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Customer Experience Strategies: Importance, Top strategies, and Examples

Customer Experience Strategies: Importance, Top strategies, and Examples
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  • Customer Experience Strategies: Importance, Top strategies, and Examples

Providing the best possible customer experience has become essential for any business that wants to stay ahead of the competition and keep customers coming back for more.

American Express found that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. A study published by the Temkin Group found that companies earning $1 billion annually can, on average, expect to increase their earnings by an extra $700 million within 3 years if they invest in customer experience.

These statistics only go to show the value of investing in customer experience. However, knowing how awesome a customer experience can be and actually doing something about it are two different things. To be able to deliver the best CX or improve on what you already do, you need to have some strategies in place.

This guide will outline examples of customer experience strategies and best practices that will improve customer experience throughout the entire customer journey. From the point of first contact right through to becoming a loyal and happy customer, these strategies will help you achieve your business goals.

Customer Experience Strategies

Photo by Cova Software on Unsplash

Defining Customer Experience

Customer experience, or CX as it has become known refers to interactions and experiences customers have with a business. It’s a term that encompasses the entire customer journey, from that first point of contact to ultimately becoming a loyal customer. Think of it as everything related to a business that affects a customer’s perception and feelings about it.

CX plays a vital role in Customer Engagement Plan and the main reason for its importance is that a customer who enjoys a positive experience with a company is much more likely to return.

But what about a CX strategy? It’s a way of improving the overall customer experience. The strategy is an outline of the methods you plan to use to capture and ultimately keep customers and achieve business goals.

There is a wide range of options. For example, you might decide that better connections with customers are something you need to improve. That might require the introduction of a live webchat or maybe an auto-receptionist. Another angle could be to broaden activities on social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram.

We’ll be looking a little closer at some more CX strategies. However, we should point out that you must try to have some kind of direction and not fall into the trap of focusing on too many things at the same time. The strategies we’ll outline are meant for inspiration. In no way are you expected to adopt them all.

What are the 3 Main Components of Customer Experience?

According to Temkin (a leading customer experience research and consulting firm), the three main components of customer experience are as follows:

  • Success: How successful did the customer think the interaction was? How easy was it for them to accomplish what they wanted to do?
  • Effort: Did the customer have to personally put a lot of effort into the interaction? Did the customer find it easy to interact with the company?
  • Emotion: What was the emotional outcome? How did the customer feel during the interaction?

How a customer feels when interacting with a company website or web app is one of the biggest deciding factors in whether they continue to do business with you. At any point during the customer journey, a company could do something that has a negative impact on the customer and leave them with a nasty taste in their mouth.

Why is Customer Experience More Important Than Ever?

The modern business world is hugely competitive which means businesses have to do everything they can to uplift their brand to the next level, become an example for other companies in the market, and engage with customers more than ever before.

Here are some reasons why you should try to deliver the best customer experience ever:

  • Increase customer retention
  • Boosts CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value)
  • Builds brand loyalty
  • Impacts brand reputation
  • Gives a company a competitive advantage

When Bain and Company asked organizations to rate their own customer experience quality, 80% believed they were delivering a superior experience. Whereas, less than 10% of customers believe they receive a great customer experience.

These stats only go to highlight the fact that whatever your business model, it will benefit from customer experience improvements. For example, a subscription business will be able to reduce churn and increase retention. An eCommerce business will be able to reduce returns and increase repeat customs. Services can also benefit by reducing complaints and getting more recommendations.

Putting the customer first is always going to be good for business.

Top Strategies to Implement When Creating Your CX Strategy

So, how can you go about improving the customer experience? Here are some ways you can improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn, and ultimately include revenue.

Create Feedback Loops

Customer feedback is a valuable tool when it comes to gaining insight into what customers expect. Continual feedback also helps you keep abreast of any changes because as we all know, customers’ expectations can change over time along with industry changes. Feedback can also help you identify any sticking points and clarify what is working well.

However, what is key is acknowledging the feedback and being seen to act on it whenever possible. Such a feedback loop is important because it builds trust rather than just paying lip service.

