Customer experience is in the spotlight and a lot of people have been talking about it. But what really is customer experience and what difference does it make for companies? These and other questions are often asked by managers. It is basically a strategy of focusing on the consumer, encouraging them to feel good about your brand.
So that you know how to start implementing this strategy, let's unpick CX a bit. Enjoy the article and happy reading!
Defining customer experience
Customer experience is just that - the experience the customer has - and is used to identify how the consumer's relationship was with the company during their consumer or purchase journey. This measure relates satisfaction with interactions during the service (sales or support), showing how each of these points can influence the journey.
In addition, online and offline advertising strategies also count as experience points. The marketing team understands that these are the first forms of contact of the potential customer with the company, so advertising should provide good interactions and add value to the audience.
For the company, customer experience, or CX, is a very important strategy because it helps to improve the relationship with the customer, increasing satisfaction and loyalty to the brand. For a customer, receiving good treatment demonstrates how that business cares about them and how their shopping experience can become something unique and memorable.
The focus of the CX strategy is the customer. For the company to be successful with customer experience, they need to develop a culture of customer service so that everyone has the same goal: adding value to the consumer's contact with the brand.
The three pillars of CX
The concept of customer experience is based on three fundamental pillars that companies should follow to implement the strategy. The goal here is for the customer to succeed and feel connected to the brand.
Below, we will present these pillars and how they should be integrated into CX practice.
This pillar is about the customer achieving the main goal when interacting with your brand. Here, functional aspects involving processes are the key to the issue. For example, if the consumer calls the SAC, his goal is to be served.
The whole process comprises:
- be received by the Audible Response Unit (ARU);
- be transferred to the department you wish to speak to;
- be dealt with by the agent;
- end the call.
If the customer reaches the end of these steps, we can say that he has succeeded in his goal, he has been served. Regardless of what happens, if the consumer achieved their primary goal, they were successful in their interaction.
Effort deals with the degree of difficulty the customer had in achieving their goal. It is in this stage that the company manages to enchant its consumer and add value to processes. Success and effort always go together in a business that values customer experience.
Thinking about the example of a telephone answering service, if the call drops, the attendant should make the callback. This way the consumer succeeds in his goal and with as little effort as possible.
It is with this type of interaction that the customer experience strategy manages to build customer loyalty. However, to exercise this pillar efficiently, it is not enough to transform processes into safer and more agile steps. It is also necessary that employees think like the customer and put themselves in their place, proposing solutions to improve their relationship with the brand.
Decreasing friction and obstacles is key to reaching more than success, the consumer's heart.
Creating emotion in interactions and developing a positive memory as a reference for the relationship between client and brand are the objectives of this pillar. Completing this step, along with the previous ones, means perfectly executing the concept of customer experience.
To know how to apply this pillar, just understand the reasons why customers choose your company. Is your service agile? Are your prices fair? Do promotions come with various benefits? Whatever the reason, you need to know it.
The consumer's initial motivation is what makes them think of your product or service as a consumption option. So, linking positive emotions to this initial motivation is the way to close the customer experience strategy with a golden key.
Customer experience X Customer service
Customer service is the area responsible for handling customer complaints. It is somewhat similar to an ombudsman, but it doesn't just listen to issues, rather it is about providing the best experience for the consumer.
This point is extremely important, because the customer already has a problem and the minimum we should do is to deliver a solution, but that's not all.
Customer service is part of the customer experience strategy. In other words, the purpose of the area is to improve the customer experience by being available to listen to complaints, while collecting data to be used in process improvements. What's more, centralising this activity makes for faster delivery of solutions.
The integration of all departments of the company is essential, because only then will it be possible to solve issues quickly. When the attendant generates the complaint in the system, the responsible department will be automatically triggered and can focus exclusively on solving the matter, since it is not responsible for the service.
This segmentation of activities, within an integrated strategy, generates synergy that improves productivity and increases customer satisfaction. Here are some other advantages of applying customer service to your CX strategy:
The importance and advantages of CX
- Customers feel that the company really listens to them;
- You can understand customer motivations;
- You are able to develop solutions more quickly;
- It automates and streamlines the workflow of different teams;
- It improves the credibility of the company;
- It increases audience loyalty.
This strategy has great importance for companies, simply because it focuses on what is most important for business: the customer. Below we present some benefits of customer experience for companies.
