Post-pandemic reality brought us major changes in terms of customer behavior and expectations. Experience became the main factor that forms brand trust and loyalty, not a product itself or its price. Being just a tech company is not enough anymore — everyone, who wants to stay ahead of the competitors, is in constant search of new ways to improve customer experience.
Why should businesses start investing in CX right now? Here are some of the key reasons:
- Customers’ retention
Positive experience encourages customers to stay with a company. Keep in mind, the cost of acquiring new customers is about 5 times higher, than retaining the existing one.
- Increasing cross- and up-sales
Satisfied and loyal customers tend to spend about 31% more. Besides, they are 50% more likely to try new products, compared to new customers.
- Improving brand image
The better experience customers have with a company, the more likely they are to recommend it to someone else. This form of brand advocacy can be one of the most valuable marketing instruments.
In this article, we'll cover:
4 Steps to Take Before Getting to CX Itself
If you are in search of the ideas to improve customer experience, you should realize that this is a long run. Which means you’ll need to develop a strategy and lay some groundwork first.
Pay Attention to Your Brand Building
First impressions still mean a lot, and there are no details that are not worth attention. Any kind of visuals you use, the tone of voice you choose, the content you post on social media, your communication strategy — everything should work together to make your brand recognizable and distinctive. Looking for ways to improve customer experience, think of some of the world’s top brands like Nike, Starbucks, or Tiffany. They outrun their competitors not by making the best product ever (quite a subjective thing), but by making their brand remarkable. If you are not sure about the ability of proper marketing and communication to make a cup of coffee taste better — take a look at the Starbucks revenue.
Think of Customer’s Pain Points First
As you need a roadmap on how to improve customer experience, start with thinking of what can upset your customers. What roadblock can they face during a purchasing process? What stops them from returning for a second time? At what moment of their journey can they give it up? These are some of the first things you need to know, and you want to collect a lot of feedback, look through a bunch of reviews, monitor social media, and use whatever sources you can get the information from.
Practical tip: For a clearer picture, it would be good for a business owner and the key managers to try on the role of a customer and go through the journey themselves, from a customer’s perspective.
Audit Customer Experience
Customers have a lot of touchpoints with a brand before the purchase and even after it, so it is necessary to distinguish bottlenecks on each stage of their journey. Using the information you got at the previous step, create a customer experience roadmap and define all the main touchpoints customers have with the business. What influence do they have, what can attract customers and turn them away at each stage?
Practical tip: No one knows about customer experience more than customer-facing team members. You may get a lot of insights from conducting regular surveys among the employees. Questions like “What do you need to help customers more effectively?” can be a good way to start.
Invest in Team’s Wellbeing
According to surveys, an engaged team becomes a key factor in retaining customers. That’s what 86% of companies with high engagement level agree upon. Your customer-facing team would be one of the first interaction points between customers and your company. Stressed, tired, and burn-out employees will hardly ever manage to provide a positive customer experience, no matter how much they earn. What really makes a team functional is a strong corporate culture, effective and open communication on all levels, reasonable workload distribution, and a comfortable workspace.
Practical tip: Regular one-to-one and group syncs, team building sessions, relevant company policies will, ultimately, make more for improving customer experience, than you could expect at first glance.
SupportYourApp Practices: Our Insights on How to Improve Customer Experience
At SupportYourApp, we specialize in providing the best CX possible through customer support. But we believe this is a process every team member should be involved in. Here we gathered some recommendations based on our own expertise, which proved to be useful “in the field”.
5 Ideas to Improve Customer Experience You May Start With
Empower Team Members
A seamless customer experience will more likely be provided, if customer-facing employees can make necessary decisions on the spot. If a sales representative or a customer support agent needs to approve each step with their manager, the whole process can be so long, most customers simply won’t have patience for it to bring a result. Make sure all of your team members have a clear understanding on how to act in different situations, so they could work independently, and know the company’s policies perfectly, to make correct decisions.
Gather as Much Feedback as You Can
The process of monitoring and analyzing customers’ reviews and comments can never stop. Business needs to encourage customers to leave feedback — through asking them to evaluate a support consultant’s work after the conversation, sending email surveys, offering small bonuses for a review on social media, etc.
To know more on how to improve customer experience, give your employees a chance to speak up. Use regular surveys and syncs to ask them about their own experience with the company and about customer communication. Creating a suggestion box can be a good idea, as it is one of the simplest ways to hear a team’s voice. Team members should know they are valued, their thoughts and ideas are heard, and positive changes are made.
Use Tech Abilities Wisely
New possibilities that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning give for improving customer experience seem limitless. 24/7 customer service coverage, NLP-systems, performance tracking, working with huge amount of data, making predictions — all of this can be accomplished with the help of a machine. Today, it is already obvious a trend for digitalization is about to stay with us for good. But to avoid standard automation mistakes, you should realize this process is not a sprint, but a marathon. It requires time, resources, and above all — a systematic approach. Try to keep a balance between automatic features and human work, and use automation only when it is actually necessary. A proper balance will help provide a seamless, positive experience for your customers.
