Having a solid customer experience strategy is more than a marketing gimmick or boardroom buzzword among high-performing companies today. When asked about the single most exciting opportunity for their organization in 2018, the top of the list was almost unilaterally optimizing customer experience.
Such findings may not surprise many marketing and customer service experts. A 2013 report from Walker Information predicted that customer experience would overtake price and product as an organization’s key brand differentiator by the year 2020.
As we get closer to 2020, those insights have proven accurate thus far. Over the past decade, businesses have sought out the most effective, efficient, and ROI-proven ways to enhance their customers’ experience. Without a customer experience strategy to serve as a framework, businesses can struggle to build customer loyalty among the more tech-savvy and choice-burdened customers of today.
What Is a Customer Experience Strategy?
An effective customer experience strategy outlines and contextualizes actionable plans that ensure customer satisfaction, repeat business, and, ultimately, customer loyalty. The customer experience (CX) entails every action a customer has with your business at each stage of the sales funnel. The most robust customer experience strategies cover pre- and post-sale interactions across all departments, even those that do not interact directly with customers.
You can define customer experience as how your customer perceives the ways your organization treats them during various interactions. If a customer believes your company provides them with a positive and meaningful experience, they are more likely to make a purchase, become a repeat customer, and advocate your product or service to others.
Having in place a data-driven strategy with real-time client feedback allows you to meet or exceed expectations by fluidly adjusting to evolving customer perceptions. But gathering that feedback and mining data for actionable insights can be challenging for businesses and their customer service teams.
Luckily, customer feedback technology continues to evolve, particularly in the online and mobile spaces. This enables businesses to more seamlessly capture, organize, and interact with the types of data that inform their customer experience insights. The strategy that results can then better foster customer loyalty, brand advocacy, and increased revenues for your business.
5 Reasons Why Having a Customer Experience Strategy is Critical
1. Improves Customer Satisfaction Rates
Customers appreciate companies that listen to feedback and adjust accordingly to craft a better customer experience overall. Ideally, this entails gathering quantitative and qualitative feedback in real-time and in a streamlined, user-friendly way at each possible customer interaction. Generating these types of data sets, such as through CSAT surveys, creates valuable and measurable opportunities for improving client satisfaction.
The first step to any effective strategy surrounding customer experiences is to simply listen to your customers’ wants, needs, challenges, pain points, and also any positive feedback they have for your company. Then while utilizing the appropriate tools and insights, you can seamlessly integrate both the feedback collection and implementation processes into an enhanced overall customer experience.
2. Reduces Customer Churn
More than two-thirds of customers name bad experiences with a brand as a primary reason for churn, according to Esteban Kolsky’s 2015 “CX for Executives” presentation. A customer experience strategy that regularly collects and analyzes client feedback can more quickly detect churn, determine why it’s taking place, and devise solutions to address its cause.
3. Increases Revenues
By providing a positive and memorable customer experience, your business inherently inches closer toward a short-term sale and repeated sales in the long term. Aside from this obvious potential impact on sales, enhanced customer experiences can increase revenues in another less visible way.
4. Keeps You Ahead of Competitors
Per the Econsultancy report, less than two-thirds (62%) of companies agree they have “a cohesive plan, long-term view and executive support for the future of [their] customer.” This signals an opening for organizations that shift their focus to developing standout customer experiences before other competing businesses in their industry or niche.
Customer experience may not be the latest buzzword these days, but it is never too late to create a more forward-thinking customer experience strategy. The impact of a strong customer experience strategy ripples across your entire business before the competition catches on.
5. Transforms Customers Into Brand Advocates
Customers sometimes take to online forums and review sites with negative reviews and complaints to warn other potential customers about a problematic organization. But they can also use the same word-of-mouth and digital reputation tools to praise, thank, or otherwise publicly support your company. You play a critical role in shaping your digital reputation, and creating positive press from consumers that outweighs any foibles is your organization’s duty in a world of social proof.
When someone has a positive customer experience with your brand, they are more likely to become an unofficial brand advocate for your product.
Examples of brand advocacy and community marketing include:
- Personal recommendations of your products or services to family members, friends, and coworkers
- Social media follows, shares, and other visible online interactions with, or that mention, your brand
- Positive mentions of your brand as the customer participates in various online and in-person communities, associations, panels, conferences, or other industry events
Brand advocacy can make or break businesses, particularly in crowded and fast-growing industries. With a thoughtful strategy behind your overall customer experience, a high level of customer advocacy can be within your reach.
Use a customer experience strategy based on actionable insights from real-time customer feedback to develop loyal clients and grow your business.