A Definition of Customer Experience
Customer experience (CX) is a term that has gained a lot of steam in the past couple of years, and it is one of those terms that people feel as though they grasp until they have to explain it themselves. In truth, customer experience is best described as the perception customers have of your brand. Their perceptions are the reality of your CX, regardless of how well you think you are doing at delivering exceptional customer service, personalizing interactions, and meeting and exceeding their expectations.
Customer Experience Challenges
Some of the largest challenges companies face involve data and technology. As Big Data becomes the norm and companies gather evermore data about customers, they struggle to gain actionable insights to drive CX strategies because they have a large volume of data in silos. Additionally, they struggle to gather data from all possible sources to gain an atomic-level view of the customer as customers interact with them using a variety of touchpoints. Data-driven CX is possible only when companies have access to all customer data and know how to gain insights from it.
Another challenge facing companies as they try to manage consumer perception is creating strong omni-channel strategies to retain customers. Customers expect to interact with companies using a variety of methods, and they become frustrated when they cannot use their preferred channels. They also get flustered when various channels do not deliver a consistent experience. As a result, companies must get omni-channel marketing right in order to deliver a holistic, seamless experience.
Best Practices for CX Success
Companies that want to win need to manage customer perception expertly. Everything that goes into that perception, from messaging, to products, to the sales process, needs to be considered. Companies that want to increase customer retention rates need to deliver an extraordinary experience by following best practices; in fact, research shows that approximately 90% of customers that have left a company switched because of a poor experience.
Aberdeen Group’s report, Customer Experience Strategy: Get It Right to Drive Success, examines CX leaders and shares four best practices companies can implement when developing their own strategy:
- Develop a customer-centric company culture – Entire organizations need to get behind CX. Begin by determining what customer centricity means for your organization, communicate it to everyone across the company, and weave it into your CX activities.
- Align your brand with your CX strategies – Just think about Disney and Zappos for a moment, and you’ll understand the role CX plays in brand identity. When your brand meets and exceeds customers’ expectations, you’ll retain more customers and increase your revenue.
- Assign a dedicated CX executive – Your executives must lead the charge with your CX strategy. Getting buy-in and establishing a customer-centric culture will be key to your success, and you need to put an executive in place who can lead, influence, and educate while detailing the vision and getting your entire organization on board.
- Formally align business and CX strategies – As your brand and CX strategies align, so too must your business and CX strategies. Look at where you have a competitive edge and deliver on those expectations and perceptions of your company.
Other CX best practices include getting to know your customers as well as possible, considering them as a second marketing department, and integrating customer support channels. These practices will support your customer-centric approach, and they will help you personalize interactions with customers so you can be sure to make the next best offer and deliver the most relevant information to them on the right channels and at the right time.
Delivering exceptional customer experience is critical to your business. When you get it right, you increase revenue and retain more customers by building a brand reputation that they trust.
Further Reading on Customer Experience
For further information on customer experience, visit our blog. For your convenience, we have linked to three of our most recent posts below: