The motivation for prioritising customer experience is simple. As individuals, we intuitively expect a great experience when we start our journey to learn more about a brand. In contrast to features, functionality, or price – the emotional connection inspired by an experience makes it difficult for a competitor to copy.
Customer experience will continue to be a top priority for businesses in 2021 in view of efforts to overcome challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Those who adapt their processes and technologies to meet rising customer expectations, and provide a consistent experience will see the business results.
Research by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) shows that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
Loyal customers drive repeat business.
Customer Experience – what is it exactly?
Forrester, a leading global market research company defines Customer Experience (CX) as “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.”
It is the customer’s perspective from start to finish. And it encompasses the functional and emotional needs of the customer. So the one thing to consider is — whether your brand and the people behind it are meeting those needs.
A Walker study found that at the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Here are four suggestions to help you leverage the benefits of delivering an excellent customer experience.
Develop a quality framework
Consider how well your training programmes prepare employees to deliver a great customer experience. Identify the training needs for every employee who interacts with a customer throughout the customer’s journey. This includes developing service and product expertise, emotional intelligence and soft skills training, and ethics and compliance relating to customer data.
When it comes to CX metrics such as customer satisfaction (CSAT), customer loyalty, and customer advocacy, many businesses assess the quality of phone and email communication, however — a quality framework goes deeper by scheduling and tracking employee engagement and progress through training, coaching, and eLearning.
Focus on Trust and Safety
Trust is an emotional perception of the customer’s experience. Customers expect to feel confident and comfortable about the privacy and cybersecurity of their data and transactions, and a brand’s ability to deliver to the highest standards of compliance. By using a policy-driven approach, your teams can apply robust policies to all areas of trust and safety. In the current climate, this too correlates with developing low-touch or zero-touch operations to meet Covid-19 safety guidelines.
Today, the focus on trust and safety is essential – one that offers peace-of-mind for the customer throughout their digital and physical interactions with your brand.
Drive Omnichannel Capability
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a rise in online transactions for several retail and business sectors. Having a presence across channels increases the awareness of a company’s offerings. Enabling a seamless experience for customers to move from one channel to another without interruption demands another level of sophistication. And customers expect personalised, consistent experiences when using different communication platforms from social to email to voice.
Therefore, it is fundamental to measure your omnichannel capabilities throughout the various customer touchpoints. This helps to determine the capabilities of critical channels and identify issues such as delays, gaps, or interruptions. The evaluation will enable you to refine and optimise your omnichannel experience and thereby increase relevancy and efficiency for your customers.
Leverage VoC - Voice of the Customer
The ability to deliver personalised experiences comes down to really understanding your customers’ needs. With more data available than ever before, deriving actionable insights has become more challenging.
A reliable process for gathering VoC information is essential to its effectiveness. Likewise, what’s imperative is really listening to what your customers are saying—and not making assumptions. This allows you to develop an in-depth understanding of customer behaviour. The valuable learnings will empower you to optimise the customer’s journey at every touchpoint, continually improve, and build stronger customer relationships.
Customer experience is either positive or negative by design. An essential element of CX design involves balancing the functional with the emotional – functional relates to a company’s offerings, and emotional relates to messages of empathy, support, trust and safety.
The ability to deliver a superior customer experience creates a competitive advantage because frequently businesses fall short. Every interaction contributes to the overall experience and perception of the company. It drives an emotional connection that goes beyond service. And mediocre experiences aren’t memorable. In contrast, memorable experiences create opportunities for loyal customers to become brand advocates.
And consequently, sustaining excellent CX design and delivery creates a true competitive advantage.
Covalen delivers Strategy, Consulting & Outsourcing Solutions to enable organisations to expand their reach, drive efficiencies, and gain a competitive advantage.