Personalize Everything You Can
The best experience is the one that is based on what a company knows about customers. We all know how it works — we all have, at some point, spent several hours on YouTube or made spontaneous purchases for a hundred of dollars. Businesses use everything they know to make the best offers — their customers’ location, preferences, history of previous purchases, survey results, etc.
But personalization doesn’t end with making offers, as a customer’s journey doesn’t end with a purchase. Show your customers you care about them on each stage. Sending a follow-up letter, or offering help after the purchase proactively will help deliver a much better customer experience, and assist a lot in retaining customers.
Encourage Customers’ Loyalty
A key to building long-term relationships with your customers is making them feel special and valued. One of the most effective ideas to improve customer experience is establishing a loyalty program. The most popular concepts are personal discounts and gifts. A company can offer these to high-spending customers, or as a referral bonus. The offer shouldn’t necessarily be monetary. You can offer your loyal customers early access to a new product, to show how much you appreciate them, or provide them with a more personalized experience, like a free consultation. The main goal is to encourage customers to stay with you, spread the word about their positive experience, and recommend you to their friends. To create a loyalty program perfect for a specific business, a good start will be analyzing customers’ purchases, buying habits, reviews and comments, to define what they actually need.
5 Ways to Improve Customer Experience With a Support Service
A brilliant CX rate may not be achieved with good customer service only, but it is still a decisive factor. It may be the first point of contact with the company, the main impression a customer gets on the brand’s communication, and often — the way to overcome roadblocks that may occur along the customer’s journey.
Integrate New Channels of Communication
You should be available for your customers wherever they need you. Messengers and social media become more popular for communication with brands, and about 80% of users have already used them.
As you want to make a good use of multiple communication channels, keep in mind users expect to have a seamless experience, switching from phone to text or from a messenger to email. All channels should be organized into one system, and all the interactions should be tracked for a smooth customer experience.
Provide the Shortest Response Time Possible
Today, customers don’t just require the best service, but expect to get it here and now. Surveys show that for 60% of customers, waiting on hold for one minute is too long. Consider enhancing your team with additional staff for peak hours and seasons. If it is not possible — recommend your customers to call during off-peak hours. Also note, most users prefer a call-back option instead of waiting on hold, so make sure to provide them with such.
Make Self-Service Possible
About 70% of customers prefer to find answers for simple questions themselves. A detailed and properly structured knowledge base will cover most of the standard issues, spare a support team’s time for more complicated requests, and will generally speed up the process of helping customers.
The self-service option not only lets customers resolve their issues quickly and with minimum actions, but also gives them knowledge they may need for future questions. To make it work, you need to make sure an FAQ page or a knowledge base is accessible, can be quickly found on the website, and is easy to use.
Use Automation, and Do It Smartly
If you haven’t started implementing Artificial Intelligence into business processes, there can’t be a better time to consider this option. Dealing with simple requests, a chatbot can be faster and more productive, than support agents. A human consultant can only handle one or two inquiries at the same time, without losing service quality. AI will be able to deal with numerous requests simultaneously, while operating round the clock and backing up your support team outside business hours.
Complicated requests still require human interaction, so agents should also be ready to jump up and resolve them. Besides, not all the users are comfortable communicating with a machine. While integrating a chatbot, you should leave an option of escalating a request to a human agent. Working hand in hand, professional consultants and Artificial Intelligence can provide a quick and effective service that results in a positive customer experience.
Make Communication as Personalized as Possible
Users who feel a personal touch while communicating with a company are much more likely to get a positive impression and become loyal customers and even brand advocates. How to enhance customer experience with personalization in simple steps?
A company should know as much about its customers as possible — who they are, what their habits and preferences are, what issues they have already faced. First thing a business needs to do is get organized — integrate all the communication channels into a CRM system, try to get as much information about its customers as possible (like names, emails, phone numbers etc.). This data should be collected in one place, along with all the communication history. Support consultants should make notes with any information that would help make communication more personalized, like each customer’s preferable communication channel.
The next step would be avoiding scripted replies. Scripts may seem useful and reliable, but they still tend to sound standard and artificial. The more a consultant bases a conversation on their impression, customer’s manner of speaking and mood — the better. And, last but not least, a pro-tip: if possible, consultants should always use customers’ first names while talking to them, in order to break the ice and establish trust.
Offering a quality product is great. But only companies that are in a constant search for ways to improve customer experience have the best chances to stand out in the market and achieve top goals. No matter what your company is — a small startup or a huge tech unicorn, making it customer-centric will provide you with endless benefits in the long run. You can use the tips listed here if you are thinking on how to enhance customer experience. Or you can make things easier, contact us and get the assistance from support experts, who would make your customers real fans of your brand.
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Anastasiia is a professional writer with a diverse background. She used to write about IT, logistics, business, but now her main interest is customer support and communication. Anastasiia’s biggest passion is reading — she prefers books over anything. She believes that the greatest thing a keen reader can do is to write themselves.Posted on