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This year, Consultancy and Adobe asked a number of companies across the world what is their single most exciting business opportunity in 2017. And according to their 2017 Digital Marketing Trends Report, for the 3rd year in a row, the same answer came on top.

And what’s the answer you might be wondering… Well, for the last three years “customer experience” has been the most exciting business opportunity for businesses across all industries according to their research.

This answer is not surprising at all, simply because companies who’ve successfully implemented a customer experience strategy have experienced great customer satisfaction rates, increased their revenues and return on investment.

And if that’s not enough to interest you in our today’s subject, you should also be aware that according to research by American Express, over 60% of modern consumers are willing to give more money to a company for a better customer experience.


So… What is Customer Experience Anyway?


Customer experience – or as many people refer to it CX – is usually defined by interactions between your company your customers through your business relationship. This includes your services, your marketing efforts, brand awareness and a number of other things.

In the last couple of decades, CX has become a vital part of Customer Relationship Managements. Basically in order to become a loyal customer, it’s important for a customer to have a positive experience with your company.

What’s more, according to a study conducted by Oracle, almost three-fourths of senior executives in the United States – 74% to be exact – think that CX directly impact the willingness of people to become your loyal customers for years to come. If you want to have a loyal consumer-base, you have to incest in CX.

A satisfied customer is a loyal customer – it cannot be simpler than that. And if you ignore their emails, suggestions and treat them poorly overall, they will definitely abandon your company and start using services/products of your competitors – simple as that.


And… Just How Important is CX?


Your business couldn’t exist without your customers… right? That’s why you put so much effort in customer retention and why you’re always trying to attract new customers and turn them into regulars.

That’s what every other business owner, leader and manager is doing anyway. According to a recent Customer Management IQ survey, roughly 75% of business executives said that customer experience is the most important strategy they have and the one they’re paying most attention to.

However, although CX is so important to so many people, companies across the board are having problems tweaking their customer experience campaigns enough to appease their customers.

A few years ago, Bain and Company conducted survey in which they asked company leaders to rate the quality of their CX strategies, and staggering 80% of them believed that they deliver a great experience. On the other hand, less than 10% of consumers feel like they are receiving a great experience.

So what’s the bottom line – how many organizations are actually good at delivering the goods? If the research we have available is any indication – it turns out not many companies are good at CX.

Last year, The Temkin Group published a study which revealed that customer experience is on decline in the US. Between 2015 and 2016, the percentage of good customer experience dropped from 37% to just 18%. Also, this was the lowest rating in the last five years, according to previous research.

This is happening because customers these days have much larger expectations from the companies. So if you want your business to flourish, you need to put in some effort into your CX strategy.


How to Create a Great CX Strategy


  • Step 1: Create a clear vision for your strategy

The first, and the most obvious step in your strategy is to create a clear strategy for CX efforts. You need to create a vision that could be easily communicated with the rest of your employees. The easiest way to do this is to create a couple of statements that will guide the rest of your team.

For instance, Zappos use their family values – be humble and embrace change - to guide their vision. And once you manage to establish these core values, you’ll be able to drive the behavior within your organization. And make sure that every member of your team knows these principles by heart.

  • Step 2: Establish an emotional connection

Once you establish your vision, you need to start establishing an emotional connection with your consumers. We as humans are usually guided by our emotions instead of critical thinking. In fact, according to a 2014 study from the Journal of Consumer Research, customer experience is 50% based on emotions.

When customers become emotionally attached to a brand, they will always remember how they feel when they use a product or a service. And if you successfully establish an emotional connection, your profits will undouble grow. According to Gallup research, a business with a clear connection with their customers on average outperforms its competitors by 85%.

  • Step 3: Try to create real time feedback

And how can you really tell if you’re successfully establishing an emotional connection with your consumers or are you delivering a great experience to your customers? In an ideal situation, you need to capture consumer feedback in real time. And thanks to the Internet, this is easily doable.

You can always gave post0interaction surveys that you can deliver to your customer via email. On the other hand, you can go the old school route, and simply make calls to your customers in order get more feedback and more insight. However, this means that you’ll have to hire an experienced customer support agent and spend some more money in the process…. So make sure you have funds for it.

  • Step 4: Act upon the regular feedback

Once you gather the feedback from your consumers, you need to act upon it. And this is where most companies fail, because they gather so much information, that they don’t know what actually to do with it. So you have to make sure that all of your customer data is arranged and easy-to-digest.

You’ll probably have to invest some more money into your strategy, but in the long run, it will definitely pay-off. If you don’t do nothing with all of that customer data, you’ll just end up with wasted time and nothing else. If you need some help with any part of the customer lifecycle, you should try consulting a company with experience in customer lifecycle marketing in order to improve your efforts with ease.


Final Thoughts


As we already said, modern consumers have bigger expectations than ever, and you have to keep in mind that word-of-mouth travels at a speed of light on today’s day and age. Just a couple of negative comments on Facebook or Twitter could easily affect the integrity of your company.

And as the time goes, the customer will become even more powerful, which will only increase the importance of customer experience across the board. So keep in mind that this is the area of your business that require constant care focus.

So you need to start making an effort and improving your customer service efforts today. If you manage to create a good strategy and leave a positive impact on your current customers, you’ll definitely experience better customer retention, loyalty and in turn, increase your revenues.

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