An internal feedback loop is equally important. Agents can be very valuable in collecting customer feedback. They can also provide insight into issues that are making the delivery of a great service difficult. Examples of things that might not be working include processes or policies that don’t match customer needs or friction that’s developing between siloed teams and slowing down the resolution of customer issues.

For example, following on from live web chat you could send a follow-up email to the customer along with a post-interaction survey and other similar customer experience tools to capture customer feedback in real-time. In this case, you would need еncrypted еmail services for better email security. Making outbound sales calls to customers is another way of gathering insightful feedback.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Build an Omnichannel Experience

An omnichannel experience is a way of working that provides crucial insights into customer interactions, including their behavior, across the whole life cycle. There are lots of elements that can be combined in this strategy including multiple sales channels, an omnichannel contact center (which includes a virtual phone system, live chat, knowledge base software, help desk ticketing, email, SMS, and social media channels), and marketing.

What does omnichannel mean? It means taking customer support one step further and providing customers with a consistent communications journey.

Lead management software can track Information about who your customer is, whether they’ve opened any outbound emails and what they were. What happens to be sitting in their personal shopping cart, or the topic of previous conversations, all the information travels with them regardless of the channel.

An omnichannel communication strategy can improve the customer journey in the following ways:

  • It empowers the customer to connect via their preferred channel because it facilitates a smooth transition.
  • You’re able to better understand the customer journey, collect insights, and do what is necessary to improve your business.
  • Customer interactions are streamlined in one platform which improves team productivity and the customer experience.

Create a CRM (Content Management Strategy)

While customers like to be able to access a real person they also appreciate being given the opportunity to solve their own issues. You can make this possible using data-driven content.

Generally, it would be chatbots or help articles that are used to point customers in the correct direction. To facilitate this kind of strategy, you need to ensure that any content available is up-to-date and accurate. If a customer accesses articles that are unhelpful or inaccurate, this translates into a bad customer experience.

Strive for Personalization

91% of Millenials and Gen Z consumers feel very willing to offer their personal info to a company if they believe doing so will make the experience better. The information that they’re willing to share can include many different things such as their preferred method of contact, product recommendations based on search history or recent purchases, or personalized online experiences.

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

When you gather information about your customers, who they are, their habits, personalities, and preferences, agents are better able to target support. In turn, this leads to an improvement in the resolution rate.

One way of figuring out how you can make interactions more personalized is to conduct UX research.

Use AI to Empower Customers

Gartner has predicted that by 2022, 72% of customer interactions will involve an emerging technology. These technologies include chatbots, mobile messaging, and machine-learning applications.

Chatbots can help speed up response times, answer up to most of the FAQs, and lower customer support costs.

Virtual customer assistants and AI-powered chatbots can be very useful for quick and repetitive tasks. They are also a good way to meet customer requests in real time and reduce customer frustrations of waiting in a long queue. However, at present, human support needs to be available because these technologies do have a limited capacity.

Be Proactive Rather Than Reactive

If you want your business to stand out you have to be more than just reactive. It’s possible to create a unique experience when you’re able to anticipate the needs of your customers and get ahead of any problem before it gets worse or actually happens.

Being proactive is all about getting ahead of any identifiable issues, breakdowns, or technical issues and letting customers know that you’re aware of the problem and what you’re doing to fix it.

For example, an eCommerce company could include a chatbot on the checkout page so that customers’ questions can be answered before they abandon their cart. Equally, a website offering 3D design files can feature different 3D printers and CNC machines so customers can start planning how to materialize these designs.

Customer-Centric Training for Customer-Facing Teams

The first people in your business that customers interact with are the customer-facing teams. These are the employees that make the biggest first impression on your business or brand.

Ideally, you need to have a defined standard for all customer interactions along with processes in place to help employees maintain that standard.

You can help sales, marketing, and support teams by providing regular training videos and creating procedures that improve your team’s efficiency and productivity.

