We hear the terms "customer experience" and "CX" everywhere, but what do they really mean?
John Foley from Oracle defines customer experience as “the idea that businesses can use everything they know about a customer to personalize and maximize the transaction at every touchpoint and across business channels – in the store, on the phone, online, and via social media and mobile.” Greg Gianforte from RightNow Technologies, Inc. defines customer experience as “the sum total of all interactions that customers have with a brand, and the perception they form as a result.” Superoffice makes it even simpler. “Customer experience is your customers’ perception of how the company treats them.”
Though customer experience is a general term, there’s a reason we hear it so often – it’s what makes businesses competitive in a market rife with options:
72 percent of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people.
86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience
Businesses that deliver better customer experiences obtain revenues between 4 and 8 percent above their market.
Do you have a handle on your customer experience? Ask yourself these four questions to see if your customer experience passes the test.
Have you drafted a customer journey map?
A customer journey map is a diagram that illustrates each stage a customer must go through to conduct a transaction with your business. It can include the research phase, purchasing, onboarding, customer support, repeat purchases, and even exiting to a competitor. Once completed you’re provided with a visual of what your customers overall experience.
The more steps it takes for a customer to accomplish something, the more opportunity you have to improve upon their journey. Or on the inverse, you may even identify some holes in your customer journey map need addressing. Ask yourself, can any of these be removed? How can I make this easier on the customer? Can I empower my employees to make this process a better experience for the customer?
Are you accessible?
How long does it take for someone to reach you? Is someone from your company available around the clock? Do you offer omnichannel support? Depending on your industry, your customers may expect 24/7 coverage and they definitely expect to reach you in a multitude of ways including phone, email, live chat and social media.
Also, if you provide phone support make sure your phone system is configured to get callers to the right place the first time. Eighty-nine percent of customers get frustrated because they need to repeat their issues to multiple representatives. And if you do provide live chat as a communication platform, make sure it’s properly staffed and opt to have it disappear as an option when it’s not.
Do you know your customers and their expectations?
Who are your customers? What do they expect from you? You may think you have an adequate understanding of your customers and their expectations, but they can change on the daily. Expectations have increased – digital customers expect online responses in minutes and 75 percent of consumers say it’s absolutely critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who is available when they need them.
Your best resource to learn about your customers and their expectations is your frontline. Your employees speak with your potential customers, your happy customers, and your angry customers all day long. They know what turns potential customers into happy customers and what turns happy customers into angry customers and it might just have something to do with your customer experience.
Does your frontline know the strategy?
Your customer experience strategy is only as good as your employees’ execution of the strategy. To become engaged in a customer experience strategy your employees must first buy in. Do you invest in the training and the tools for your staff to be confident in handling customer concerns before they become issues? Are they incentivized to stick to the strategy? Is there open communication between you and your frontline to allow for important feedback?
Establishing a customer-centric culture in your organization is the best way to turn your ideal customer experience into reality. Engaged employees who receive the appropriate tools and consistent training are your best brand ambassadors.
Does your customer experience pass the test? Do you have room for improvement? The best place to start is by drawing up a customer journey map and by gathering customer and employee feedback. Though acquiring customer communication can take a lot of effort, the rewards are worthwhile. A good customer experience not only retains your current customers, it helps you grow your customer base and even revenue through upselling and customer referrals.