Have you ever changed your broadband or telecom service provider because of the lousy services they offered?
Have you avoided a spa or restaurant that was poorly managed and had unprofessional staff?
The answer to both these questions is most likely – Yes! According to Microsoft, “90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company.” A study by PWC states: “86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.”
So, what exactly defines a great customer experience and what is the determining factor behind every repeat purchase?
Table of Contents
Understanding Customer Experience
Customer experience is defined as cognitive, affective, sensory, and behavioral consumer responses during all stages of the consumption process, including the pre-purchase, consumption, and post-purchase stages.
Customer experience is the customer’s observation, and thus perception, of the brand throughout the customer’s journey. There is a common misconception that customer experience is only about the period between which a customer enters a physical store or a website to the time they check out. It is a holistic experience a customer has with a brand that shapes their overall unique impression. It begins with exposure to ads, moving to the customer’s experience during brand and product inquiry, then the experience at the store or the website. Included in this can be the functionality of the website, décor, and ambiance of the store, sales staff, check-out experience, post-transaction experience with the brand, and customer service.
Important Aspects on Customer Experience
- Product and Packaging – The hero of the show is always the product or the service offered by the brand. If the product fails to satisfy customers or match the customer’s expectations, you are already failing to create a good customer experience. Branding and packaging also play an important role in sending the right message and setting expectations right.
- Customer Touchpoint – Customer touchpoints include all communications channels, such as ads, newsletters, emailers, and other messages. These touchpoints form a crucial component of the overall customer experience with the brand.
- Mediums – The mediums a brand chooses to communicate with its audience also play a very important role in determining customer experience. It could be online channels like social media, emails, or even offline marketing channels. Factors like convenience, reach, and accessibility are common aspects of checking how usable your medium choice is; the ability of the brand to send the right message, at the right time, through the right medium collectively influences the customer experience.
Now that you understand what customer experience is, let’s investigate its benefits and important tips in improving customer experience.
What Makes it Important?
- Aids Customer Retention – Customer retention is key to a successful business. It is easier and much more cost-efficient to retain customers than to acquire new ones, and improving customer experience significantly helps in reducing the churn rate.
- Improves Customer Engagement – A customer that has a positive experience is more open to receiving communication from the brand. Enhanced customer experience is the cornerstone of improving customer engagement.
- Increases Brand Loyalty – Loyal customers are an asset to any company. However, building a loyal customer base requires years of effort from the brand, and this is also where customer experience plays a crucial part. If your customers have a good experience with you, they will build a positive association with the brand. This positive association will further help in strengthening brand loyalty. For an optimal loyalty program, you will need a dynamic platform and loyalty solutions that are designed specifically for your business. For more details, connect with Annex Cloud.
- Boosts Brand Advocacy – Improving customer experience will also help in increasing brand advocacy. Customers satisfied with the brand and become brand loyalists are likely to recommend the brand to their network of friends and family, who can eventually become strong advocates of the brand.
- Better ROI – A loyal customer contributes 2.6 times more revenue than an average customer, and 14 times as much revenue as a somewhat dissatisfied customer. According to Salesforce Research, “89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience.” This makes customer experience an important criterion to boost ROI.
Difference Between Customer Experience and Customer Service
Although customer service is an integral part of customer experience, they are not the same. Customer service is about assisting customers with their queries and grievances; it works towards bettering the overall customer experience. Customer service is receptive, whereas customer experience is a proactive strategy that aims at creating the perfect habitat to ensure complete customer satisfaction.
Tips to Better Customer Experience
According to an internal survey conducted by Bain & Company, the company believed that they provided a top-of-the-line customer experience: 80% of the employees reported they are delivering a superior experience, whereas only 8% of customers said they are receiving a great customer experience. Customer experience is obviously subjective. As the example above proves, you as a brand may think you are doing exceptionally well at delivering good customer service. Still, the facts and figures might show a different story.
Here we share some important tips that will help in improving customer experience considerably:
- Know Your Audience – Any marketing strategy, no matter how effective it looks on paper, won’t work unless it’s designed to suit and appeal to your individual audience. To create a better customer experience, you must first know your patrons, gauge their preferences, and understand the needs and expectations they have for your product and service.
- Analyzing Customer Feedback – One of the simplest yet highly efficient ways to improve customer experience is listening to your customers and clients. Through the means of online reviews, social media posting, or surveys that you might have conducted, you can assess your customer satisfaction level and improve on the flaws that your customers have consistently pointed out.
- Mapping the Customer’s Journey – By analyzing customer’s purchase patterns and the messages they are most likely receptive towards, you can make strides towards improving customer experience. Delivering proactive service at customer touchpoints, along with consistent and top-of-line service, is key!
- Consistent Customer Engagement – Engaging customers regularly on their preferred medium helps create positive brand associations and enhance the overall customer experience.
- Measure the Campaign’s Reach – It is imperative to evaluate your campaign’s reach and understand its impact on your audience. This will give you insights into what works for your audiences, what motivates them, and what simply does nothing.