CX strategies that will last after the outbreak
Customer behaviour and engagement preferences have changed drastically over the last couple of years. Customers have become much more demanding and selective about the tools they use than ever before.
It’s no longer a piece of cake for businesses to gain a competitive advantage. Unless the management is putting extra thought both into the product they market and the after-care services they provide alongside it, the chances to stand out are thin.
To adapt to the changing situation, businesses must adjust the way they communicate with clients, reviewing the strategies they use to establish robust connections and guide them throughout the customer journey. This trend already emerged in the pre-coronavirus business world. Post-pandemic, however, it has accelerated. This calls for rapid and persistent changes.
Customer churn has always been a problem. In the current situation, preventing it becomes a top priority. During lockdown season, many companies were forced to embrace new customer experience (CX) strategies to survive the pandemic. They have proven to be useful for retaining customers, improving customer experience, and achieving higher customer lifetime value and customer growth.
So, they should be carried over to the post-pandemic world.
A shift from customer support to customer success
Customer support has traditionally been the most crucial part of the customer experience. Today, it’s not enough to simply support your customers anymore; you need to be genuine advocates for their business growth. The hottest customer experience strategy in the post-pandemic world is customer success.
Just like its predecessor, customer success focuses on ensuring customer satisfaction and correct usage of a product. However, it stretches beyond just fixing problems, adding product value to the customer. Customer success is proactive, while customer support is reactive.
When following a customer success model, a customer success team doesn’t just wait for a problem to occur so that they can solve it promptly and effectively. In fact, problem-solving is a customer success team’s last resort. Instead, they do everything possible to make sure there aren’t any problems in the first place.
A thorough understanding of a customer’s practical needs lies in the foundation of customer success. As a customer success manager, you must know what your customers expect from the product they purchase and give them advice on how to utilise it productively.
You can start practising customer success by implementing these practices.
Reach out to users and get to know how their product usage is getting on.
Run assessment calls to show how to use the product effectively.
Store all customer requests, aggregate them, prioritize them, regularly discuss with the product team or relevant department, and provide feedback for these requests.
Customer success is irreplaceable adding value to your products, increasing brand loyalty, and driving customer retention.
Implementation of a conversational experience
Conversational experience is the process of maintaining a continuous conversation between the business and its customers by enabling one-to-one communication at every stage of a customer’s interaction with the product.
Conversational experience can help in many ways.
It increases customer retention. With so many products available on the market, it’s more challenging to foster customer loyalty than ever. At the first sight of a minor inconvenience, customers are ready to give up, even on the brands they have a history with. 1 in 3 customers would never buy from the brand they love again after having just one negative experience with them. 92% of them would look for alternatives after the second or third faulty interaction. It’s vital to make sure you are easy to reach if things go wrong. Conversational experience helps businesses dodge a lot of customer dissatisfaction bullets.
It stimulates sales. Implementing a chat feature can prompt customers to purchase more from a business. Often, one of the reasons why lead conversion rates are lower than anticipated can be a lack of information about the product you provide on your website. Not all customers can be bothered to reach out to find out more, so they leave the page without making a purchase. A chatbot or a live chat can act as a purchasing catalyst since it provides all the necessary info without too much hustle.
It builds stronger relationships with customers. A steady continuity of the communication allows a business to learn their customers better and provide them with more personalised offers. Going further, having an ongoing conversation can simplify the problem-solving processes as you become familiar with a customer’s setup.
However, it’s only effective if implemented correctly. It’s not enough to just have an email or - worse - a simple Contact Us form on your website It takes ages to get a reply using these and the chances of missing minute details are way too high. Instead, the best way to accommodate conversational experience is to implement a live chat, both on the website and directly in the product.
Employment of uniform customer experience across multiple channels
There’s evidence to suggest that companies with a well-developed omnichannel customer engagement strategy in place see a 10% increase in average order value, a 10% year-over-year growth and a 25% increase in close rates. It’s a no-brainer that you should shell out and make communication more accessible to customers.
The question is - how are you going to do it? While customers understand that each platform has its specifics, accepting that there can be different levels of service... they still expect their experience to be consistent across all channels.
Too often customer satisfaction levels are low because information obtained from different channels is not aggregated into one base. Some of it ends up missing, incomplete or irrelevant. One way to improve customer experience is to employ a CRM system. It can aggregate and store information about all your customer interactions from various channels so that all members of your teams could have access to it whenever needed and in full volume.
To simplify the information recording process, you need to make sure that regardless of the channel used, your communication is coherent. You need to employ the same methodology, tone and voice at all times and on all platforms.
Empathy and flexibility towards customer requests
Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, business owners across the world had to discontinue contracts with their suppliers to cut costs. They simply couldn’t predict the future of the market. The only companies that managed to make it onto the ‘list of untouchables’ were the ones that empathised with the clients heavily affected by the crisis and offered flexibility.
This has altered the demands, and is now expected from businesses trying to bounce back from the crisis:
Offer your clients individual discounts to stimulate sales, if there’s a healthy profit margin.
Provide volume-flexibility. Your customers may not be able to afford (or might not need) the same volumes of a product as before the pandemic. Be empathetic and adhere to their new requests.
Give your customers a payment holiday. This will retain customers and increase lifetime value once the world gets back to normal.
Extend the warranty on your terms. Arrange individual agreements with your customers to minimise customer churn.
Make the arrangement mutually beneficial. For a win-win situation, you can conduct partner webinars with partners, ask them for the reviews on dedicated platforms, or ask for referrals.
Covid-19 might have been a disaster with the true consequences still unknown. But, it’s impossible to deny that it has transformed the state of customer experience, turning it into the most powerful strategy of 2020. Your job is to use it to your advantage!
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As the Head of Sales & Customer Success at NetHunt CRM, Anastasia is a chief customer carer and passionate product preacher! Her specialities include competitor analysis, sales operations, and partner negotiations.