Customer Experience Guide: How to Put your Customers First?
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Most brand owners hold the opinion that it is products, services, and its features that differentiate good from the top-notch brands. But, the truth is entirely different. Customers, along with the prospects, remember brands after the overall impressions they get from them.
Moreover, the latest study from Gartner shows that 81% of the companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of seamless customer experience in the next couple of years.
On the other hand, brand owners talk about customer experience through the list of buzzwords such as customer service, customer engagement, customer satisfaction, customer success. But, seamless customer experience from the user’s perspective is all of the above plus more. Much much more.
To empower growth, brands need to deep scan their current business and adapt the universal rules of good CX to their customers and their industry. Hint: No CX in the world should be the same. What works well for the SaaS companies, will not be a good fit for IT hardware companies selling online.
Hold tight because today, we are going to demystify the 8 steps brands need to go through to provide a seamless customer experience in the digital era. But first, let’s talk about what seamless customer experience is.
What is Seamless Customer Experience?
Most simply put, seamless customer experience is being there for your current and future customers when they want it and most importantly, where they want it. Whether it’s a follow-up phone call, fast response via chat on your website, or answering a comment on social media. You should be there when they ring the ‘I’m interested in your product’ bell.
Moreover, your brand identity, brand tone of voice and brand overall should be instantly recognizable and consistent towards your customers, no matter the device or platform.
Sounds simple, right? Getting there, however, takes a lot of practice and refinement. But, the reward is amazing – loyal customers and steady growth towards plenty of more.
What is the Difference Between User Experience and Customer Experience?
Both user experience and customer experience reflect in customer loyalty and company growth. Although, they are different and unique, they must work together for a company to grow steadily.
User experience (UX) is oriented towards the individual interactions a user has with a company on a specific topic. In short, UX deals with users user’s interaction with a product, service, website or an app.
Customer experience (CX) on the other hand, is focused on the overall experience that a customer has with a company. CX is an umbrella concept that encompasses all the channels, products and platforms within the same brands, and how the user feels about them.
If you want to know more about the difference between UX and CX, read our article!
Why Seamless Customer Experience Matters?
If we follow the definition of customer experience by the book, where CX is described as the sum of all the interactions between a customer and an organization, including the discovery, service and advocacy, we come to the conclusion that good CX equals growth!
Good customer experience not only results in making your customers happy but will also lead to growth in revenue. The best marketing that money can buy is a customer who will promote the business to their friends, family, colleagues – free of charge.
Furthermore, customer centric brands listen to their audience and respond to their wishes both with good customer experience and in marketing content. Using feedback from their customers, brands even refine their products and services.
Every stage of the customer journey matters and reflects in customer loyalty. Let’s explore the concept of customer experience.
Customer experience concept: Customer Journey
Seamless customer experience is all about the interactions. Going beyond that, customer experience is also about availability (Touchpoints), and the depth of the ongoing interactions and impressions – engagement.
Before you head out and turn every stone to find out where you’re losing your future and current customers, take a look at the three elements that make the core of customer experience.
- Touchpoints – What is the momentum when a customer comes in contact with your brand, or is exposed to your brand?
- Customer Interactions – What is the communication process between a brand and a company? Is it a two-way street?
- Engagement – What is the depth of the engagement?
To make the customer experience more tangible, let’s go through the elements with an example of Paldesk, an omnichannel company:
Touchpoints – Among all our social networks and marketplaces, as a SaaS company we have reached out to important business software reviewing websites such as Capterra.
Among Paldesk, there are a lot of other different omnichannel software companies customers can choose from. When a person sees Paldesk on Capterra, peer review site, and even if he doesn’t actually buy the product, he has been exposed to our brand! That’s a touchpoint!
Customer Interactions – Most marketers get confused while differentiating terms customer interaction and customer engagement. While both mean basically the same, the term engagement entitles a commitment or agreement to act.
In practice, customer interaction on our Capterra page could be a message from our potential user. Customer engagement, on the other hand, is when we start the two-way communication and our technical team commits to hosting a demo for the customer.
Read our article on how to make every customer interaction count!
Customer Engagement – Aside from actually buying the product, the engagement of our customers on Capterra can be also to sign-up for a free trial or to watch our webinar on the omnichannel topic, downloading an ebook. All of that shows that our customer is engaged and is showing some kind of commitment to action.
Good customer experience strategy is designed both for customers who have shown the first level of customer engagement by signing up to learn more about the product, and those who upgraded their service with more features.
Learn more about how to drive customer engagement.
Seamless Customer Experience Rule no. 1: Get you Know your Audience & Buyer Personas
People come from different backgrounds, experiences, issues, and mindsets. It is essential to realize that your audience is not numbers, but real people with real needs and problems to solve. To design new products, service and seamless customer experience for them, you need to understand them first.
Follow these two steps to get a better understanding of your audience:
- Make a profile of users that your customer service agents deal with each day
- Compare it with the insights from your industry (there are a lot of helpful free resources online) and your own company analytics if you have it
- When you have gathered sufficient information, create several of buyer personas (their age, social status, hobbies..)
- To maximize the effectiveness of your research, translate your John Doe into a real life person with emotions, needs, aspirations.
Take the beautiful example from Spotify that used their buyer personas in their advertising strategy.
Still haven’t created your buyer persona, do it now with the help of our guide.
Seamless Customer Experience Rule no. 2: Create Clear Business Objectives
It is easier to walk the path when you know your destination, right? The same rule is applicable in the creation of seamless customer experience. Do you want to enter a new market? Do you want to generate more email leads? How do you see your brand in 2 years?
