How to go beyond customer service for better CX
Creating a positive customer experience for your company is more than providing excellent customer service. Customer experience refers to a customer's complete interaction with a company — from awareness to post-purchase. And, everything the customers feel and go through while dealing with a company is labelled as customer experience, abbreviated as CX.
Broadly speaking, there are three distinct types of customer experience: pre-purchase, during-purchase and post-purchase. It also includes winning customers back after a bad experience. For this, you must do more than just provide discounts.
Unifying several support channels like email, call centre, messaging and self-service in one location with a customer service software helps provide a smooth experience. After all, organisations with exceptionally high omnichannel customer involvement retain an average of 89% of their customers.
That being said, creating a comprehensive CX strategy involves working on the following five action items.
Create an emotional connect
You can only improve your CX if you know your customers well. For this, analyse the demographics of your target market, including age, gender, region, household income, and even hobbies and interests, by adopting buyer persona tools.
Such demographics often shape the buyer's identity and can influence personal decisions. Using an approach that works well for one audience may not work well for another, which demands a different strategy for a certain section of customers to create an emotional connection with your audience.
However, it is not that easy to get into this data. Recent research by Forrester Consulting shows that 56% of questioned companies struggled to anticipate and interpret a customer's emotional condition.
Therefore, you should take the time to learn about their customers' lives, the problems for which they need a solution, the jobs they need to do, etc.
To get to this level of understanding about customers, which is needed to show they care, you can adopt the following approaches:
Listen, and ask: Reach out to your existing and potential customers about your brand. This includes their thoughts and opinions on your business offerings, performance, expectations, etc.
Characterise: You would need detailed information when creating a buyer's persona. The goal is to gain insight into who your consumer is, their pain points, and what issues they are attempting to address. Unearthing such information helps communicate with your customers to connect better.
Empathise: Empathy in customer service is necessary if you are here for quality CX. Begin by comprehending what your consumers are going through by empathising with their problems. For this, put yourselves in your customers' shoes and create a journey map to ensure a hurdle-free purchase and post-purchase experience.
Once you've figured out your target audience and sell services, you’d need to implement feedback and work on customer inputs.
Value and act on customer feedback
The omnichannel customer service approach allows brands to engage with customers through every channel and capture feedback at every customer touchpoint. The different ways to ask for customer feedback are website, social media, emails, in-app, reviews, etc.
Customer feedback helps enhance future CX and customer journey as you better understand your customers' wants and needs, and the channels where they prefer to interact the most.
Here are some of the common approaches to measuring customer feedback with respect to customer experience:
- CSAT and NPS: These are highly reliable customer satisfaction surveys that provide insight into whether or not customers like your brand, coupled with the likelihood of referring it to someone they know. Here’s your quick guide to improving your survey response rate.
- Customer Effort Score (CES): This score informs you how simple it was for the customer to get a solution on their recent contact with your brand.
- Churn rates, Customer LTV, expansion rates: Compare the churn and growth of different groups of customers like the ones who talked to your support team and those who didn't. If people who ask for help stay longer, you know your support team is doing well. Also, see if your customers engage with brands regularly to identify their lifetime engagement with your brand.
- Analyse customer service data: This includes analysing your ticket reopening rate and the time-to-resolution. Customers do not like to wait when they seek help; therefore, consider your service executives' time to deliver help.
Regardless of your approach, the aim is to understand your customers' feelings about your business. Working on their feedback and implementing changes is better if you find any grievances.
Collecting feedback to refine CX would help you:
- Develop a thorough grasp of your consumers' expectations to help them serve better.
- Gather, evaluate, and act on customer feedback regularly to streamline operations.
- Reduce the time and effort it takes for your consumers to get what they need from your product or service.
While you are ready to collect customer feedback, ensure you implement an omnichannel approach. More on it next.
Adopt an omnichannel approach
The influx of digital platforms in recent years is a testament to the pervasive presence of your customers. They can find your business on various platforms, including mobile devices, televisions, computers, and more.
The omnichannel approach gives customers a seamless communications experience across all channels, regardless of how they choose to communicate with your business.
Such an approach emphasises delivering the correct message at the right time through the right channel.
Providing an excellent customer experience across all channels will need you to get hold of the following.
- Your customer's personal information
- Purchase history
- Preference for communication (email, phone, etc.)
Adopting an omnichannel approach for enhanced customer experience helps provide customer-centric value offerings by focusing on what the consumers want.
- Provide consumers with what they want, and you'll make more money.
- Improve your knowledge of your customers, their problems, and how to solve them.
- Increase lead conversions by unifying your employees behind a customer-centric strategy.
Here’s a quick guide to delivering an omnichannel customer experience.
But, an omnichannel approach to first-hand customer data collection would leave some gaps, compelling you to avoid data silos. Let us understand how!
Avoid data silos
The reason for data silos is often rooted in a lack of technology stack and an inability to drive coherence out of available data. Your business would collect customer data through an advertising campaign, customer interactions, and third-party portals.
There is no easy way to standardise or even align those. This leads to an inconsistent user experience as your key customer data resides in a host of zero-, first-, second and third-party data sources.
Inability to access data across these channels at once may limit your customer experience strategy. You can unlock your doors to personalisation, automation, and email marketing by tapping into the channels where your data resides.
It is possible by identifying the right question you want to answer and then gathering the required data needed to answer it is one way to break through the barriers created by data silos.
One way is to create bridges between platforms (where your data resides) by identifying existing data gaps. For more, here’s a quick read to eliminate data silo problems.
Finally, breaking silos would help you explore customer personalisation for enhancing CX. More on it below.
40% of consumers yearn for improved customer service from real people as they want to be treated as individuals rather than just another business source. And therefore, leverage personalisation which makes your brand more human.
You can cater to a certain audience segment within a particular persona and associate a specific behaviour as a response to your service. Breaking down your customer's profile would help drive personalisation at an individual level to tailor your processes, services and support.
Also, consider sending a personalised ‘thank you’ email when customers place their first order. This way, your email would not come up as a normal mass marketing campaign. If possible, send a handwritten letter of gratitude and/or exclusive goodies to loyal customers.
Moreover, you can also send gift cards to customers to show gratitude for choosing your business. Giving cards or vouchers with discounts for a specific product or future purchases would create a personal rapport with customers and drive loyalty.
You can follow this comprehensive guide to personalising CX, and take inspiration from some of these killer examples of personalised customer experiences from well-known brands.
Over to you
Regardless of the size of your company, having an appropriate CX strategy in place helps increase conversion and build customer loyalty.
Additionally, empower your employees with the tools and resources they need to offer exceptional customer service. Maintaining steady relations with your existing customers needs you to continually exceed their expectations.
Delighted customers will motivate others in their circle to opt for your brand, thus bringing you more customers on autopilot.
Tim Ferguson is a writer and editor of Marketing Digest. He helps marketing agencies with SEO, link building, content marketing, online reputation management, and blogger outreach. When he is not writing and editing for Marketing Digest, he spends time learning more about content marketing and getting better at it.