What is customer experience (CX)? In short, the customer experience encompasses every interaction a brand has with its customers. It is a composite of every human or non-human way you encounter the brand and how those shape your perception of a business.
Delivering a great customer experience paves the way for business success. Satisfied customers who promote your brand to their friends, family, and peers are invaluable. Moreover, if you deliver a stellar customer experience and you’ll generate loyal brand advocates who share their experience with the world.
This amounts to free advertising, and word-of-mouth promotion is the best type of advertising there is. Survey data from Nielsen shines some light on this often-misunderstood concept. Consider this: 83% of consumers trust product and brand recommendations from personal acquaintances more than any other type of promotion. You get there by focusing heavily on customer experience.
What is customer experience exactly?
Unfortunately, there is no official definition of “customer experience.” But we can give you the SmartKarrot definition…
Aside from what we mentioned above, the customer experience encompasses everything that influences your perception of a brand. Every touchpoint, every phone call, every email, every support call, even the aesthetic quality of your logo.
It is a holistic, all-encompassing combination of all the above, although you likely ascertained that from the name itself. There are many variables involved in CX; it’s a more complicated and important concept than many people realize.
It defines your business success or lack thereof. That’s why delivering great customer experience is so important. This begs the question: How do you deliver a great customer experience?
Below we delve into the topic to unpack it by answering four common questions. The answers to these questions will help explain what CX is, what it does, and how to deliver a great one. Here are those four questions:
- How do I measure customer experience?
- How do I improve customer experience?
- What is customer experience management?
- What causes a bad customer experience?
How to measure customer experience
There are many ways to measure the quality of the customer experience you deliver. Let’s dive in.
Evaluate customer satisfaction survey results
Use customer satisfaction surveys periodically—particularly after meaningful moments throughout the customer journey. Responses will provide actionable insight into your customers’ experience interacting with your brand.
An indirect way to gauge customer experience quality is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS measures how likely your customers are to promote your brand or product to their friends, family, and colleagues. NPS is actually intended to measure customer satisfaction. But customer experience largely determines satisfaction levels and can indicate the quality of CX.
Analyze customer churn rates and reasons
Regularly measure the amount and percentage of customers you lose and analyze each case to understand why you lost them. This helps you determine whether your loss rate (or customer churn rate) is increasing or decreasing. It also provides insight into why you lose customers.
It’s important to learn from customer churn analysis so you can prevent it in the future. Discover the reasons for customer churn and identify actions your team can take in the future to minimize it.
Check on customer support tickets
Examine the customer support tickets your support reps are working to resolve every day. If there are recurring issues among tickets, consider possible reasons behind them so you can solve for them.
How to improve customer experience
Many tactics are used to improve the customer experience–too many to list here. But, below are a few of the most effective:
Value the customer’s time
Businesses measure customer experience on various parameters. Forrester Research found that a whopping 77% of consumers say valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service.
To deliver the best customer experience possible, begin by anticipating customers’ needs and challenges, goals, and pain points. It’s also important to quickly respond to support tickets and give customers multiple channels through which to submit tickets.
Empathy to the rescue
Maintain constant contact with your customers. Talking to them, using empathy, and listening to their problems illustrates to them that you care. This comes from understanding your customer and their needs. The best way to effectively do that is through the use of customer relationship and customer success management technology.
PRO TIP: Practice active listening. Listen to customers and proactively uncover their worries and aspirations. If you solve a problem for them before they realize they have that problem, you’re delivering world-class customer experience.
Keep the human touch intact
Chatbots can answer basic customer queries, but that’s the extent of their ability (today). They lack the ability to think critically, which, as of now, is limited to humans and perhaps a few other animals. Bots can tell customers your business hours or connect you with a live person, but they can’t answer complex questions.
What about customer experience management?
Customer experience management (CXM) is the process of surveying, analyzing, and enhancing customer interactions with your business. Customer experience management is a fundamental component of a customer-first strategy because it demonstrates a clear investment in customer needs. By monitoring and enhancing different touchpoints along the customer journey, your company will consistently bring more value to users.
It’s true that new customers want to see quick results when purchasing a product or service. But compromising on quality or value can result in the loss of existing customers. The objective of CXM is to care for customers and tend to their needs via CXM initiatives that reduce customer churn.
What causes a bad customer experience?
What constitutes a poor customer experience varies depending on your business and its customers’ unique needs. The best way to understand how, when, and why you’re delivering a poor CX is to solicit customer feedback. Once you collect enough feedback to base decisions on, you can work to eliminate the impact of factors leading to a poor CX.
Here are a few tips to consider:
- Avoid long wait times. When customers must wait hours or days for you to return their email or call, satisfaction levels begin to plummet.
- Ensure employees understand customer needs. Place yourself in your customers’ shoes to really understand their point of view.
- Don’t leave open issues or questions unresolved. This can have detrimental impacts on the quality of your customer experience. Circle back to them and ensure that they aren’t disappointed with your service.
- Avoid letting automation replace the human touch. Do not try to dig in a lot into their personal space. On the other hand, do not present a cold or stoic attitude either. Above all, maintain a balance between respect and genuine interest in customers’ needs.
- Be diplomatic with angry customers. Agreed, a customer is not always right. Read this article to learn how to handle them the right way.
To sum up, managing the customer experience can be tricky. Regardless, it is one of the most important aspects of business success today. The voice of the customer is highly important and provides valuable insight that drives business and revenue growth.
If you’re not focused on the customer experience today, yesterday is the right time to start. In other words, act now or be left in the wake of those riding the wave of success.
Want to continue learning and honing your ability to deliver a stellar customer experience? Read about creating a personalized, multichannel customer experience that keeps customers satisfied, loyal, and hungry for more.