Forrester Research defines customer experience as: “How customers perceive their interactions with your company.” On the other hand, customer experience (CX) refers to how businesses engage with their customers throughout their customer journey — from navigating the website and making purchases to receiving deliveries and contacting customer support.
CX encompasses every aspect of a company’s proposition, including customer care, brand communications, advertising, salespoint design, packaging, product features, return policy, etc. As we can see, customer experience is a complex term comprising what companies have to offer and how customers perceive it.
Today we’ll discuss why CX is so important, what makes a good or bad customer experience, how to measure it, what is a CX strategy, and how to improve customer experience.
Why does customer experience matter?
A positive CX is crucial to your business’s success because a satisfied customer is more likely to become a loyal customer who can bring you more revenue.
Customers want to feel connected to their favorite brands and expect a personalized experience. It’s not an exaggeration to say that CX has become one of the key competitive differentiators. Businesses now need to develop their own CX strategies to deliver personalized, engaging interactions at every customer touchpoint.
Apart from increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, other benefits of delivering a great CX include word-of-mouth marketing, positive reviews, and recommendations, which attract new customers to your brand.
This is why it’s so important to provide a remarkable experience — customers are the best investment for the sustainable growth of your business.
What is a good customer experience?
When the customer experience is positive, customers feel happy and satisfied after every interaction with the brand. Examples of good customer experiences can be well-targeted marketing campaigns, easy-to-navigate websites, simple registration process, fast delivery, responsive and helpful 24/7 customer support.
More and more customers prefer to use other channels than phone calls to connect with brands, such as social networks or messengers. Businesses, therefore, need to offer multichannel marketing outreach and customer support, which also makes for a great CX.
Basically, the better you realize your customers’ needs, the more accurately you’ll be able to meet their expectations, and the better their experience will be. Customer data plays a crucial role in a company’s ability to provide outstanding CX.
What is a bad customer experience?
A negative customer experience makes the customer feel unhappy, disappointed, or even frustrated. A poor CX can emerge when a business fails to meet the customer expectations in terms of service quality, response time, or overall convenience of interaction.
Negative customer experiences often derive from the customers’ perceptions that you don’t understand their needs or can’t address them properly. For example, such factors as difficult-to-navigate websites, low-quality products, slow customer service, or irrelevant ads can fuel those negative perceptions.
The most common reasons for bad customer experience include:
- Long wait times while contacting customer service
- Support managers or customer care representatives, who can be rude or just do not understand the customer’s needs
- Unresolved issues
- Service with no or little personalization
If replicated, poor customer experience can negatively affect business, such as decreased customer loyalty and higher customer churn. Besides, acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing one.
How to measure customer experience?
Customer experience may seem like something subjective that’s difficult to measure.
However, it’s important to have a measurable CX indicator so that you can monitor how it improves or worsens over time or evaluate how the changes you make affect your customers.
Here are five top metrics you can use to track customer experience:
- Customer Effort Score (CES) is used to measure the ease of service experience with a company. It indicates how difficult or easy it is for your customers to complete an action.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer loyalty score that is measured by asking customers a closed-ended question: “On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product or company to a friend or colleague?”.
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) indicates customers’ satisfaction with the product or service they receive from you. You can either use a numeric or a descriptional scale (e.g., ‘Rate your experience from 1 to 10, or from “Highly negative” to “Highly positive”‘).
- Time To Resolution (TTR) is the average time it takes customer service to resolve an issue or ticket after it’s been opened by a customer.
- Churn rate is the number of customers leaving a company during a given time period. The less churn rate is, the more happy your customers are.
One of the most effective ways to measure CX is to collect feedback. There are plenty of tools you can use — survey forms, in-depth interviews, short in-app polls, phone calls, or suggestions to rate recent purchasing experience.
What is customer experience management?
Managing customer perception is one of the most important and complicated things brands should be doing. Customer experience management (CXM) is the process of streamlining customer interactions with a brand throughout the customer journey. As part of CXM, you analyze all customer touchpoints and determine how you can improve each experience.
Customer experience management is a core component of customer-first strategy because it places utmost importance on customer needs. If you fail to add any additional value to your clients, they may lose interest and turn to another brand. CXM focuses on addressing customers’ needs and providing campaigns and features that prevent potential churn.
What is a customer experience strategy?
A customer experience strategy describes the measures you need to take to deliver a remarkable customer experience and comprises a set of plans, actions, and guidelines. A successful CX strategy helps reduce costs, increase brand value, and allows you to stand out from your competitors.
To devise an efficient strategy, consider the following key factors:
Customer journey maps
Identifying the touchpoints where a customer interacts with a brand is essential to deliver a consistent customer experience. The customer journey map uses storytelling and visuals to provide insight into the total experience of the customer. It helps your team better understand and address customer needs and pain points at every stage of the process.
Convenience and accessibility
A good CX strategy aims at making the purchase and service processes convenient and pleasant for customers. It also requires flexibility to deliver a seamless experience across various channels without losing the context of previous customer interactions.
A CX strategy can only be successful if it delivers a personalized experience to individual customers. A good CX strategy puts the customer at the center and applies customer insights gathered at each touchpoint for smart interactions.
How to improve customer experience?
Today customers expect brands to ensure seamless, effortless, and highly engaging cross-channel interactions. They tend to cling to companies that aim to continuously add value to customers. This is why you need to constantly improve customer experience if you’d like to stay competitive on the market.
Place the customer at the center of your strategy
When company executives demonstrate a customer-first mindset, the rest of the employees are more likely to follow suit. Making customer-centricity a predominant feature of your business model requires regular training and support for the team. Employees on the frontlines interacting with customers can make an especially valuable contribution by sharing their insights and expertise.
Empower employees with data
Ensure that your frontline employees can easily access the customer interaction history and profile details. With that data on hand, they are better equipped to understand the customer’s needs and expectations from the brand and will be able to deliver a seamless and personalized experience.
Improve your customer service
According to Forum Corporation’s research, bad customer service is the main reason for customer churn. Make sure your clients can reach you through multiple communication channels, including calls, email, messengers, live chat, etc. Consider minimizing wait and response times, ensuring 24/7 customer support availability, and offering multilingual support if you operate on international markets.
Collect customer feedback
According to the State of CX survey, customer feedback is the number one driver of successful CX strategies. Creating a process for collecting feedback and turning those insights into actions will help you understand your customer’s needs, create better experiences, as well as attract and retain customers.
Use tech to create exceptional customer experiences
Cutting-edge AI solutions are an extremely powerful tool for many marketing, sales, and retention purposes. For example, conversational AI has proved to be highly effective in scenarios like order processing, 24/7 customer support, omnichannel brand communications, conducting surveys, collecting feedback, and many more. Besides, AI solutions provide a highly personalized approach while being both scalable and affordable.
Providing each customer with a positive experience is essential to your business sustainability and growth because satisfied customers convert to loyal ones and boost revenues. Great CX also enhances customer advocacy, which brings new customers to your business at a low cost. Finally, an exceptional customer experience gives you a strong advantage and differentiates your business from the competitors.