Of course you want each touch point to be a satisfying one — but evaluating individual interactions doesn’t give you the deeper understanding of the customer’s overall attitude.
Have you ever noticed customers drifting away and automatically assumed that your products or services are what need to be re-examined? Of course it’s important to make sure the items you’re selling are top-notch and well-priced, but the reason for churn can often be found in the customer experience your company provides. Harvard Business Review (HBR) researchers found that companies with specific strategies for optimizing customer experience reap a broad range of benefits. Their revenue increases, their employees stay more engaged, and their customers are happier. Gartner points out that “89% of companies surveyed plan to compete primarily on the basis of the customer experience by 2016.” Here are 10 customer strategies that can put your company at the front of its field.
1. Deliver Value Propositions Tailored to Each Customer Segment
You can use any number of segmentation methods for differentiating groups of customers from one another and then target your appeal to each of those groups. Analytics are the basis for this segmentation, and you can add your own creative indexing ideas to the analytic tools you use. The more you personalize your statements, the more intuitively pleasing the customer experience will become.
2. Design the Experience Around Customer Needs
First, you must have a thorough and deep understanding of what your customers need. Each segment and demographic group may have its own unique pain points, and these should form the basis for the functions you build into your customer experience. If your core design is driven by customer needs, you can be confident you’re headed in the right direction.
3. Focus on the Entire Customer Journey
Of course you want each touch point to be a satisfying one — but evaluating individual interactions doesn’t give you the deeper understanding of the customer’s overall attitude. The HBR researchers write, “Looking solely at individual transactions made it hard for the firm to identify where to direct improvement efforts.” As a matter of fact, satisfaction with individual customer interactions can actually work against organizational change, because the motivation is lacking. HBR urges business owners to gain a broad awareness of the customer’s whole journey across every channel and with every contact.
4. Combine Innovation With Repetition
You need to deliver a high-quality customer experience again and again, while also making an effort to innovate and improve as your digital transformation takes effect. There is a true art to discovering the sweet spot between providing fresh experiences and reliable quality, time after time.
5. Deliver a Consistent Experience Across All Channels
Whether your customers are interacting with your supply chain and delivery service or technical support, and whether the medium is email, mobile app or face-to-face interaction, your business needs to deliver consistent quality. Apply similar metrics and customer satisfaction tools to each channel through which you deliver an experience.
6. Listen to What Your Customers Have to Say
Inquiring about customers’ priorities and responses gives you the genuine feedback you need in order to make sure your product or service is still filling their needs. These people are your experts; all you have to do is tap into what they want and find out whether you are delivering that solution in the most pleasant possible way.
7. Make Your Brand Personal
People don’t feel as good when they are interacting with an abstract brand or company logo. Everyone wants to actually feel that there’s a person behind the transaction, and you need to make your transactions feel human to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction. Technology now allows highly personalized approaches, targeting individuals according to their preferences, past purchases, demographics and shopping histories.
8. Ensure That Your Employees Are Engaged
When the people who work for your company are excited by what they have to offer, their excitement is transmitted to your customers. In the same way that people enjoy themselves more at a party when the hosts are truly having fun, shoppers will respond to your employees’ nonverbal cues. If your employees find meaning in their work and feel that it represents their personal ideals, their dedication will make a tangible difference to everyone with whom they interact.
9. Be Customer-Centered, Not Technology-Centered
While emerging technology can provide solid benefits as well as flash and dazzle, you should make sure you’re not putting it at the center of your transactions. The digital experience you provide should enhance the customer’s’ pleasure in doing business with you rather than overshadow it. The best possible customer experience is still all about human give and take, rather than about what technology can do. With this goal in mind, remember to balance the enthusiasm of your IT department with the psychological insights of your marketing people.
10. Aim for Delight
Why not go beyond? Set a goal of not merely meeting customer need but actually giving rise to customer delight and building an identifiable tribal identity. Imagine your brand creating the kind of ferocious loyalty that leads people to have “Harley Davidson” permanently tattooed on their skin. Encourage every stakeholder to brainstorm truly innovative ideas that will set your organization in a class by itself. Building loyalty of this caliber is a long-term commitment, but that aspiration should become part of your organizational DNA.
When you develop an explicit strategy for crafting the finest possible customer experience, you can’t help but reduce churn and increase revenue. Customer experience consulting will help you identify how you can win that competition for your own benefit and that of your customers.