How To Develop A Customer Experience Strategy
Having got to grips with what a CX strategy is in the first part of our CX exploration, including how to measure customer experience, why it matters and key considerations, we’ll now examine how to develop a customer experience strategy.
In the first part of this blog series we asked what CX is. In summary, it’s all about your customers’ perception of your business or brand. This is based on all the experiences they’ve ever had with you during their customer journey.
So, when it comes to your customer experience strategy, the focus shifts to what plans you’ll put in place to deliver positive experiences. This needs to address every touchpoint of your customers’ journey, not just specific parts such as their customer service interactions. By measuring and analysing these experiences, you’ll put yourself in the best position to improve them moving forward.
Common customer experience metrics
While there are many available methods to help get a feel for the customer experience you’re delivering, you’ll only get the best insight with the right customer survey metrics captured at the point of experience.
When it comes to CX metrics the Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES) are the most common and effective metrics for measuring your customer experience.
By asking customers the question “How likely is it that you would recommend [our company] [our product] [our service] to a friend or colleague?” the NPS metric can measure how happy customers are by assessing their loyalty to a company or brand.
Similarly, you can also measure customer contentment using the CES and CSAT metrics, which assess how easy and satisfying customers find interacting with your brand.
Steps to creating a CX strategy
From boosting your understanding of customers and better equipping and training your staff, to investing in the right technologies and establishing processes that will allow you to better monitor, capture feedback and continuously improve your customer experience. Your customer experience strategy will provide the foundation for your ongoing programme of CX activities. So, it’s important to have some clear steps in place to get it running and operating smoothly and effectively.
Know your audience
Depending on how long your business has been operating you may have different degrees of understanding about your customers. However, whatever stage you’re at the better your customer understanding and the more you’ll be able to deliver the experiences they want.
Collecting and then segmenting your data are great starting points to improve your understanding of your target audience. Here are some questions you need to be asking yourself to get this information:
- Exactly who are my customers as individuals?
- What motivates them?
- Do you know what they want to achieve?
- What are the fundamental causes of satisfaction?
You can then start using this information to craft buying personas that match core target groups within your customer base.
Identify and map your customer touchpoints
While it’s critical to know your audience, it’s important to know where they’re interacting with you the most. It’s essential as this is where their perception about the customer experiences you’re delivering is most influenced.
From their initial website research, to their in-store interactions, purchase on your website or conversations with your customer support team. These customer touchpoints refer to the many interactions that can occur between your customers and your business throughout the customer journey.
To understand how well these interactions perform, you’ll need to identify where all your customer touchpoints are and map them. Once you have this, you can assess how each touchpoint is impacting your customer experience, the department’s responsible and what you should improve. This is vital if you’re to improve your overall levels of customer experience and ensure they are consistent everywhere.
Strengthen your teams’ knowledge and skills
To deliver a better and more consistent customer experience all your teams must perform better too. So, you need to look at what they currently have and how you can improve their knowledge and skills.
While some aspects may take longer to implement, such as workforce upskilling, others can be achieved much quicker. Knowledge about your products and services is a good example. Through better sharing of information and resources and in-house training, you can quickly bring everyone up to the right standard of knowledge about your products and services.
If you can do this, you should start to see a consistent improvement in the quality of your support.
Focus on simplicity
Technology is the next big area to focus on and the ease with which customers can interact with you will have a major impact on their customer experience.
Consider some of the past experiences you may have had with a business’s website, particularly from a smartphone or tablet. I’m sure you will have found ones where the website was difficult to navigate. And I bet you didn’t stick around for long in such instances?
In 2016, mobile internet usage surpassed desktop usage for the first time. Yet even though this is six years ago, some businesses still fail to make mobile optimisation a high priority. And it should be if you’re to provide a simple and seamless experience for customers and potential buyers.
To ramp up your businesses’ ease of use, you’ll also want to simplify your website navigation for all browser types.
Review and improve your customer experience technology
Having the right systems and tools in place will go a long way to helping you improve your customer experience. This is especially the case with tools that can make you more responsive and proactive.
Tools that encourage your customers to have greater interaction with you will also help. By prioritising tools that help you monitor customer behaviour, respond quicker and take proactive actions, you will be able to resolve customer issues faster and more effectively. Some good examples include.
By implementing live chat support into your digital channels, you’ll be able to deliver more immediate answers to any sales and support queries and help boost overall customer satisfaction rates. It will also help provide valuable insights throughout your customers’ journey, so you can provide a more personalised experience to further boost customer satisfaction.
Further customer engagement and personalisation can be achieved through co-browsing.
Here the customer service agent is able to collaborate directly with the customer through their browser. This can enable agents to more quickly and effectively help customers with any issues they may be struggling with, improving their customer experience.
Another less technical, but equally valuable way of improving your customer experience is to create a knowledge base. This gives customers the ability to help themselves without having to reach out to your team.
Besides offering resources about your products and services a knowledge base typically provides answers to frequently asked questions section. Not only does this help to reduce the workload on your support agents and free them up to answer more complex questions, but it can help customers find answers quicker.
Consider using more automation and AI
While you will always want to retain a human touch, sometimes automation and artificial intelligence can provide a boost, particularly if you’re a fast-growing business, need to maintain a 24/7 presence or manage extremely busy periods.
The AI chatbot is a good example of this. It can deal with really simple customer queries, then direct customers onto a human agent to answer more complex queries. Its benefits include.
By automating your customer support with a bot, you can engage customers with simple queries at any time of day. Chatbots are especially effective at managing FAQs when your support team is not available.
Low level support tickets
Chatbots are perfect for answering your lowest level support queries, helping to reduce the overall number of support requests raised.
Auto collect customer information
With an auto collect facility you can quickly gather crucial customer information such as name, age, email and more, for further analysis.
Unlike their human counterparts, chatbots are simpler to scale up your down to peaks and troughs in your support requirements.
Ongoing feedback collection and analysis
Finally, and most crucially, if you’re to fully understand and deliver what customers most want from your business, you need to ask and listen to them. And the best way to do this is to regularly survey your customers for their feedback.
From awareness and purchase to retention, repurchase and advocacy. By deploying a range of customer experience surveys at various points throughout the customer journey, you can check how customers feel about the experiences you’re delivering and make any improvements you need to make.
By automating this process with APIs and a range of bespoke integrations, you can ensure you trigger surveys at the right time and forward the resulting data to the people and critical systems that most need to know about them.
If you can do this your survey distribution, feedback collection, data analysis and subsequent improvements to your customer experience will be smoother and more effective.