Most businesses know that their customers are their biggest priority. Without customers, you don’t have any revenue, which means the business has no point and cannot continue. Accordingly, they design the business around their customers, attempting to give them the best products for the best price—and give them good customer service to match.Unfortunately, this isn’t enough. If you want to stand out from the competition and keep your customers indefinitely, you’ll need a solid customer experience strategy to do it.
What Is Customer Experience (CX)?
It is the perception of your brand held by your customers, accumulated from all their points of exposure to it. This includes their first impressions upon seeing your brand, the experiences they have buying from you, experiences with customer service, and how they interact with you on social media. It’s the sum total of their interactions with your brand, so it’s not limited to just one department.
Why Is Customer Experience So Important?
These experiences are a big deal for a few big reasons:
Customer experience defines customer loyalty.
As you’re no doubt aware, customer loyalty and customer retention are critical for your long-term success. If you offer your customers a better experience, they’ll be much more likely to continue buying from you in the future, and less likely to turn to a competitor. On the flip side, if you neglect your customer, it could drive your customers to take their business elsewhere.
Customer experience is cross-departmental.
Additionally, it is a cross-departmental strategy that involves many areas of your business’s development. It’s not exclusively relegated to customer service, sales, marketing, or any other individual department. With an experience strategy in place, you can boost performance in these individual areas simultaneously, and make your business more comprehensively unified.
Customer experience is often neglected.
Finally, consider the fact that customer experience is often neglected by business owners. Offering a better experience differentiates you from other brands on the market, and could be highly strategically valuable.
Customer Experience As Your Top Priority
Should customer experience really be your top priority? There’s room for debate here. Obviously, other elements of your business are vital to its survival; for example, cash flow management is essential to ensure your business has enough money to pay bills and remain thriving. If you favor experience over cash flow, there’s a chance your business won’t survive.
In these terms, there can be no such thing as a “top” business priority, since there are many essential items you’ll need to address to keep your business alive. That said, customer experience should be one of your primary strategic focal points.
How to Improve Customer Experience
What steps can you take to improve your overall customer experience?
Treat customer experience as an overarching strategy.
First, make sure you treat your plan as an overarching strategy; this isn’t just a new way to think about customer service. Orchestrate multiple departments together to ensure your customer experience strategy manifests throughout your customers’ journeys.
Take better measurements.
One of the first steps you’ll need to take to improve your customer experience is to take better measurements. You need to understand what your customers are feeling at every step of their journey, so you can pinpoint key areas to improve—and see how your results change in the future.
Keep your brand standards consistent.
What are your brand values? What should people feel when interacting with you? You probably have these brand standards defined already, but are you offering them at every point of customer interaction? Are all your employees trained to provide them?
Improve your human customer interactions.
Ensure every person on your customer service and sales teams are trained to provide the best possible human interactions with your customers. Routinely monitor, study, and improve those interactions.
Ensure customers have positive solitary journeys.
It’s also important to ensure your customers have positive solitary journeys with your brand; for example, can they find self-service help, or easily find what they’re looking for on your site?
Offer more touchpoints.
Use a combination of marketing and outreach strategies to offer more touchpoints to your customers. Keep your brand top-of-mind with them, and keep the customer experience flowing seamlessly.
Finally, commit to constant improvement. Don’t rest on your laurels because you had a good quarter; keep experimenting, tweaking, and refining your approach to get even better results.
If you make experience your top priority, and follow the steps above, you can greatly improve your business’s performance. You’ll stand to win (and keep) more customers, and your business will be much more likely to grow.