Customer experience is the collection of interactions a customer has with your brand and business throughout all phases of engagement — from awareness to customer to brand advocate.
Every touchpoint is an experience that should be managed. From marketing messages and product packaging to service reviews and live staff interactions — customer experience requires a strategy. That strategy will allow you to achieve higher satisfaction, reduce customer turnover and importantly, accelerate top line growth.
With so few opportunities to get it right with your customer, alongside growth as a business goal, it’s simply vital that you spend effort to review, and improve, your customer’s experience.
Your ultimate goal is to build a community of satisfied, loyal customers. In order to do so, you need to make ‘being your customer’ as easy and satisfactory as possible. A good way to determine if you are doing so is to regularly audit your customer’s journey — both the ideal state (the one you want to happen) as well as the reality (the one they actually experience).
Start by auditing and documenting the ideal experience — step by step — across every phase of the customer journey.
Your business and the experience it offers will be distinct from every other business. Let’s be clear — there is no single perfect experience. But you can absolutely ensure that you are optimizing each interaction and touchpoint to delight your prospects and customers, alike.
To build the best experience, be sure to consider your target customers — what they want and expect from your brand, products and services. Include factors that support your offer — price point, convenience, reputation and technology. Finally, be aware of your competition and the experience they offer, particularly how it differs or where they outdeliver.
Your documented ‘ideal’ experience should be specific and detailed across every potential touchpoint. It should include reference to your brand values plus other unique business hallmarks which will help make every interaction positive, pleasant and memorable.
Next, you need to collect and analyze all points of actual feedback — customer surveys, customer service team feedback, staff inputs plus customer testimonials, complaints and reviews.
When analyzing your data, it is important to find points of commonality in the results from various sources, helping to clearly identify where you beat, or fall below, expectations — both are important!
At this stage, you’ll want to measure how the reality of the experience compares to the ideal customer experience you’ve mapped out. Identify and prioritize the gaps between the two and you now have a clear road map to address all customer touchpoints requiring attention.
Your specific approach plan will depend on your findings. Remember, you don’t need to take on the entire customer journey at one time. Start with one touchpoint and move to the next based on the prioritization you’ve established. The process should be one of continual improvement, correcting the gaps whilst keeping in touch with evolving consumer and business demands.
As you work through this process, it’s vital to communicate the importance of the customer experience to your staff. If you don’t actively share the ideal customer experiences with your team, they’ll be hard pressed to deliver upon them. They may have questions, additional inputs or even require training to deliver the hallmarks that encompass the company’s documented strategy.
Once you’ve begun this process, you’ll want to continue capturing real time customer feedback at multiple touch points throughout the decision, purchase and follow on process. You want to ensure the changes made are having the intended effect.
Be sure to adopt simple and measurable key performance metrics (KPIs) that you and your staff can collect and review regularly to address any items needing more attention, refinement or additional staff training, all in real time.
An exceptional customer experience strategy will have a huge impact on your brand and your business, setting you apart in a crowded market. It can also have a substantial positive effect on your top line!
Customer experience better be at the top of your list when it comes to priorities in your organization. Customer experience is the new marketing.
- Steve Cannon
Lovely People can help you analyze and refine an optimal customer experience for your business. Let’s talk.