There are many moving parts in play when trying to explain, let alone execute, an exceptional customer experience. It truly takes a village and a good customer experience strategy to get things done effectively. Staying on top of your CX strategy is vital as customer behavior and digital channels of engagement continue to change how business is done.
But it’s easy to be overwhelmed even before you get started. How do you prioritize the endless list of online and offline opportunities within your customer journey? Take a breath— we’re here to help break things down for you.
Here’s an overview of what we’ll be covering in this article.
Let’s begin with what ‘customer experience’ means. The term refers to the sum of a customer’s perception of your business. It’s the result of every interaction they have, and the experience varies based on the extent of the exchange, who it’s with, and their general expectations before and after said interaction. Fortunately, there are many ways you can ensure each customer experience is consistently high in quality.
A ‘customer experience strategy’ is the actionable plan to deliver a meaningful, positive experience across every interaction between the customer and your brand.
Customer experience is increasingly recognized as a powerful means of differentiating your business from its competitors. That’s why about 83% of business decision-makers plan to increase their budgets to improve customer experience in 2023, according to Forrester.
Unlike variables such as price or product range, customer experience becomes your consistent, unshakeable competitive advantage by creating opportunities for strong, resilient customer relationships over time.
Your CX strategy impacts customer retention:
Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” His statement strikes the core impact of having a customer experience strategy: mitigating customer churn. 74% of consumers are likely to buy based on experiences alone and it’s hard to earn back trust once lost.1
Customer experience strategy helps scale revenue growth:
Secondly, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers.2 Why? That’s because better, more consistent experiences forge deeper loyalties. Loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase again and four times more likely to refer the company to people they know and work with.3
Step 1: Understand your customer needs and journeys
The first step to developing a customer experience strategy is identifying and charting out all the customer-facing components that impact your customer experience.
Who are your customers? What do they need? What are their goals, challenges, and pain points? How do your customers contact you? What forms can communication take? What creates good and bad experiences?
Start by identifying the distinct segments within your customer base and creating detailed customer personas for each of these segments. Then, map out the detailed, end-to-end journeys across different processes or departments, covering multiple customer touch points within your company.
Remember, the overall customer experience you provide is a culmination of the various interactions your customers have with different teams of your organization.
Step 2: Define your company’s customer experience vision
As important as it is to know customer expectations and needs, it’s equally essential to align your CX strategy with your overall organizational goals and vision.
What is your company’s vision? How do you hire front-line employees? What internal processes interact with the customer experience? What is your customer support philosophy?
Knowing the answers to these questions enables you to prioritize and define the customer experience objectives contributing to your company’s overarching business goals. Float your CX vision, priorities, and goals across your company so that all your employees are invested in offering great customer experiences.
Step 3: Identify relevant CX metrics to track progress
Once your CX priorities and goals are defined, articulate what success should look like when your customer experience strategy is implemented. Customer experience metrics and KPIs allow you to measure, follow up, and review the impact of your CX strategy. A few commonly used CX metrics include,
– Net Promoter Score (NPS) gauges customer loyalty and advocacy by measuring customers’ likelihood of recommending your product or service.
– Customer Effort Score (CES) tracks how effortless it is for customers to interact with your business.
Related resource: 25+ Vital customer experience metrics
Step 4: Assess and optimize your CX technology stack
Review your existing processes and tools to see which of them are hindering or helping you achieve your customer experience goals. Determine the tangible value you reap from these tools and see if trimming, upgrading, or investing in new customer experience management tools will empower your team to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
#1 Invest in an omnichannel experience
Adobe research determined that companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies enjoy a 10% Y-O-Y growth, a 10% increase in average order value, and a 25% increase in close rates.4
Simply offering multiple channels for customers to contact you isn’t enough. You also need to provide consistent customer support across channels using historical context without having customers repeat themselves when switching between two channels.
An omnichannel help desk can make this goal easier. Find customer information easily with a 360-view of all their engagement and respond to different channels from a single page without switching tabs.
#2 Make self-service your first line of defense
According to a Freshworks study, 76% of consumers globally prefer to ﬁrst try to solve issues on their own before contacting support. So, empowering them to help themselves with the right information should be a priority in your digital customer experience strategy.
- Launch an intuitive knowledge base with FAQs and help guides
- Set up community forums that enable customers to help themselves
- Deploy AI chatbots that offer instant resolutions
#3 Offer speedy customer service
Nearly 50% of consumers expect a response to social media questions or complaints within an hour, with 18% expecting an immediate response.5 To meet or exceed these expectations, it’s critical to implement technology that helps customer service teams deliver quality support, quickly.
