Developing a Customer Experience Strategy
A positive customer experience is the Holy Grail of all companies striving to connect with their intended audience and build loyalty. In fact, the 2016 Digital Marketing Trends Report polled companies on the single most exciting opportunity for their organization this year -- "customer experience" emerged as the top answer for the third year in a row. This ranked higher than even content marketing, mobile, and social!
Positive Experiences Breed Loyalty
Known as CX for short, customer experience involves interactions between a customer and an organization throughout the life span of the business relationship, spanning from discovery and cultivation to purchases and service. Customer experience is a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to the broader segment called Customer Relationship Management, or CRM. Bottom line is, the more positive experiences a customer has with a particular business, the more likely they are to become a repeat and loyal customer. After all, it's a no-brainer: treat your customer poorly and you won't get them to come back. Treat them well, and not only will THEY come back, they'll tell their FRIENDS about you as well. Double win. So how do you get there?
Know Your Customers
The first step is to understand who your customers are and develop customer support teams who can connect and empathize with what your customers are going through, what they want, and what their ultimate goals are. This involves developing personas that encompass each kind of customer your business likely comes into contact with. For example, if you own a technology company, you may find that one major type of customer is a Millennial, who by definition is tech savvy, can largely teach themselves processes and protocols, and doesn't need much in the way of guidance. You may have another type of customer, perhaps an older adult, who isn't as tech savvy and needs clear, concise directions to follow every step of the way. Knowing your customers' needs is the first step to giving them what they want.
Connect With Your Customers
Fostering an emotional connection with your customers is key in finding common ground from which you can build a lifetime of loyalty. Research shows that more than 50 percent of a customer's experience is based on emotion -- and that emotion often drives their purchasing decisions. Loyalty develops when customers feel emotionally attached to the company they are doing business with. They like the feeling of being heard, being respected and being valued. In fact, studies show that companies that put that emotional connection first tend to outperform their competitors in sales by about 85 percent, with emotionally engaged customers more likely to recommend your product or service to a friend, more likely to re-purchase that same product or service themselves, and much less likely to shop around the next time they need that product or service.
Get Real-Time Customer Feedback
In order to know how your customers are feeling at any given moment, it's necessary to get a snapshot of their satisfaction. Customer engagement in real time is crucial towards this end. You can do this in several ways, from post-interaction surveys and emails to phone calls and social media interaction. Garnering insightful feedback is a critical part of the customer engagement process.
Fostering a sense of loyalty with your customers doesn't happen overnight, but with patience and dedication, your business can make strong headway in the area of customer experience strategies.