The Truth About Customer Experience

Business performance will always be assessed by customer experience. Not just about gaining new customers and securing positive reviews, but also streamlining your customer journey to drive loyalty and retention among your existing customer base. Creating a positive customer experience is not driven purely to land a sale, it is about creating a journey that sets your business apart in the minds of your customers as reliable, efficient and top-of-the-line. These five truths about the customer experience will help along the way.

Capitalise on knowing your customer

When it comes to customer experience, the best place to start is identifying the importance of a great customer journey. Gartner predicts that by 2020, more than 40% of all data analytics projects will tie back to a facet of customer experience. As such, it’s important for businesses to own, moderate, and take action, when it comes to customer feedback. Getting an intimate understanding of your customers and the way they interact with your business, means focusing your energy on turning negative feedback into positive. Customers leave feedback anywhere they think it will be seen — social media platforms, blogs, or the reviews section of e-commerce sites. That is why it is important to keep your customer engagement process consistent throughout multiple touchpoints.

So, why is customer feedback such a big factor in streamlining the customer experience? For starters, according to Econsultancy, 73% of customers state customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions. Focusing on what your customers have to say about the journey they take with your business, helps you improve the rate of retention and loyalty, while driving sales, all in one fell swoop.

Customer feedback is also a good way of nailing down process points in the journey that need attention. At a glance, some processes might seem quick and painless to you, but in reality could be a nightmare to endure for customers. You’ll be able to understand the loopholes in your products through reviews and suggestions from your consumers. From there, you can figure out how to re-engineer the marketing strategy you’ve been implementing for a more effective one.

Investing in multi-channel customer experience is a MUST

Otherwise known as an omni-channel customer experience, this ties back into the idea of keeping track of the multiple touchpoints throughout the customer journey. Investing in an omni-channel experience ensures that your brand message is delivered seamlessly across all touchpoints to best maximise the customer experience. A great way of optimising your customer experience is by making your business processes customer-centric.

Studies done by the Aberdeen Group have shown that companies with strong omni-channel strategies wind up retaining an average of 89% of their customers as compared to the 33% retained by those with weaker omni-channel strategies. PWC predicts that the need for nearly perfect execution will amplify the demand for an omni-channel customer experience.

Investing in omni-channel servicing keeps you in sync with your customers. Developing your social media presence and online communication channels can help you bridge the gap between your customers and your brand. One way of doing so is by keeping up-to-date with automation processes to ease the way of your customer journey. Accenture has found that over 80% of customer engagement today can be supported by bots. That doesn’t mean you should neglect your human interactions, however.

The secret to great conversion rates does not only rely on savvy landing pages or catchy sales sequences. It is about engaging with your customers on a personal level and letting them know that your business is guided by a human touch.

Keep an eye on your social media channels

According to the HuffPost 55% of your customer service requests done on social media are never acknowledged while 84% of these requests are escalated to another channel.

Having your concerns shuffled around from representative-to-representative can test even the most patient of customers. If you’re not keen on being put on hold when you’re reaching out to a business on a personal level, then it can be safe to assume that your business’ customers like it even less.

This is why you should keep your nose buried in your phone or computer screen. Staying up-to-date with your social media interactions and trends doesn’t just help you build a stronger foundation of brand awareness, but a — it lets you stay in touch with your customer base. It lets you own, moderate, and take action on feedback, be it positive or negative. It lets you take on an assertive position with negative feedback and channel into positive funnels. Avoiding customer churn means quick responses is a key strategy.

Bad customer experience equals customer churn

HuffPost goes on to reveal that 67% of consumers say that bad experiences are the reason for churn.

5-star ratings on review sites or blogger endorsements can only take you a fraction of the way with customer retention and loyalty. As the saying goes, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And no negative feedback doesn’t automatically mean a positive experience for new customers. Taking on an indifferent stance through the customer journey can greatly affect your reputation and incur cost to your business.

If you think you’re providing an A-class customer experience, you might be over-assessing your own brand. Forbes found out a shocking truth about businesses today: 80% of these brands believe they provide ”exceptional” customer service, but only 8% of these consumers agree.

The Answer? Check your response times across all your social media channels and invest in better customer service strategies. Brainstorm and execute a definite plan of action for resolving issues with customers. Integrating a live chat platform on your website, while keeping an eye on your channels is also a great way to respond and connect.

Self-help over long phone holds

American Express’ 2017 Customer Service Barometer Research revealed that 6 out of 10 US customers say their go-to channels for their inquiries are digital self-help tools such as online chat, voice response system, mobile apps and business websites. So, really the assumption customers want to be spoon-fed should be entirely obsolete. In fact, Zendesk found out that 50% of customers value self-help options. 70% of these consumers expect your business website to integrate a self-service application.

Putting product demo and instructional videos on your website, improving your FAQs, and creating self-help articles can help a ton in minimising customer service tasks. You also put a personal touch to walking your customers through their problems. It’s a win-win situation all around.

The long and the short of it is that customer experience is the backbone of customer retention. Even if your product or service is the industry gamechanger, giving your customers the best experiences possible is the key to keeping them in the long run. So, take the time to learn a little more about your customers. Identify your buyer persona and creating customer profiles to help along the way – that is at every touchpoint.

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