8 scalable ways to create a customer experience strategy
Before we dive into our proven tips to create a scalable customer experience (cx) strategy, let's start at the beginning.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience is the sum of all the interactions between your company and your customers, this includes pre- and post sale. Simply put, it's how your customers feel. This customer journey can start on a digital channel (such as social media, email marketing, or mobile apps), or already inside your brick and mortar store or website to shop.
But it doesn't end there, positive or negative experiences during purchase, product quality, and customer support can all have a significant effect. These impressions can shape future purchase decisions, brand loyalty, and the likeliness to refer your product or service to others. By focusing on the customer, you can directly improve customer retention and overall growth.
In fact, reports that celebrate the benefits of a seamless experience are becoming more common. For example, 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience observed an increase in revenue. Which may be a byproduct of customers willingness to pay more for a good experience.
Customer service vs customer experience
It's easy to understand the differences between customer service and customer experience.
Customer service is a part of your customers' overall experience with your brand. It solely addresses supporting customers through direct inquiry regarding questions, comments, concerns, or praise. Customer experience examples include customer service but are also related to marketing touch points, product quality, post-purchase engagement, and more.
How to develop a customer experience strategy
The first consideration in any great customer experience strategy is identifying the right goal. When setting up action plans, do so with the intention of delivering positive and meaningful interactions that will improve the customers' relationship with your brand.
Of the many important factors that can be included in your strategy, we recommend starting with:
- Competitive landscape
- Consumer Research
- Industry Data
- Vision / Mission
These will help you identify who your customers are, what the competition is offering them, trends, and align your company-wide team around your mission. A great, authentic way to bring your team together on the company's vision, is to ask for their feedback as you build your strategy. This can uncover potential insights that help create a better, more tailor customer experience strategy and engage your employees.
Elements of an omnichannel customer experience
1. Define your goals and guiding principles
Think about your strategy as a map. In order to create a well-functioning map, you must first know where you are going. When it comes to your strategy, your goal is the guide that influences your subsequent decisions.
Are you looking to increase purchase frequency among your current base? Improve referral and customer acquisition? Stay ahead of trends to differentiate and minimize churn?
2. Know your customer base
Think critically when it comes to segmenting your customer database, based on your intended goal. Keep in mind you will need to be flexible. If you are looking to get more from your current customers, understand how customers' experience compares across marketing channels, invest in consumer support, and gather valuable customer feedback to inform outbound sales.
3. Design your touch points
61% of today's consumers expect a tailored, branded experience based on their preferences. More than that, they are willing to pay for it. That's why it's important to consider the specific needs, timing, and lifestyle influences affecting customers and tailor your strategy to be accommodating and offer help. Our tips:
- Identify specific customer personas and curate content that speaks to them.
- Explore different omnichannel experiences that greet customers where they already are.
- Create segmented messaging to target across display, video, social, email, and onsite promotions.
- Reward and celebrate customer milestones (contract anniversaries, shared revenue growth, etc.).
- Deepen connections by sharing authentic gestures that are more personalized than email or direct marketing.
4. Optimize around customer feedback
Understanding how your efforts are being perceived is crucial to optimizing your strategy. Gather your customers' perspective through useful tools like surveys, product or service reviews, and social media. Analyze levels of enthusiasm and the tone of customer testimonials to uncover possible pain points and areas to improve upon.
Don't be afraid to offer customers in-service feedback loops. When timed properly, they can be incredibly effective, cost-effective ways to gain insights, such as your products' most powerful differentiators as told by the people who actually purchase them.
5. Check-in regularly on your products or services' quality assurance
Ensuring a level of quality experience is more than just focusing on the product. It entails examining the touch points that lead to purchase, just as closely as the product performs post-purchase. Remember, your customers' experience is influenced by all of these factors, therefore every marketing message needs to be as well prepared for the market as the product itself.
6. Don't ignore informal feedback
Customer service agents aren't the employees in your organization that have contact and insights into your customers' experience. Empower cross-team discovery between sales personale, marketers, user researchers, etc. and create open channels for them to share. By checking in regularly, you can optimize your CX strategy with current preferences.
7. How to measure customer experience and ROI
There are three major CX metrics that are worth considering when looking at the returns on your customer experience efforts:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) - This measurement is perfect for measuring your customers' likelihood to promote your brand to their network through word-of-mouth. Typically formatted as a question on a 1-10 scale, with Brand Detractors responding 0-6, satisfied but not loyal customers (Passives) from 7-8, and the most loyal, brand evangelists between 9-10.
- Customer Effort Scores (CES) - Check the effectiveness of your current customer support team structure and the ease of information discovery through Customer Effort Scores. Here, customers indicate on a scale of 1-7.
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) - This customer experience metrics looks at the relationship between different customer experience points and how satisfied they were. Namely, it looks at reception of the product, service, or support.
8. Continue to optimize your customer experience strategy
Schedule recurring reminders to check your progress against projected benchmarks, milestones, and long term goals. Also be attentive if you begin to see any dramatic changes in important overall performance indicators like customers churned.
As you go out and begin working on your strategy, remember that it's important to take ownership of the experience you provide for your customers. When you do this in an authentic way that helps them feel appreciated and seen, it can have a significant impact on purchase frequency, brand evangelism, and loyalty.