When you begin building your business, you’re most likely inundated with best-practice “strategies.” But how do you know which strategy will work for you?
We’ve found that one strategy can outshine the rest when it comes to driving your critical growth objectives: a customer experience strategy.
Brands of all sizes exist to troubleshoot problems that haven’t arisen yet for customers and look to create an unparalleled user experience. In doing so, they increase their competitive advantage and expand their market share in an increasingly competitive culture.
Let’s dive deeper into how to create a great customer experience and its importance in putting you at the forefront of customer positioning.
What is a Customer Experience Strategy?
Customers are number one, and a customer experience strategy is your brand’s opportunity to make every user experience meaningful and helpful.
Whether it’s through digital means like apps, websites, social media, or your customer support center, your brand’s customer experience strategy is a chance for you to show up for your customers.
And why is it important to show up for your customers?
Because creating customer engagement with them in this way can allow you to dig deeper into their needs and to build a better rapport with them outside of a simple everyday customer service interaction. Doing so allows you to create customer loyalty and satisfaction, two guiding factors in business growth.
Start by considering your relationship with customers. When dealing with difficult customers, are you able to remain calm or do you bite back? Small factors such as these can impact the impact of customer experience.
Creating a Customer Experience Strategy
A customer experience strategy may sound simple in definition, but can be complicated in execution. How does a company detect what a customer’s needs may be in future months and form a strategy that will accommodate that need?
The first step in forming a successful customer experience strategy is to understand that each customer experience strategy must meet certain criteria:
- Mission and vision
- Consumer research
- Marketplace data
- Competitive insight
These key areas will allow your business to build a firm foundation of customer service, troubleshoot issues that arise within the customer care realm, make cutting-edge decisions based on the competition’s business model, and build long-lasting rapport with your customer base.
It’s important to understand how each of these key areas stands alone and how their independence is vital to achieving the happiness of your customers and the success of your business. Consider learning what is customer lifetime value to gain a better understanding of your customer insights.
Understanding Customer Experience
What do you think of when you hear the phrase “customer experience?”
Don’t make the mistake of confusing customer service with customer experience. Customer service is only a facet of customer experience.
For example, your customer’s interaction with your ManyChat bot may be an opportune customer service moment. However, your brand’s customer experience represents all interactions that a consumer has with your company over the duration of their time as a customer. From your email or SMS blasts to your flow sequences, and even phone calls with a sales rep.
Because the customer experiences the company on a wide range of channels, it’s important to involve the entirety of all departments in your customer experience strategy. Your marketing team and accounting team should interact with your customers in a pre-strategized manner.
It’s important to be consistent so that the entire company approaches the customer experience strategy with the same knowledge and goals. When you’re measuring customer satisfaction as a team, try customer journey mapping to lay out everything that is and isn’t working for your business.
Implementing a Customer Experience Strategy
Mission and Vision
Think about and discuss your company’s mission. This is what gives your business a purpose to align your team and your customers.
Write it down and then go over it again and again until you come up with a way to make it a reality. What does your mission with your customers look like? What will set your company apart? Is there anyone facilitating the customer experience that you want your customers to come in contact with? How do you arrive at your customer experience goals with the resources that you currently have? Are the resources you have enough?
Write down key observations and use them as a basis to create a game plan.
Don’t assume that you know what your customers want, have, or think. Digging deep into the data is the only way to truly know what your customer’s experience is in relation to your company.
Conduct a series of surveys or in-person consumer reviews to get to know your niche. You might come to realize you have great customer satisfaction, or that you need to improve customer experience. For example, our customers may be delighted by their experience with your company, but perhaps haven’t had a chance to share it. They have important insights that you need to know to move forward with your company’s vision. Your consumers may have some ideas as to how to innovate and improve the customer experience. You can host surveys on a platform as easy as Google Docs that you can send to everyone on your email list.
Don’t overcomplicate how you get the answers, focus on reading the suggestions and make the appropriate changes.
If you’re in the shag carpet business and tile is the only thing that people want within a 500-mile radius, you may have to reconsider your business plan.
You want a vision that takes into account the market’s demands. You can’t create a successful customer experience strategy if you’re blind to the marketplace data. Having unfavorable customer data doesn’t need to stop you in your tracks as a company, but it does allow you to create a customer experience strategy that takes into account the bumps in the road.
Knowledge will empower you as a company and enrich your customer’s journey.
Assess your competitors and take note of any customer critiques they may have received. It’s common to capitalize on your competition’s weaknesses.
Additionally, knowing what is going well in another company will allow for improvements among your customer insights going forward. What is the other company doing well in its customer experience strategy? Does the other company offer more cutting-edge customer service options? Is the other company more approachable in their language and interactions with customers? How does the competition show their appreciation of its customers?
Put it Into Play
Using your mission as a driving force, as well as the data about your competition and your audience, you can begin to analyze your current landscape and align it with your customer experience strategy.
For example, let’s say you sell upscale hiking gear and you’ve made it your mission to give customers an easy, fun shopping experience. Your primary driver of traffic is social media, so you analyze your pages for areas of opportunity and discover that your audience is mainly rock-climbers in Colorado who tend to have the same frequently asked questions.
One way you can create a positive experience among your customers at your company and drive your mission would be to employ a chatbot that can answer customers’ questions and streamline the customer buying journey. Having a service for customers to live chat can improve customer retention as well as customer satisfaction. In this hypothetical situation, you could use your bot to offer Colorado clients a discount if they’ve ever hiked a Colorado state park, and this might be enough to elevate the customer buying experience — perhaps enough to end in a sale.
Gauging the Success of Your Customer Experience Strategy
How do you know if your newly established customer experience strategy is working? One word: Sales.
Figure out how to build customer loyalty. The intimate relationship between a great customer experience and customer loyalty is undeniable. It turns out that all we want as customers is to be seen, heard, and appreciated. We want to know that our customer feedback matters and that we’re purchasing goods or services from a company that has our best interests in mind. It doesn’t take a degree in social psychology to understand that the experiences that we have in life greatly affect the decisions that we make.
If your strategy is performing well, then you will see a boost in sales and customer retention.
Key Takeaways for Your Customer Experience Strategy
Don’t assume that you know what your clients want or that your company is meeting those customer expectations before you’ve heard them out. Complacency is not a measure of growth for any company.
Get your entire team on board and begin the process of exploring your current customer base. What are you doing well? Where do customers say you’re not meeting their needs? Check out your competition and learn from their victories and mistakes. Customers want a positive experience that is holistic and effortless.
The best strategy for creating a superior customer experience comes from relying on real customer data and not on mutual opinions. Host customer surveys and get to know the community you’re serving. Don’t let your customer experience strategy become stagnant; it needs to ebb and flow during the life of your business. Choose to prioritize your customer experience strategy, since it’ll be the heart of your company’s future.