Areas to focus on should include:

  • Product knowledge: intensive product training is a great way to motivate customer support teams. It also helps your business by helping to build confidence in dealing with customer queries and complaints.
  • Soft skills: Effective communication skills have a vital part to play in the customer journey. Helping your customer support team to improve their patience and empathy helps build strong customer relationships and promote your brand.

Delivery of Superior Customer Service

Rather than being company-focused, aim for a customer-focused service instead. To do this you’ll have to elevate every customer interaction. Digital customer engagement tools can be very helpful to achieve seamless onboarding, making conversations interactive, and improving the customer experience.

There are lots of benefits to providing better-than-average customer service. For example, happy customers are more likely to recommend your company to others and create positive word of mouth.

Providing real-time support is an excellent way of adopting a customer engagement strategy. Other ways of improving customer experience management with the help of digital tools include:

  • Engaging with customers using live chat and then responding to their queries. When you connect with customers immediately it reduces the number of issues and improves resolution times.
  • Co-browsing is a way of dealing with more complex issues as it allows you to collaborate in real time. Such an approach reduces the number of touchpoints thereby improving FRT or First Contact Resolution.
  • Video chat solutions allow you to personalize communications. The result is the speedy identification of complex technical issues and more effective solutions.

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Photo by Firmbee.com on Unsplash

Take Advantage of Customer Proof

Social proof can take many forms such as customer testimonials, reviews, case studies, star ratings, celebrity endorsements, and many more. The concept behind all of them is that when a customer sees how much others have enjoyed a product or service they’re more likely to make a positive decision about your brand.

Nowadays, we trust online reviews just as much as a recommendation from family or friends, and we are accustomed to checking reviews online before making a purchase.

Check Your Brand Message is Clear

When your brand message is unclear, potential customers get confused and go elsewhere. To make sure your brand message is accurate and clear, you first have to know your target audience and make your messages appropriate. Here are a few tips that might help:

  • Communicate clearly what your company sells.
  • Ensure the value proposition conveys what you sell or do and how it will positively affect their lives.
  • Your brand messaging’s primary focus should be your brand’s value and purpose. However, you should be mindful to do it in such a way that it focuses on customer pain points or needs.

Customer Engagement Should be Across the Life Cycle

If you want to increase sales and enhance customer experience you should be focusing on engaging customers across the six main stages of the customer life cycle.

These stages are:

  • Awareness: This is when a customer first becomes aware of your service, product, or brand. For instance, your website’s interactivity and responsiveness.
  • Engagement: This is when customers consider what others are saying about your brand and your response to complaints or service requests.
  • Evaluation: Before coming to a decision, a potential customer will do their research and compare. At this stage, you could offer digital self-service options to help the customer evaluate your products.
  • Purchase: The customer has made their decision and is ready to make a purchase. This is a critical stage for customer support.
  • Product experience: You can ensure a good experience by providing stellar support as there are plenty of tools like Pendo, known for their efficiency.
  • Advocacy: This is the final stage of the life cycle and when you continue to provide support and help to convert customers into brand advocates.

Your Company Success Depends on Your Customers

If your customers are happy it means your business is more likely to be successful. A good way of strengthening customer relationships is to make them feel a part of your community or include them in social events.

You will make your customers feel valued if you include them in your team and acknowledge the part they play in your success.

You can acknowledge positive contributions to your company’s growth in many ways, including:

Utilize Customer Analytics

Thanks to AI and big data, businesses now have access to customer analytics. The collected data enables a business to measure customer behavior, demographics, and other critical customer service metrics in real time. This information can provide insights for weekly team meetings, and encourage your team to make data-backed decisions.

Quick Overview on customer Experience Strategies

Now you appreciate the value of improved customer experience and how it directly impacts a business’s topline performance. If you’ve got the right customer experience strategy in place, it will help improve CX and make your business more customer-centric.

Creating a customer experience strategy isn’t going to be easy. It requires a certain amount of ingenuity, an analytical mind, and deep empathy for your customer at every stage of their journey. However, the effort you put into developing and implementing your strategy will provide an important safety net for your business, in a way that price and product will never be able to match.

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