Customers are always at the heart of any good business. With a customer first mentality businesses can create customer experiences conducive to great results.
The term customer experience is tossed around with reckless abandon, but what does it mean exactly? Let’s define a few parameters before delving deeper into why it’s important:
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Though there are lots of elements to it, ultimately it boils down to the perception of your brand.
Regardless of how your business is presented and intended to be perceived, how your customer actually perceives your business is what’s really important.
The customer experience derives from how customers perceive your business, regardless of whether this is different from how you view your brand.
When it comes to the actual customer experience perception is everything.
You might think you have the best products in the world, ideally translating to a strong customer experience, but what if a customer receives a broken product?
In this scenario the customer perception of your company would drop immediately, which then becomes your new reality.
Managing customer perception is a top priority, where everything a company does will reflect in how customers perceive it.
The customer experience includes the products you sell, the messaging you use, the sales process, what happens after the sale, the interworking of the company, its leadership, the engineering of the product or service and various other internal factors.
Companies are often strong in some areas but weaker in others, which can contribute to a negative customer experience.
Let’s take for example a scenario where companies hire call center employees who are apathetic about services and would rather be anywhere else.
This would almost certainly lead to negative customer interactions, which would in turn create perceptions your brand is lazy and ultimately doesn’t care.
Alternatively hiring passionate staff trained to love the products they’re dealing with will ensure customers have a positive experience and perceive your brand in a positive light.
Other things which contribute to customer perception include your website’s ease of use, product quality, store cleanliness etc.
By taking the time to ensure every step of the customer journey is strong, customers are more likely to spread the good word among friends and family.
Establishing loyal customers is a huge initiative in business, and this can be secured when you create great perceptions across the board.
Customer perception is fragile and volatile to change with each interaction, meaning it’s necessary to maintain a positive customer experience.
Customer perception is arguably the most valuable company asset, so it’s essential for everyone within an organization to manage that perception to the best of their ability.
Establishing a customer experience 101 goes a long way to helping you meet advancing customer expectations.
Why is Customer Experience So Important?
Customer experience is critically important for sustainable business growth.
A positive customer experience will help you build brand loyalty and affinity, evangelize your product or service and generate useful friend referrals.
By receiving positive customer reviews companies are rewarded with new customers, alongside retaining existing ones to generate more revenue.
Though the customer has always mattered they matter even more in 2019.
Customers have slowly gained more power with the assistance of the World Wide Web.
Customers have more options than ever before, with the luxury of choosing from many competitors.
Also it’s easier than ever to switch subscription packages and to influence opinions through social media.
The customer may have always been right, but now their well-being is prioritized more than ever before.
Customers being valued more than ever is a positive industry change, one which benefits everyone involved.
In today’s social media driven society, customers are the best resource for spreading positive brand awareness.
The recommendations they share with family and friends are more valuable than traditional marketing channels.
Hark back to the last time you had a terrible customer experience. What did you do? Did you tell a friend or coworker, or possibly share what happened on social media?
Companies should take this personally, obsessing over why people feel the way they do.
By placing emphasis on why customers feel the way they do, you can improve your business operations to secure a more positive customer experience.
Measuring Customer Experience
Customer experience can be measured using the following variables:
Evaluate Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction surveys are a fantastic method for gaining an unfiltered, unbiased overview of what your customers really think about the products/services you’re offering.
Regular engagement with surveys along the customer journey will highlight their true feelings.
You can use this feedback to better cater to customer needs.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) can be used to measure the likelihood customers will promote your business to family, friends and colleagues based on the experience provided.
It’s important to consider aggregate data across teams because multiple parties impact the customer experience.
You’ll need to paint a clear picture of performance from various data points. NPS has practical implications in the modern business world, but has limitations too.
When looking at what your customers really think of you, poor customer experiences should be treated with the respect they deserve.
It’s easy to be defensive and assume an individual customer experience isn’t representative of the bigger picture, but always take comments personally and be open to changes.
Ensure your team is meeting standards across the board with a deep dive into team performance.
Follow up on customer feedback, connecting with your customers to strengthen relationships and ultimately improve customer loyalty.
Churn is an inevitability, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it.
Regularly analyze churned customers to determine why customers are taking their business elsewhere.
By looking at why customers churned you can take action to prevent other customers from walking out the door.
Get Customers to Contribute Ideas
Create a forum for your customers to request new products or features.
I’m sure your clientele will have some great ideas to offer, perhaps even some you haven’t thought of!
You can then utilize these ideas to make your offerings more useful, while addressing relevant problems your products should solve.
Whether your forum is on social media, is an email survey or on a community forum, you should always give customers the opportunity to proactively offer suggestions.
You won’t have to implement all of these, but when recurring trends crop up you’ll know it’s worth doing some digging to establish whether investment in R&D is worthwhile.
Your business should promote a positive experience, one which creates high expectations among consumers.
To meet these expectations you must observe your customer along the journey to truly decipher what will make their experience incredible.
We live in an era where customer expectations are rising quicker than improvements to the customer experience. This underlines the importance of establishing customer loyalty.
Though easier said than done making an effort to understand your customers goes a long way.
Deliver an experience which reflects everything your brand represents and you’ll be onto a winner!