7 Things That Make a Great Customer Experience
The customer experience journey is ever-changing and never-ending, this blog has been updated with the latest information in Customer Experience for 2023. Updated April, 2023.
Customer experience is more than just customer service. It includes EVERYTHING that creates an impression of your business throughout your customers' WHOLE journey. All of these little micro-moments add up to form a perception, which determines whether they come back for more and refer their friends and family (or if they go running for your competitors).
The benefit of ensuring great customer experiences is that most customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. They’re also more likely to stay loyal and recommend your business to their inner circles.
So how do you ensure a totally awesome customer experience every time?
What makes an awesome customer experience?
While there are general checkboxes of an awesome customer experience, such as timeliness, quality, communication and empathy, the true determiners of awesomeness are your customers. They are the ones who decide if the experience they receive is worth writing home about.
To understand what an awesome experience is to your customers, you need to ask them. Gathering consistent customer feedback will help you gain a clear understanding of what matters most to them, and reveal the key things your frontline team should focus on.
As well as collecting and acting on consistent customer feedback, here are 7 things that make an awesome customer experience.
1. Envision a clear and consistent customer experience strategy
Before you start down the road of customer experience, you need to know where you’re going. This is why it’s so important to create a clear and consistent vision of what you want your customers to experience. What do you want to be known for? And how can you make that happen?
Often this vision will tie back to your company values to create consistency across all areas of your business. It also needs to be clear enough that all team members know it and use it as a guide for aligning their actions and decisions with the customer experience strategy.
2. Know who your customers are to serve them better
To be able to really understand your customers’ needs and ensure they’re having a great customer experience, you need to learn who they are. You can do this by creating personas or customer avatars of your various customer segments. What are their pain points? Buying obstacles? Interests? The more you know, the better you can create experiences that truly resonate with them.
Once you have an idea of the different profiles of your customers, you can understand their needs, empathize with their challenges and serve them better.
3. Pay attention to customers changing needs
Customer experience management recognizes that it’s not just customer service at point-of-sale that is important. Just like your business, your customers’ needs are constantly changing and evolving. As they move through their customer lifecycle, they will need different levels of support from your business, whether that’s pre-purchase research, payment processing or on-going maintenance.
Staying in regular contact with your customers allows you to know when their needs are changing. You can see trends within your different customer profiles to be able to predict the needs of various groups. Being able to spot these changes allows you to proactively offer solutions, increased customer communications or new products.
4. Track and address customer churn
Although it’s wonderful hearing from your happy customers, you also need to hear from (perhaps unhappy) ex-customers. Within their feedback you’ll find their reasons for leaving, areas where you need to improve and potentially new products or services you can offer.
Learning why your customers are leaving and fixing these problems will reduce your customer churn rate (the number of people who stop being customers of your business).
Some estimates put the cost of customers switching due to poor service at $1.6 trillion in the US alone. Keeping your customers happy and with your business can help keep revenue flowing in and lower the amount you’re spending on acquiring new customers.
5. Prioritize continuous customer experience improvement
Customer experience is not something that you make one adjustment to and then it’s done and dusted (wouldn't that be nice!). It is an area of your business that needs constant work with evolving customer expectations, emerging technology and wider macro CX trends.
This is why it's important to actively track and measure customer experience. That way you’ll be continuously finding ways to improve the experience for your customers, which ultimately leads to the growth of your business. By tracking, measuring and continuously improving the customer experience, you’ll keep your customers for longer and grow through repeat business and referrals.
6. Don’t overlook the digital customer experience
While we’re big advocates of frontline empowerment to drive customer experience, we mustn't forget about the digital experience. Taking into account that 59% of everyday transactions are being made via digital payment, the digital customer experience must be considered with equal attention.
There is a lot of technology out there impacting the digital customer experience. FAQ pages and digital helpdesks, chatbots and self-service options are all important digital considerations. The best customer experiences are those which have a streamline, easy and accessible digital experience – where customers can access in-person support if required. When done well, using technology can help free up time for customer-facing teams to automate routine tasks so they can focus on adding the most value to their customers.
7. Invest in your frontline teams
A great customer experience starts with a great employee experience. As Blake Morgan, customer experience futurist, author and keynote speaker says “Engaged employees lead to happy customers.”
Many businesses make the mistake of trying to improve customer experience, without first addressing frontline employee experience. There are 3 main red flags to this approach:
- You end up making guesses and assumptions about your customers from the boardroom, without talking to the very people that deal with and know your customers better than anyone else.
- We know that people deliver a better experience when they are having a better experience themselves. If you don’t make an active effort to improve employee experience, the frontline won’t make an active effort to improve customer experience.
- When you don’t provide the frontline with the support, feedback and impact oversight, you provide no roadmap to improving experiences and driving growth.
It’s no coincidence that Southwest Air, a company with such a high Customer Experience Index Ranking, was also named as one of the Forbes’ 2021 America’s Best Employers.
Although it can be hard to define exactly what the things are that make a great customer experience, it’s important to begin a journey to create better experiences for your customers. Setting yourself up with a vision, diving into your existing customers and their experiences across all platforms and continual monitoring will help you to see your business from the eyes of your customers. This will prove invaluable as you test, implement, grow and improve– bringing your customer experience strategy to life.