Today’s marketplace is dynamic, fast paced, and saturated with competition. No matter how great your product, it is still essential to differentiate yourself from your competitors by creating a customer experience (CX) that exceeds clients’ expectations. CX covers much more than traditional customer service. This concept examines all points of contact that a customer has with your brand while also tapping into their emotions in the process. A well designed CX strategy will increase customer loyalty, not only retaining satisfied customers, but also increasing potential customers through word of mouth and referrals. Go beyond customer service with these five steps to help you develop an effective CX strategy.
Research You Customer— Knowledge is power. In the case of CX, your strategy will be dependent on understanding your customer base. Gather that knowledge through a series of research techniques, such as interviews and surveys, so that you can design a CX strategy that is appropriately targeted. The more specific and automated your tools, the easier your job will be. Survey software that lets target specifics about their experience or about products purchased can give you more actionable data for developing your plan. Analyze purchase patterns, online traffic, and customer behavior to get the most complete picture of your customer base.
Analyze Core Values— Developing a good CX strategy requires you to fully situate yourself in the market. To do this, make sure you have fully developed and articulated your company’s mission and values. These core values will help direct the path of your company’s growth. This is a perfect opportunity to see if your current organizational structure aligns with your mission and values.
Some questions to ask when you’re establishing values are:
· What is important to the company?
· What are the things you do well as a brand? How do you do it?
· What tools do you use to help make decisions?
· Are you willing to hire and fire based on these values?
There are no “right” answers to these questions. Focus on what works best for your company and make sure you are prepared to stick to them as a brand.
Map The Customer Journey— Any time a customer encounters your product they are engaging in the “customer journey.” A comprehensive journey map will consider the total sum of all experiences a client has with your brand. Mapping helps determine where there are gaps between the customer’s actual vs desired experience. In general, a customer wants their journey to be smooth, ordered, and connected. Mapping out this journey will show you which areas need attention for an optimized CX strategy. To quantitatively map this path, include all the points at which the customer interacts with your business then determine the relationship developed with the customer both at each point and over the long term. Don’t forget to include post purchase interactions and relationships in this map.
Measure Your Strategy— Once you’ve mapped the customer journey it’s time to measure your CX strategy. First, establish which metrics you would like to utilize. There are hundreds from which to choose, so think about what is most important to your company profile during this process. Here are a few popular examples to get you started.
· How likely is the customer to recommend your brand?
· How satisfied was the customer with the product or service?
· How long does it take a customer to execute tasks within your company?
Determine your metrics and then build them into a CX measurement scorecard. Software tools can help you measure and track these metrics with surveys and reports. Look for tools that can provide comprehensive reports for the most significant analysis and actionable insights.
Know Your Competitors— Understanding your CX is a great start, but you won’t really have the full picture until you know what your competitors offer. It’s likely that your competition is already embracing CX, as 89% of companies expect to compete mostly based on customer experience. Do a little investigative leg work and become a customer of your competition. How does the marketing, research, and advertising emotionally connect with the client? Reflect on their CX strategy to see how to improve yours.
A good CX strategy should be always evolving. Do research regularly and be flexible with your company. As your customers’ wants and desires change, so will your brand. Be prepared to stay ahead of the trends with ongoing analysis and evaluation.
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