For example, deploying agent-facing AI and automation helps offer faster resolutions with contextual assistance that makes agents better at their jobs. When you’re using a modern help desk, there are many different ways you can reply faster, without needing to hire more agents:
- Automate ticket assignment with rule-based routing
- Create canned responses and combine tickets for similar queries
- Customize ticket views for agents based on the issue type and their urgency
#4 Create personalized customer experiences
A good customer experience strategy has a big positive impact on your sales. 49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience.6 Being able to personalize every interaction makes each customer feel cared for. To do so:
- Use a help desk that offers agents complete context of prior support interactions, so they can deliver personalized care, rather than asking customers for information they’ve already provided.
- Gather information from prior customer interactions for targeted messages and upselling opportunities.
- Use third-party integrations to leverage your customers’ behavioral data for marketing and product-related messages.
#5 Take your customers’ voice seriously with feedback surveys
Only one out of every 26 customers is likely to bring up their complaints directly to you.7 The other 25 customers will simply take their business elsewhere without a word. Be proactive with surveys, web forms, or Net Promoter Score (NPS) programs, read through their comments, suggestions, and opinions to see what they expect from you.
Future-proof your customer experience by keeping a finger on the pulse of your customers’ desires, even as they are constantly evolving.
Take Adidas, for example. The company began pouring resources into creating a customized customer experience by personalizing its digital messaging and content based on insights from customer data, user engagement, and customer feedback. Through this lens, they discovered a desire from their customers for more sustainable goods. This led Adidas to begin producing shoes from ocean waste, selling 1 million pairs in just one year.8
By investing in a customer feedback-first CX strategy, you can change your company’s growth trajectory and even establish yourself as a frontrunner in the field.
Related resource: The Freshdesk-Opinyin integration to gather feedback by tracking customer sentiment from support tickets
Here are a few examples of how peers combine data from online and offline CX initiatives to create a compelling customer experience strategy.
After experiencing petering growth in the early 2000s, Microsoft partnered with B2B customers, sharing best practices and building new products. As a result, Microsoft not only got the boost it needed, but it democratized access to the type of technology that empowered businesses and their teams to get the job done right.
Microsoft also began to invest more in its social media presence. Currently, they have a strong presence on Twitter with multiple accounts dedicated to various themes, including careers, development, events, security, and, of course, customer service. By utilizing social media in this way, Microsoft’s customers can interact and engage with nearly every aspect of the brand.
The takeaway: Ask questions through social media platforms using polls, surveys, chats, and forums. Seek constant feedback to get a 360-degree view of your customer’s journey as it evolves— not just after the initial interaction— so that you can learn the where, when, and the why touchpoints are to renovate current or initiate new processes.
Airbnb is, arguably, the epitome of personalized customer experiences because they have a firm grip of the two different types of customers in their industry — those looking to rent out their place and those looking for a place to stay. As a result, Airbnb has exponentially simplified the search experience for both audiences by providing them both on the same platform.
The takeaway: Don’t be afraid to let your customers lead. Understand that your customers do not exist within a binary and that there might be other essential use cases for you to offer service. Keep your eyes ever-peeled for potential opportunities to do so.
#3 Casper Mattress
The already ingenious grandfather of the delivered-right-to-your-door mattress company struck innovation again in 2016 when they created a free chatbot for insomniacs with the initiative to “make 3 A.M. a little less lonely.” By texting “Insomnobot3000,” customers can talk to the chatbot about whatever is on their mind, offering them a real conversation. But wait, there’s more.
The Insomnobot3000 option isn’t just for helping insomniacs get to sleep. Through the chatbot, Casper can collect data and send promotional offers and discounts. After the first year of the chatbot’s launch, Casper pulled in $100 million in sales.
The takeaway: Make it easy for customers to connect with you on their channel of choice and humanize the customer experience as you do so.
Go forth and strategize
As you can see, there is no exact right way to go about creating a customer experience strategy, but there are definite patterns to help your brand become more successful.
Listen to your customers and seek constant feedback, not just after the initial interaction.
Cultivate a healthy sense of company pride by taking a people-first approach so your employees like what they do, and exceed expectations in delighting your customers to forge stronger customer loyalty and lifetime value.
Taking these touchstones into account, you will surely create a successful customer experience strategy that guarantees long-term profitability.