A customer experience strategy is not just a plan to improve the customer experience in isolation, it’s also a roadmap for your company to grow into the future. In this article, let’s take a look at what having a digital experience strategy can mean for your brand and how customer experience strategy best practices can help you meet customers’ expectations.
What is Customer Experience (CX)?
Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a brand over the duration of their relationship with that brand. From the point of initial contact or awareness to the ultimate experience and beyond, CX is the sum of all interactions between a business and its customers. And because it comprises all customer touchpoints, CX is a top priority for brands looking to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace.
Difference Between CX and Customer Service
Customer experience is the perception your customer has about your brand. It can be defined as the result of interactions between the customer and your company, which could include employees, products, services, and marketing messages.
Customer service, on the other hand, can be defined as a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction - that is, the feeling or measurement of whether a product or service has met the customer’s expectation.
Customer experience is an umbrella term that includes everything from first impressions to lasting relationships, and from marketing and advertising to post-purchase support.
Customer service, however, is more specific. It describes all the direct interactions between customers and your support team - your salespeople and agents who help customers troubleshoot problems or answer questions. This fundamental difference is what helps businesses form the basis of a unique customer service strategy as well as a customer experience strategy.
What is a CX Strategy?
A CX strategy is a documented plan that serves as a guide for all customer-facing engagements to provide customers with the best experience possible.
In most cases, businesses know where their customers want to end up, but not so much about how to get them there. The first step towards building an effective CX strategy is to take the time to understand your customers and their specific needs. This allows you to create meaningful touchpoints that will foster customer retention and brand loyalty.
When we talk about a CX strategy, we’re effectively talking about a high-level plan to help your company achieve its goals for delivering a great customer experience. Your strategy and resulting tactics may cover:
- Improving the quality of the support you provide
- Introducing self-service options for your customers
- Reducing hold times on the phone
This total experience strategy doesn’t have to be complicated but it does need to set out clear objectives and how you are going to achieve them. Plus, if you take the time to understand why customers choose your company - and what keeps them coming back - that insight will lead you in the right direction as you develop your own specific, bespoke CX strategy.
How a CX Strategy Can Boost Your Business
Standing out in a crowded marketplace is one of the most difficult marketing challenges faced by businesses today. In addition to the competition, the attention spans of customers are on the line, making it vital for businesses to find a way to be as memorable as possible.
A strong customer experience (CX) strategy is one of the most powerful ways to achieve this. When managed and executed correctly, it can help elevate your company beyond the competition, drive revenue, and increase customer loyalty.
In fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great CX. And that’s why if you wish to stay relevant, your offerings must be personalised across a diverse set of channels. You can typically expect:
1. Reduced Cost
A company with an excellent reputation won’t need to spend as much on marketing as one which doesn’t have much of a following. This means that by having a strong CX strategy, you could potentially reduce your marketing budget significantly.
Moreover, customer complaints cost time and money. If you can improve your customer experience strategy, you can successfully reduce customer churn and dissatisfaction, not to mention associated costs.
Remember that having a high customer retention rate is more cost-effective than constantly trying to acquire new customers. So, if you have a solid customer experience strategy framework, it will be reflected in your bottom line.
2. Enhanced Brand Value
A customer experience (CX) strategy is the blueprint for how you use technology, people, and processes to create positive interactions with customers. It helps you achieve specific business goals as well as build a sustainable competitive advantage in the market, which can increase your brand value even in a saturated market.
3. Increased Customer Engagement, Loyalty, and Retention
A good CX strategy can improve the way customers interact with your brand and thus keep them engaged for longer. When customers stay engaged with your brand for longer periods of time, it can lead to repeat purchases and greater customer lifetime value (CLV).
In addition, the probability of selling to an existing customer is about 60-70%, compared to 5-20% for a new customer. Therefore, it’s imperative that a brand focuses on customer retention through an engaging CX approach. In essence, a good customer experience management strategy can help you improve customer loyalty and even boost your revenue growth.
4. Increased Customer Conversions
With more engagement comes higher conversion rates. This means you are more likely to convert website visitors into paying customers if you have a concrete customer experience vision in place. As your customer base widens, it creates an upward trend of brand recognition over time without the need for aggressive marketing.
How to Implement an Effective CX Strategy
Some of the most significant challenges businesses face today - like customer churn, employee retention, and brand loyalty - can be addressed by developing an effective customer experience strategy framework. These are issues which only get worse as customers become less tolerant of bad experiences.
By focusing on CX and implementing a program that puts your customers at the heart of everything you do, you have a greater chance of creating long-lasting relationships that are more profitable for your business.
Here are some effective ways to help you achieve this.
1. Evaluate Current Customer Experience
To create a successful CX strategy, it’s best to start by understanding where your business is at now. This assessment will help you get a clear picture of what your customers think about their current experiences with your company, so you can bridge the gap between what they are receiving and what they are expecting.
If you are looking for a starting point, check out these customer experience strategies that your brand might be missing.
2. Define Vision and Customer Journey Map
To implement your CX strategy, you must first define your ultimate customer experience vision. This vision should be holistic and align with all areas of the business, including marketing, technology, and operations, to ensure everyone is on board and working together to achieve the same goals.
Then, you can map out the customer journey from start to finish. To be comprehensive, your customer journey strategy must identify all the individual steps that a customer goes through when interacting with your business, such as visiting your website or social media channels, signing up for your service, or visiting one of your stores.
3. Train Your Team
Creating meaningful customer experiences requires buy-in across an entire organisation, with everyone aligned in terms of what your brand stands for and how you are going to deliver that to your customers. This means your team needs to be trained - whether they are the people who are directly interacting with customers or not.
This training doesn’t have to be formal. You might want to consider assigning a “CX champion” within each department, who would lead weekly check-ins to see how things are going, discuss challenges, and celebrate wins. In addition, regular all-hands meetings can reinforce overall company values and goals.
4. Build an Emotional Connection with Customers
When everyone is selling the same thing with slight variations, the only way customers can differentiate your brand from the rest is by recognising how your brand makes them feel. For this reason, the best CX aims to foster an emotional connection between a customer and the brand. That’s what helps make people loyal to a business, especially when there are so many options in the marketplace.
5. Collect Feedback
The best way to know what your customers think about your brand isn’t through complicated metrics and analytics. All you have to do is ask.
Ask your customers what they enjoy about working with you and what could work better. Take that feedback and make improvements right away.
Remember that collecting feedback isn’t a one-time task. It should be an ongoing process so that you have the most recent information about your customers’ experiences. That way, you can make adjustments and improve as you go along.
6. Constantly Improve Your CX Strategy
A CX strategy is not something that you set and forget; it should be monitored and adjusted as needed so that you can continue to meet your customers’ needs. In fact, 21% of businesses have already developed their own KPIs to track customer experience.
See how you can transform your digital customer experience using Liferay DXP, an integrated platform that provides you with all the tools you need to create effective and scalable customer experiences for your brand. To learn more about how Liferay can simplify CX strategy development for your business, and book a demo, click here.