We all know that customer experience is a critical aspect of running a successful and sustainable business. Understanding what impacts the customer experience will surely help you along the way towards creating a positively impactful experience, as well as the common pitfalls that could hurt your brand.
The two main touch points of customer experience are the products and the people. Do you sell things online? Are you selling a specific product? Does the customer interact with the product through an online app or website? If your business exists in any capacity online, you are interacting with your customer, and that interaction matters.
This may be obvious to some, but all PR isn’t good PR. Yes, it’s great for customers to engage with your brand, especially when your business is technology-based. But we live in a time where bad PR can spread like wildfire and burn a business to the ground.
As a business owner, it’s imperative to pay attention to the customer experience. If you don’t, you might still succeed; however, it might be a steeper hill to climb.
If you don’t offer a good customer experience, someone else will. Talk about immediate results. According to KISSmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a website page to load within 2 seconds, while 40% abandon the page if it takes longer than 3 seconds. That’s not a lot of time to make a first impression. A one-second delay on your webpage could reduce your conversion by 7%.
“If an E-Commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.” Let those profit margins sink in and then go test your website speed.
Social media users aren’t shy about sharing their positive experiences with a brand, and they definitely aren’t afraid to blast a company that disappointed them. Marketing and social media are two peas in a pod. If you pay for an ad, someone can leave a poor review right there on your ad for all to see. Sometimes, this is unavoidable because you can’t control what other people write. But you can control how you run your business, and make every effort to avoid or correct any mishaps along the way.
You have access to billions of people using social media, which is a pro and a con. Word-of-mouth is the most cost-effective use of your marketing budget and social media is one way to do that effectively, but proceed with caution and a plan.
Communication matters. The way you communicate with, and even more importantly, how you allow your customers to communicate with your brand, matters for the digital customer experience. Transparency builds trust, trust builds strong and loyal relationships. Without transparency, without a way for customers to effectively communicate with a business, you’re missing out on a prime opportunity to build real relationships through the customer journey.
Communication comes in the form of analyzing customer support tickets (and having a way for customers to communicate this kind of feedback), responding to feedback regardless of if it’s positive or negative, and keeping your eyes on churn rates if you offer subscription-based services.
The CEO of a company has the power to shape the trajectory of their company because they’re the boss! Sixty-four percent of CEOs who prioritize investing in CX believe that their company is more profitable than competitors who don’t prioritize the customer experience. They also believe that this focused attention on customer experience increases customer retention and increases sales. Some value customer retention more, while others value the sales more.
A CEO or CFO who isn’t committed to investing in customer experience is potentially missing out on sales, and missing out on key aspects of the digital customer journey. Many CEOs value what the customer has to say about their company, oftentimes making changes if the voices of the customers get loud enough, but those changes aren’t always easy or obvious.
Creating a positive customer experience is often at the top of every company’s priorities list, usually one of the top three priorities. But research conducted by Dentsu Aegis surveyed over 1000 CMOs worldwide found that customer experience priorities were set to drop over the next few years. What they’ve found is that customer experience is absolutely still a top priority, but other priorities are rising in the ranks because of shifting market trends.
Business transformation and innovation are becoming higher priorities for businesses, which means that they need to focus on the long-game. To focus on the long-game, though, they need to churn out results in the short-term. This creates a skills gap for marketing officers because their scope of work is growing to encompass areas that might not have anything to do with their specialty.
It’s common knowledge that creating a positive customer experience is critical for a sustainable business. Businesses are created to meet the needs of a specific problem, and those problems belong to the customers. If needs are getting met well, the business isn’t going to succeed. There are plenty of businesses out there that have pain points like poor customer service, the inability to easily end a subscription or account with certain apps or services, and other issues that result in a dissatisfied customer (and for valid reasons). What matters though, is listening to that feedback, tracking it, reading it, finding it in surveys, bounce rates, and other analytics that provide key information about when and why you’re losing a customer.
In today’s digital age, customers hold the power. Investing in and developing a customer experience strategy is just as critical now, maybe even more so, as it was pre-internet. Businesses can create a positive CX by implementing some of the following:
Build a customer journey map and buyers persona so that you can create dialogue around your brand that resonates with the people you are trying to sell it to. You aren’t just selling a product, especially when it comes to how Millenials and younger shop, you are attempting to build authentic relationships rooted in trust and transparency.
Identify your business’s biggest touchpoints and then try and solve them. You don’t have to solve every problem that your company has at once. Maybe you start by ensuring that your mobile site is responsive and user-friendly, checking that all of the features of desktop on available mobile as well. Maybe you create a form where customers can easily offer feedback or make suggestions on new product features.
Onboard customers (and employees) on how to use your product or service. If you’re selling online only, why should someone pick you over a competitor? Usability and intuitiveness fall under this category. If a customer is struggling to navigate the site or find the information they’re looking for, they’re going to look elsewhere unless you’ve got some killer word-of-mouth happening. If people are spreading the word about your product, they might offer up a little more patience. But at the same time, if people are raving about your business, it’s most likely user-friendly already. If it’s not, you better get on it or you’ll miss out on sales and customer retention.
Create an ecosystem with how you run your business. Sure, you can download software and use it to run your business. But if you are scaling up, and have thousands of touchpoints, several different departments full of employees, and you’re trying to do all of this with as little effort as possible, create an ecosystem. Your digital ecosystem might involve using software, a consultant, and a CRM to keep a single system of record.
Customer experience is a beast with many heads. Sometimes it can feel unmanageable and overwhelming to pour money and time into developing a solid CX strategy. But it’s imperative that any business who wishes to be sustainable does so. Customer experience is more than dollar signs. Customer experience is the testimonial, the mission, the reason behind your brand. It’s the why of a business actualized. Customer experience is a collaboration, a communication, between a brand and its customers. Do it right, and you’ll see higher revenue and greater customer retention. Do it wrong and you’ll be counting your dollars lost, possibly millions of them.