If you are familiar with your business objectives, and you mix and match it with the research of your buyer personas and audience, you will have a clear overview of how customer experience strategy should look like. Your silver lining should always be the same – happy customer!
List out your business objectives, both short-term and long term and take a look at these questions that will help you out in creating seamless user experience strategy:
What technology, processes, and manpower do you need to fulfill your business objectives using the customer experience strategy?
What are (and are there) gaps between customer experience and customer expectations?
What are the internal processes regarding customer support and customer experience so far? How do they support your customer experience strategy and how to change them to fit a new strategy?
What tools can you use to support your CX strategy? Going omnichannel with the help of live chat software such as Paldesk is always a good idea.
Got your answers? Good, now you have all it takes to create a customer journey map.
Seamless Customer Experience Rule no. 3: Design Customer Journey Map
When building a customer experience strategy, marketers tend to get lost in the details and miss the bigger picture. Customer experience has its technical aspects of touchpoints, tools and softwares. But, it is more important to get the upper hand on the entire customer experience, rather than bits of information and numbers. Designing a customer journey map is one way to do it.
Customer journey map is a story marketers design to provide insights into the customer’s journey. This journey is not designed to represent a 100% accurate experience with all its nuances. Consider it rather as an archetype that represents the fundamentals of complexity that a real journey is. In other words, customer journey map will not demonstrate the customer experience 100% accurately. But, it will help out designers, managers, copywriters and marketers walk in customer’s shoes, better.
Another way to understand the customer journey mapping is through buyer personas that you’ve created in step number one. But, unlike buyers personas where you have created a set of interests, hobbies and details in relation to your users, customer journey mapping is focused more on tasks and questions users have while traveling your brand path. Over time, customer journey map will be expressing the overall experience of a customer, rather than a snapshot. A buyer persona is focused more on the person, while a customer journey map is focused on their overall experience.
Creating customer journey takes more effort and time. That is why people often produce fewer of them, for each of the primary audiences.
Learn how to create a customer journey map with the help of our guide.
Seamless Customer Experience Rule no. 4: What is the Experience you Want to Deliver?
Steve Jobs, an Apple brand guru and a customer experience visionary said: begin with the customer experience and work backward to the technology.
Reverse engineering or working backwards is a method designed to focus on the customers needs! Rather than pointing out the technology itself, put the accent to what benefits this technology brings to the table, and what real-life problems does it solve.
Let’s take the new iPhone for example and the wireless headset feature. While it may come as a great technology advancement, the customer might still question why this feature even exists? However, when you start with the need – for example ‘I want to listen to music without the wire-hustle’ – the benefits immediately become more obvious, and the product itself, sounds more appealing.
In essence, working backwards methodology will result in features and product that will always hold the intrinsic value to the customer because they are deeply rooted in solving a specific problem And if you are creating a customer centric brand, that is of the utmost importance.
Seamless Customer Experience Rule no. 5: Go Omnichannel
If you want to provide a seamless customer experience, omnichannel support is not an option but a necessity. Omnichannel customer experience funnels all the customer interactions to one dashboard – your omnichannel software provider.
Try Paldesk for free and get ahead of your omnichannel game!
Users can get in touch with you using different devices and channels, but to provide them with the same level of care on each of those platforms, is the mission of the omnichannel. Using software such as Paldesk, your communication touchpoints – both offline and online, become one!
Without going fully omnichannel, customers can find themselves getting transferred from one agent to another, or even worse – from one communication channel to another without any previous track of their interactions. Omnichannel enables you to stay on top of the communication and more importantly, to track the progress of your customers.
Learn how to create an omnichannel strategy!
Seamless Customer Experience Rule no. 6: Cross-Department Collaboration
Being omnichannel implies that company is available on many different channels. Including, email, phone, social media, third party retail websites, in store. Take a look at it from the company structure perspective – all of those people work in different departments and have different tasks. On the other hand, all of them are creating customer experience on behalf of your brand.
In order to create a seamless user experience, your need to uniform the company values and translated it to your employees. Moreover, each and every one of your employees needs to be familiar with your brand, products or services to solve customer inquiries with ease.
Seamless Customer Experience Rule no 7: Request Feedback and Act on it!
If you want to know what your customers think of your company or business – ask them! Use website feedback form to engage with them and find out more about the experience with your brand. Moreover, you can ask engaging questions to inspire people to share more about themselves and their work and life habits.
Read more on how to gather quality feedback in our blog pos: Voice of the Customer: How to Generate User Feedback?
Seamless Customer Experience Rule no. 8: Eliminate Bad Design
The visual appeal of your website or an app is definitely important. But, what is more important for the digital driven customers is the overall customer experience design .
Customers are reaching your company from different channels. Also, they are surfing your website, purchasing within the app, visiting your social media pages from different platforms and using the different devices. With so many options available, those customers could be just one bad experience away from leaving you – forever.
Customer experience design puts the customer first. Therefore, the design of the product, service and everything coming from the brand is focused on the quality, usefulness and benefits for the customer. Using the customer experience design, you can plan each and every stage of your customer experience – from discovery to purchase and advocacy.
No CX Should Be The Same
Providing seamless customer service will create loyal customers for life creates loyal customers for life. Those customers are willing to refer your business to family, friends, and colleagues. The result? Increases service advertising and the company achieves better results.
We all know that excellent customer service converts to happy customers. According to statistics, 81% of consumers will be interested in re-cooperating with the company after satisfying customer experience.
Good customer experience is depending on CX optimization. Read our article and refine your CX!
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