Customer Experience (CX) is used so often in the modern business/tech world that it is easy to think it’s just a new buzzword. This couldn’t be further from the truth, customer experience will be shaping the way all companies deal with customer relationships for years to come. If this is your first time hearing about CX or you're wondering how it differs from similar concepts like customer service you’ve come to the right place. Let’s discuss some of the basics so you can future proof your customer relationship management processes.
What is CX?
CX refers to the way customers are engaged across the entire customer journey. It keeps the customer’s experience as the central focus through marketing to sales and service and everything in between. While you as a brand aim to have every customer experience be a positive one that won’t always necessarily be the case. But in those moments CX is about the decisions you make as a brand to influence the way a customer feels and to bring their experience back on track to hopefully influence how they feel about your brand in a positive way.
But don’t be mistaken, it is not the same as customer service. CX describes the customer’s experience in totality while customer service is the act of providing service to a customer making it just a portion of CX.
Why does it matter?
CX is the new competitive battlefield for brands and getting it right can give your brand the advantage. In some cases, CX is more important to the customer that the product/service they are buying.
Let’s look at why it’s so important:
You Stand out in the Crowd
With such a crowded marketing place, customers are now looking toward their experiences with a brand or company as a differentiating factor. They want to feel seen and connected to the brands they choose to buy from and they want to feel like these brands acknowledge them and are listening to their wants and needs.
This means that brands need to ensure that every customer interaction is personalized and enjoyable for the customer. Every touchpoint a customer has with your brand can either be an opportunity to improve the impression they have of your brand and increasing your likelihood of brand success.
It Improves Your Buyer’s Journey
According to the Havard Business Review the buyer’s journey can be broken down into four stages. It focusing on identifying the points at which the customer’s behaviour changes rather than dividing the stages into segments like the sales funnel.
The stages are as follows:
- Enjoy, Advocate, and Bond
The CONSIDER stage describes the transformation of someone who has had exposure to your brand from a passive observer to a viable prospect. The key here is that prospects will consider a brand off of the little information that they received from their network and other outside sources. So, it’s no surprise that brands more well-known usually are identified at this stage.
At the EVALUATE stage prospects start researching the product that they are considering. Here brands that the customer was unfamiliar within the consideration stage are found and more well-known brands may fall out of the running.
The BUY stage is when the prospect turns into a customer by making a purchase. It is important to remember that a purchase is not always sales-driven i.e. requiring a closer/salesperson, but rather can be influenced by a brand’s digital platform. Customers can research for themselves and make a decision that way. As a result, the buying stage is highly influenced by the first two stages of the buyer’s journey.
Lastly, the ENJOY, ADVOCATE AND BOND stage describes gaining a customer’s loyalty and potentially turning them into a repeat buyer. Here you must focus on post-purchase customer engagement or run the threat of losing customers to the competition. If done correctly, a repeat customer may even start advocating for your brand.
In all of these stages, CX is key to moving your customers through the journey and making it an enjoyable process.
It Impacts Your Business
CX can directly impact your bottom line. Acquiring new customers is an expensive process, so it is important to retain your existing customers with positive experiences. You can even use these experiences for opportunities to stimulate incremental growth in your business with the use of events and campaigns as well as individual opportunities with cross and up-selling.
Negative experiences can also have a huge impact on your business, especially in the digital arena. With the advent of social media, customers now have an outlet to express their direct praise about a company as well as their complaints and negative feedback. This can affect your business by discouraging new customers from doing business with you and damaging your brand image. And keep in mind that customers are much more likely to share their bad experiences than they are to share the positive ones.
It Focuses on Positive Experiences
A positive CX encompasses a scenario where a customer walks away from every touchpoint with your brand satisfied. It results in a customer’s overall feeling of happiness toward your brand.
Here are some ways to ensure a positive CX:
- Speak to customers’ wants and needs
- Build an easy to use eCommerce
- Provide assistance all along the customer journey
- Ensure that your data is managed properly so that customers do not need to repeat themselves i.e. providing information they have already given to you or another department in your company.
- Rewarding loyal customers
However, in order to provide the best CX, brands need to have their data in order. It must be seamless and easily accessible to every department so that everyone is on the same page and as such can provide every customer with the service they need when they need it.
Conversely, any interaction that leaves a customer frustrated, feeling like the brand doesn’t know them or care about them or with the perception that your company is difficult to do business with will have the opposite effect and can potentially set you back or cause you to lose your customer. With the amount of data companies have, customers’ expectations are much higher. Standardized personalization just doesn’t cut it anymore. Customers expect data-driven personalization, they expect brands to know their purchase history, to offer self-serve options and a buying experience tailored to their needs.
It Prioritizes the Customer
Make sure your CX is smart. It should use customer data to stay one step ahead of the customer and keep their experience as the center of its focus with individualized CXs.
You can make your CX smarter with the use of:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Machine Learning
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Marketing Automation
- Robust and Informed Customer Service
- Predictive Analytics
Smarter CX will boost your customer’s outlook on your brand and lead to more successful interactions.
CX can provide a world of possibilities and opportunities to make your customers happy and as a result, increase your sales. It is now an essential piece of every business model and the key to a successful brand.
MasterSolve is a business and technology consultancy with offices in Toronto, St. Louis and Montreal. We are your trusted business partner with expertise in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Technology (Martech) solutions. We live and breathe CRM and process improvement, we use a combination of best practices and common sense to help you find, implement and support, the software and technology you need to run your business and meet your goals.