics and machine learning tools can also help to analyze the results of your CX optimization efforts. In fact, these tools can provide deep insights into customer behavior and help you to identify patterns and trends that may not be immediately apparent.
Once you have analyzed the results, it's important to rinse and repeat the process. Customer experience optimization is an ongoing process, and using data to inform your decisions is critical to boost revenue and drive business growth.
In conclusion, customer experience optimization is a crucial aspect of any brand's success in today's hyper-competitive market. It involves leveraging data to improve the customer journey and create seamless and enjoyable, tailor-made experiences for consumers. Optimized customer experiences improve customer retention, loyalty, and satisfaction; resulting in increased revenue and company growth.
To carry out a fruitful CX optimization, brands must adopt a customer-centric mindset, utilize CX platforms to make effective decisions based on data, optimize across touchpoints, and continuously analyze results to rinse and repeat. By implementing these practices, brands can create a strong customer experience model that dramatically improves and personalizes consumer experiences and their journeys.