How Can You Excel at Customer Experience in the Digital Age?
Take a minute to recall your most vivid memory.
Is it a happy one — when you met your partner, got a career-changing job or celebrated a life event with family and friends? Or is it terrifying — that time you encountered a bear while hiking or a close friend became ill?
Which one evoked a stronger emotion within you?
Research shows that people will remember negative events more vividly than positive ones. Even if the negative event had a happy or resolved ending, it still stays strongly ingrained in your memory.
Customer experience is no different. Customer experience is often black or white. When it’s good, it can garner you customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth advertising. When it’s bad, it can destroy retention and tarnish customers’ perception of your brand.
Understanding the customer experience definition in the age of digital
According to most marketers, the customer experience definition can be understood as the customer’s perception of a brand based on the sum of their interactions with it.
As a growing portion of customer experience occurs on digital platforms, reformatting the customer journey is critical. Digital opens many new channels for consumers to access your brand, initiate communication, and form opinions.
If you don’t address each of these points in the customer journey, it will be difficult to ensure a seamless experience.
Customer impressions form over time — and can change in a second
Customers’ perception of your brand forms over time and is subject to change at any moment of the customer journey — when they’re viewing your website, making a purchase, seeking support, or interacting with an employee.
Any point of friction, difficulty navigating your site, or unhelpful customer support can be enough to drive your customers away.
Every single employee in your organization is responsible for leaving a positive impression on a customer, even if they do not sit in a strictly customer-facing role.
Positive CX is a key competitive differentiator
Customer experience is more than a buzzword. According to the 2017 Gartner Customer Experience in Marketing survey, over 60% of marketers say that customer experience is an important factor to leverage against competitors.
Given how easy it is for customers to drop you for a competitor, it is increasingly important for them to have a good experience from the get-go. Ensuring satisfaction starts with understanding the definition of customer experience.
In the end, a customer is in full control of their own perception of your brand. But, there are a few things you can do company-wide that will help lead to an overall positive (or even amazing) customer experience.
Creating a superior customer experience definition for your organization
Customer experience management (CEM) is a standard process for companies to organize, understand and influence customer experiences. It helps organizations bring the actual customer experience closer to the ideal company customer experience vision.
It’s also a diversifying factor for companies that find themselves among competitors who offer similar products or services.
When designing your CEM strategy, keep in mind the following:
1. Two-way communication is key
Customers reach your brand from many different angles. Make sure you are ready to respond and engage from wherever they reach you.
Surveys and forums or community sites are a simple way to initiate meaningful conversations. Chatbots or live customer service representatives who are equipped with the right training and support tools are a powerful way to respond when customer reach out.
2. A robust product is the first line of defense
Nobody enjoys using a product that fails to keep its promise or breaks. Having a highly functional product or service offering is one of the most powerful ways to drive positive customer experience.
According to findings from PwC, 52% of consumers would switch from one brand they like to another for better product quality.
3. Make ease of use and access core pillars of your CX strategy
A high-quality product is one thing, but you also need to ensure consumers can easily reach this product. A customer journey that is full of hurdles and friction is unlikely to result in a positive impression, or a sale, for that matter.
According to PwC, customers place great vlaue on efficiency and convenience when doing business. Providing digital solutions that provide on-screen guidance and navigational support when consumers are browsing your site is an effective way to ensure each of these factors are covered.
4. Your customers are individuals with unique emotions
Employ a micro-lens when approaching your customer experience strategy. Developing generic personas and making decisions based off of them is no longer the most effective way to understand your customers. Customers are much more complex, each with their own intentions, goals, and needs.
5. Always have an action plan
With every interaction a customer has with your brand, you have the opportunity to gather more insights about their experience. Whether it was positive or negative, make sure you always have a plan to follow up with the customer in a prudent way. Then, see if you need to modify your larger customer experience management strategy accordingly.
Simple ways to do this at a higher level include measuring survey results or feedback, analyzing customer churn, and evaluating trends with support tickets.
Clarify your customer experience definition and build from there
Every customer experience is unique. Understanding the customer experience definition and knowing how to promote a positive perception across the complete customer journey can give your company a major competitive advantage. In the end, it will encourage long-term and loyal customers whose memories of your brand are overwhelmingly positive.