Customer experience is the sum of all the interactions customers have with your company. It’s how they feel when they open an email marketing piece, talk with your customer service team, purchase a product, or what they do on your landing pages. It is what sets you apart from the competition. Provide a great customer experience and people will promote your brand for free.
“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” Walt Disney
The meeting point between product and user is the customer touch point. A brand channel is a planned place of interaction with customers whereas a customer touch point is outside your direct control. An example of a customer touch point is a review discovered online.
How to create a great customer experience?
1. Know your customers
Investigate why, when and where users interact with your product. Use Big Data sources from operations and finance to understand what matters most to your customers. Find out when their needs are met, what you did well and what you can improve.
2. Be customer-centric
When designing the customer experience, start with your client, with the value you can bring to his life, not the other way around, with creating a customer experience for a product that you already have.
3. Create a Customer Journey
Transform the customer touch points into a customer journey. Many companies focus on delivering value at the point of sale, creating positive boarding experiences, billing systems, etc, but if all these efforts are not integrated into a coherent end-to-end narrative, the overall customer experience suffers. A recent McKinsey study shows that 61% of the clients that stayed in hotels where there was a focus on building value at each step of the customer journey are more likely to share the experience and recommend it.
How to create a customer journey?
Firstly, you need a customer journey strategy and a vision or a common purpose that will guide the company all the way to implementation. It aligns customer needs with business values. The idea that the entire organization will focus on delivering value for the client creates unity, a collaborative environment, happier clients, and increased brand value.
Secondly, you have to prioritize the most important customer journeys, then focus on improving the steps that make the journey. Many companies use behavioral psychology to understand and manage customer expectations. The results can materialize in, for example, customized interactions or virtual waiting rooms that inform users about their progress and make them feel in control and being taken care of.
4. Map your customer journey
To create a satisfactory customer journey, you need to apply principles and tools from UX/ user experience. When you follow up on individual transactions, customers may give you positive feedback but if you ask them about the overall experience with the brand, they may report a negative experience. The customer journey map gives you a holistic view of all customer interactions over time, across all channels and allows you to see your points of development.
5. Digitize your customer journey
A recent study shows that 25% of customers won’t purchase again, after one bad experience. Use Agile principles to implement digital solutions, and you’ll outperform your competition. A team of specialists design and test customer experience solutions in a series of iterations until they reach the one that best serves your customers. Change your way of working by adapting to the digital culture and you’ll be way ahead of the competition.
NPS, the net promoter score, measures how likely your customers are to recommend your product. The problem is that NPS is calculated with data obtained by asking customers if they liked the product or not. With this type of data, it is not possible to evaluate preferences and interactions. Additional data is needed. A type of valuable data is your churn rate, the number of customers that stopped using your product. CLV, the customer lifetime value, measures the total value created by a customer for a company. This metric helps you understand how and why high-value customers choose to invest in your company. Other ways to measure customer experience are online surveys, referrals, reviews, feedback forms, targeted studies, observational studies etc.
Listen to what your customers are saying, observe the way they interact with your company and let them be part of the brand building process. A well-implemented customer experience strategy brings customers closer to your brand and determines an increase in referrals and sales opportunities.