Think back to the last purchase that really impressed you; something so good that you simply had to tell everyone about how amazing it was. What was it that made that particular purchase stand out in your mind? Chances are that it wasn’t just the product or service itself. Rather, the purchases we remember the most are those where the complete customer experience — from start to finish — is exceptional.
But what is customer experience? What is the importance of customer experience? How can you enhance customer experience? This article will answer these questions and help you develop your own customer experience strategy.
What is customer experience (CX)?
When we discuss customer experience (CX), we’re essentially talking about how a customer feels after interacting with your business. Customer experience (also sometimes referred to as consumer experience or client experience) is a simple concept but, at the same time, it involves a lot of steps.
Every single interaction contributes to the overall CX experience, covering every stage of the customer journey, from the first time they hear about you to any support they receive after the purchase. Every time they visit your website, talk with a member of your team, and use your product — the sum of these interactions determines how the customer feels about your business.
Some people use the terms ‘customer experience’ and ‘customer service’ interchangeably, however customer service is just one small part of the CX experience.
The importance of customer experience (CX)
As consumer experience determines how your customers perceive your business, it can have a major impact on your growth and revenue.
A positive customer experience means that customers are more likely to come back and enjoy shopping with you again. This leads to increased loyalty, repeat purchases, and a higher customer lifetime value. They’re also more likely to leave positive reviews and refer other prospective customers to you.
On the other hand, a negative client experience almost guarantees that a client won’t be back, resulting in lower customer retention rates. For the vast majority of products and services out there today, consumers have plenty of choices and it’s easy to switch, meaning they have no reason to stick with a business that doesn’t provide a top-quality consumer experience. They certainly won’t be recommending you to their friends either.
How to measure customer experience (CX)
Because of the nature of client experience and how it covers the entire customer journey, there’s no single metric that can be used to measure it. Instead, you need to look at several different metrics to get a full picture of how customers feel about you.
One of the key metrics for CX experience is Customer Satisfaction (CSAT). As it is based on one simple survey question that can be deployed in a wide variety of scenarios, it’s ideal for quickly gauging how people feel about specific parts of the customer journey.
Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures how likely a customer is to recommend you to others, is a great way of measuring overall loyalty, which in turn indicates that your customers have had positive customer experiences.
However, to fully understand customer experiences you need to go beyond the metrics and dig deeper into how your customers really feel about you. Talking to customer-facing staff is a good start, but nothing can quite replace actually having a conversation with your customers. Take the time to reach out and interview some of your customers, ideally including both satisfied customers as well as those who have churned, and find out what specific parts of the process have either impressed or frustrated them.
How to improve customer experience (CX)
When it comes to improving customer experience strategies, there is no magic bullet or single action that will automatically make things better. Rather, the best client experience is one that shifts the focus from you and your product/service and instead clearly prioritizes the customer and their requirements throughout their interactions with you.
This starts by having a comprehensive understanding of the customer journey. Where does the experience begin for your customer? For example, this could be seeing an advertisement, using a search engine to find an answer to a problem they face, or visiting your website after a friend’s recommendation.
You then need to follow those potential routes through to their final interaction, taking into account any possible variations (such as engaging over different communication channels, visiting your site on different devices, or receiving support in the event of a problem). It will take time and effort to get a complete picture of the customer journey, but it’s essential to know every step in that process, as even one weak link can destroy an otherwise good customer experience.
The next step is to then go through that journey and identify any potential sources of friction. How difficult is it to find the right product/service? Is all the information your customers might want readily available? When it comes to using the product/service, how intuitive is it? If a client wants to talk to a customer service rep, do they have to search for contact details or can they just click to call?
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to eliminate every single source of friction, but in most cases there’ll be ways to streamline the process. However, it’s important to realize that not every interaction needs to be automated. Sometimes, the client experience might be improved by making it more personalized. Depending on your business, a hand-written thank-you note or a one-to-one voice chat might have a greater impact on the consumer experience.
A good customer experience strategy isn’t something that happens in a silo, carried out by just one person or one department. When you look at the best customer experience examples, you can see that they’re consistently positive throughout the customer journey. This means they’ll cover marketing, sales, product design, customer support, and every other department that is in any way connected with your customers. This means you’ll also need the backing of top-level management who have the ability to initiate changes across different departments.
However, one of the biggest ways to improve customer experiences is through communication. If the customer feels like the business doesn’t understand their needs and doesn’t see them as a person, the consumer experience inevitably suffers. By integrating SnapCall with your onsite chat platforms (such as LiveChat, Zendesk, and Intercom) and taking the opportunity to talk directly with your customer, it’s easier to grasp their situation and quickly resolve any issues they’re facing with a personalized response. When you can switch to a voice or video call, or even share your screen right inside the same chat window, your customers are able to use their preferred communication channel and have a better experience.
Today’s customers have plenty of choices, and if their experience with a business doesn’t live up to their expectations, they’ll soon switch to a competitor. However, a good customer experience strategy leads to improved loyalty and revenue growth.
By understanding how customers interact with you at every stage of the process and finding ways to reduce friction, you can offer a better, more personalized service that delights your customers and keeps them coming back.
Looking for new ways to improve your customer experience strategies? SnapCall makes it easy to jump on a voice or video call right from your onsite chat, so you can talk directly with your customers and ensure their complete satisfaction. There’s nothing for your customer to install, no expensive call charges, and no long hold times. Book a free demo today.