Improving your customer experience strategy has become an important aspect of modern business.
The first thing to note is that customer experience is not the same as customer service. Customer service is one part of the customer experience, which begins with a prospect’s first impression of your brand and ends long after the buyer’s journey.
Traditionally, customer experience has always been secondary to considerations of price and quality, but recent indications suggest the dial could be shifting towards CX being a—if not the—primary factor of persuasion for consumers.
87% of organizations agree traditional experiences no longer satisfy the needs and expectations of customers today.
Why Is Customer Experience Strategy So Important?
It’s a combination of factors, mostly driven by ubiquitous smartphone use among consumers, more effective AI applications, and a rapid increase in big data which when utilized well can provide enormous opportunities for businesses.
Customers share an expectation towards businesses, largely driven by digital trend-setters who have gone above and beyond to set themselves apart from competitors with great personalized customer experiences.
Over three-quarters (76%) of customers expect companies to have an understanding of what they want and to tailor their service accordingly.
Because of these expectations, improving customer experience strategies has become an essential task for even the smallest businesses.
Ways to Improve Your Business’ Customer Experience
Improving your customer experience isn’t as difficult as you might be led to believe, and by employing the right strategy and technology implementations, you can make some big inroads into being able to deliver a stellar CX for your customers and prospects.
Here’s six things you can put into your strategy today to get yourself on the up and up.
Use a chatbot
If you don’t already have a chatbot implemented on your site, you may consider getting one.
Chatbots are a quick and effective way of dealing with customers, who are not nearly as negatively predisposed to them as you might imagine.
In fact, there is plenty of evidence supporting the notion that chatbots are very well received by consumers—particularly those belonging to the Millennial and Gen Z demographics.
8 out of 10 of consumers who have engaged with a chatbot report it as an overall positive customer experience.
Chatbots are designed for the most part to answer relatively simple questions that would otherwise be answered by a customer service agent.
This means their primary use should be to efficiently and quickly answer a query—businesses will typically assess the most common customer service questions when developing their bot and incorporate those.
Everybody wins with chatbots; service staff aren’t inundated with routine questions and customers get their answers quickly without having to make a phone call, improving their satisfaction.
Take an omnichannel approach
Taking an omnichannel approach in your customer experience strategy means using all the tools available to you to connect with customers.
Social media, email, text, website—CX-savvy businesses will engage users across all their channels in order to provide a positive experience and build great relationships with them.
This doesn’t just mean putting your marketing campaigns on all your channels—though that is a good way of fostering engagement.
Companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omni-channel strategies.
It means giving customers a consistent personalized experience based on where they are in the buyer’s journey.
The data you gather across your channels for campaigns will help you determine which approaches work best with which customers, and you can then adjust your approach to them accordingly.
One of the most common forms of an omnichannel approach is offering an app for customers to use.
Not only does this mean that they’re happier using a dedicated app rather than accessing your site through a slower browser, it also means you’ll be getting a steady stream of data and information about users—their service or product preferences, feedback they’ve given, and of course other aspects like their user experience for your app.
You can then use this data to target them via other channels while keeping your tone and messaging consistent.
If you’ve ever had a business send you an email about items still in your cart from an ecommerce site, then you’ve been on the receiving end of a simple but effective omnichannel approach.
Use a CRM
If you’re not already using a CRM, there’s no better time than the present to get one.
CRMs are extremely useful tools for improving your customer experience strategy.
We mentioned before that taking an omnichannel approach is useful for gathering data and then utilizing that data to create personalized, memorable experiences for customers.
A CRM is the centralized database you need to implement to effectively gather that information and analyze it to develop actionable insights on the strengths and weaknesses of your strategy.
Overall CRM usage jumped from 56% to 74% last year and usage is expected to increase further.
This means you can manage relationships with customers more effectively, with detailed information about individual customers’ journeys, their interactions with you, order history, service support history, and more.
You can provide a significant boost to the customer experience you provide by segmenting your contact list based on the data you have, allowing you to better target individuals with your campaigns according to their history with you.
Engage, engage, engage
This cannot be stressed enough when it comes to customer experience, but engagement is and should always be your priority as a business.
There’s a reason job postings on LinkedIn for Social Media Managers have increased 1000% over the last decade—interacting with customers on social media is an essential component of providing a positive customer experience.
Most companies today will have a social media coordinator to engage with customers, and it’s important for SMBs to recognize that no company is too small to have a presence on social channels.
83% of people who sent a Tweet to a company and received a response felt better about the company and were more likely to do business with them.
Talk to your prospects and customers—answer their questions, engage with them on special days, use them as a resource for feedback on your products and services.
By engaging with users on social media, not only will you be helping provide a better customer experience, you’ll be presenting your brand as a company that truly does care for its customers, increasing the chances of retention and positive word-of-mouth.
Optimize your site for mobile
Mobile is becoming more important every year for businesses and consumers.
63% of all online traffic in the United States comes from mobile devices.
While desktop still rules when it comes to total time spent online, mobile traffic accounts for almost two-thirds of all internet traffic in the US.
This is largely as a result of consumers using their phones as a quick point of reference whenever they need to look something up.
This is also where your website becomes of vital importance. Your site is your prospects’ first impression of who you are as a company, and modern consumers don’t take kindly to sites that aren’t optimized for mobile.
57% of customers won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
If your site is slow, not loading uniformly, or otherwise offers a poor customer experience, they’re likely to abandon it and go to a competitor’s site instead.
Make sure your site runs smoothly on mobile, and if you need any more incentive, then Google’s new algorithm (launching May 2021) is specifically designed to reward websites with good mobile user experiences while penalizing those that don’t.
Improving your customer experience strategy could well be the key competitive differentiator between you and rival businesses.
CX has become more important than ever, yet there are a surprising number of organizations who don’t have a clear and consistent strategy for providing customers with the personalized, streamlined journey they desire.
By implementing some of these core aspects of a customer experience strategy, SMBs can start getting their CX plans on track and reap the rewards of a customer base that is invested and satisfied with the experience provided.
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