There is no business without customers. Companies are focusing on getting new clients but also on retaining existing ones. As the most exciting business opportunity of 2019, customer experience must become the central part of a company’s strategy. The idea is to provide customers with excellent service and better yet - always try to exceed their expectations of what good service is. For example, if you are selling mobile phones, consider adding a protective cover or glass free of charge whenever a customer makes a purchase. It’s all about figuring out what your customers would like to have and provide it to them before they ask. You should always make your customers feel noticed and special.
In one of our previous blog posts, we highlighted three of the most important elements of a good customer experience, which is: fulfil your customers' demands, make their interactions with your company easy and make sure the process is as enjoyable as possible. However, let’s get more specific and discover the core of a great customer experience.
Get started with customer experience
- Understand the target group
- Gather information about customers
- Listen to feedback, not to your thoughts
- Create an emotional connection
- Develop a customer experience framework
- Measure and understand
Understand your target group
Your target group is the people you want to provide services and/or sell products. To become more aware of who they are, you can create a persona, which is a fictional person that represents your target group. Give the persona a name, nationality, family, hobby and possible issues. If your target group is big and consists of many different types of persons, it is a good idea to create more than one persona.
This practice will make it easier for your team to recognize who they work for and help them to keep a personal approach to every customer from the start. By understanding that customers are not just random people who buy your products or services your business takes a crucial step in becoming customer-centric.
Gather information about customers
Your customers can be different, and the challenge is to make them all satisfied with the customer experience you provide. Keep an eye on a customer’s history of interactions with your company and analyze it. The priority is to have the data in order, see what was written in the last email or said in the previous phone call. To make it easier we recommend to use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, it will give you the ability to deliver targeted advertising (email marketing), provide related products and understand the 360-degree view of the customer.
Listen to feedback, not to your thoughts
Your services and/or products are for your customers, not for you. Therefore, always remember not to rely solely on your own opinion or thoughts, but instead focus on what your clients are saying (Voice of Customer - VOC). There is nothing wrong with challenging new ideas, but improvements and changes should be based on customers feedback. Implementing new features which are not based on the current target audience might have a negative impact on your already established strategy.
A good practice is to gather feedback in real time. This can be done by preparing your agents with questions, they can implement in their conversations with customers. This technique can give you some qualified ideas for future improvements. Otherwise, do not hesitate to give your customer a quick call to ask what their opinion is. Also, try to use post-interaction and other customer experience tools.
Create an emotional connection
Nowadays it’s crucial to understand another person not only as a client but also as a friend. There is nothing wrong with sharing emotions and making customers feel special, because your brand should not only be the service or product it sells but it should also be the customer experience. Put some effort into understanding your customers and being more empathetic towards them. Imagine that one of your customers missed a deadline and forgot to send some important documents. Instead of taking away their opportunity to send it anyway, try to reach out to them, understand why the situation happened and figure out a solution together.
“More than 50% of an experience is based on an emotion”
By making customers feel good about interacting with your company, you gather their trust and loyalty, and there is nothing stronger than that. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, 44% of emotionally engaged customers are rarely or never shopping around. In other words, emotionally engaged customers equals high brand loyalty. And when your customers reach high brand loyalty, they are more likely to re-purchase and to recommend your product or services to others.
Develop a customer experience framework
Invest in your agents because they are the ones interacting with your customers! Your business depends on how dedicated your employees are, so it’s crucial for you to have a prepared and robust staff. One good way to help your agents is by developing a customer experience framework which is easy to follow. By making it clear how you want your agents to interact with your customers, you decrease the risk of confusion and potential disasters. Monitor phone calls, emails and messages, and work on finding the best way to deal with your customers on each platform. Workshops, group training or e-learning programmes are also good tools, that can help your employees’ individual growth as great agents!
Measure and understand
Always make sure your customer experience efforts perform well and are worth the resources you invest in them. In other words, measuring the ROI (Return On Investment) of your efforts is crucial. However, estimating the performance of customer experience is one of the hardest challenges faced by companies. One good way to collect necessary data is using the Net Promoter Score. Here you ask your clients the ultimate question: "Would You recommend this company to a friend or relative?”. The most important part is to analyze and understand every kind of data and feedback you collect - it’s the only way to improve!
As mentioned in our previous blog post, customer service is an important element of customer experience. By gathering insights and feedback from the customer service department, your company can improve the experience that the customers are having! The best practice is using a helpdesk, which is a professional customer service system - and your business needs it!
Creating an efficient customer experience strategy is one of the hardest things your company has to deal with. When it comes to customer experience there is no such thing as a 'best practice model' that will lead every company to success. Every business must work things out on its own by trying different solutions and measure the outcomes. Sometimes the process of developing the strategy can be very time consuming, but don’t forget that as long as you listen to your customers and put effort into making improvements, your customer experience will only get better!