Customer service is the main point that will be changed in your company. The benefits encompass all consumer contact fronts: sales, support, billing, SAC, face-to-face service, by phone or chat.
These improvements happen because of the success and effort pillar, as they determine how a process should work. In the case of service, it is necessary to show availability, agility and ease in order to meet these needs.
Innovations in service can bring all these enhancements to the switchboard. However, it is necessary that employees receive appropriate training to cope with new technologies and changes in procedures.
More satisfaction for consumers
After improving service and making processes more streamlined, customers will be satisfied with the company. This is a benefit that comes naturally as a consequence of investing correctly in customer experience.
Satisfied customers cost less for companies, become brand promoters and bring more value to the business.
Increased customer retention and loyalty
Satisfied customers rarely leave a brand they are passionate about. This shows how customer experience can better engage the public with the company, avoiding churn (cancellation of services) and building customer loyalty.
Improved brand reputation
Brand reputation is generated partly by the company and partly by the consumer. So, when there is investment in service, improvement in processes and satisfied customers, the business has been successful in achieving a good reputation.
The trust, security and good service that are offered to the customer end up inspiring him to spread the good news of his experiences with the company. The act of sharing the good moments he had with the brand is a type of marketing, but above all, a way to build the reputation of the business.
Even though it's been a strategy trend for a few years now, many companies still don't apply a culture focused on improving the customer experience. They're still stuck in the old results format: little investment to avoid spending too much and focus on the product. For a long time this practice worked well.
But the new generation of consumers is already tired of this old format and wants to have memorable experiences with the companies they relate to. Therefore, the brand that invests in CX strategies ends up gaining a competitive edge, being able to have greater audience reach.
Putting the CX strategy into practice
Before focusing on the steps needed to implement customer experience, you need to understand which parts of your company are primarily responsible for this strategy. Of course, the entire company needs to have the same focus, which is of course the consumer, but the directions, alignments and decision-making power belongs to the following departments. Check out the teams:
- development: in charge of developing consumer solutions, and should consider the customer experience when interacting with the solution;
- marketing: responsible for the company's image, being the first contact of the client with the brand;
- sales: they are the main ones to meet the needs of customers with respect to products and services, removing doubts and converting leads;
- financial: is in contact with the customer directly through payments of subscriptions, bills, purchase of services and refunds;
- support: essential area to help consumers in simple resolutions, such as configurations, scheduling and updates.
Besides taking care of the three pillars of customer experience - success, effort and emotion - each department mentioned above has its share of responsibility for the customer experience. After all, if the solutions developed are not applied, the potential customers attracted by marketing will not close sales. Just as a customer who has already bought may never return if the support provided is insufficient.
So, here are some tips to improve the consumer experience at your company.
Get to know the client
Knowing who is the person who is interested in your brand, product or service is essential to defining good service practices. Develop personas, develop surveys and talk to the marketing department, they know exactly how to route each of these processes.
Offer a post-sales service
Post-sales is the area that takes care of all the processes that happen after the customer's purchase. Thus, any issues with delivery, payment, product defect, exchange of goods and others should be dealt with by this area.
Offering this type of service is key to providing good customer experiences. Have a specialised team for greater satisfaction.
Technology is key to developing a good customer experience strategy. In addition, omni-channel services need integration in order to work well. So be sure to invest in innovations like:
Look after the website
- process automation;
- data monitoring;
- information analysis;
- service by chatbots.
For e-commerce, the website is an essential tool. It needs to be intuitive, user-friendly, accessible to all, contain all the necessary information about the company, products and services. Also, it should have contact information in case the site navigation is not sufficient for the customer's questions. Another important feature of the site are the features.
The customer doesn't just want interesting, innovative and well featured functions, they need them to work. Nothing is more frustrating for a consumer than trying to click on something that won't load or gives an error message. Therefore, preventive maintenance, recurring updates and UX (interface) optimization are great practices.
Make checkout simple
The checkout process should be simple and complete. So be sure to keep it intuitive, especially at this stage. In addition, it is worth repeating all the information on the purchase in the final cart window so that the customer does not switch navigation tabs and give up the purchase midway.
Another point is that the website should direct the customer to the next step always, but in a natural way. So, the checkout and next step buttons should be the most prominent when the customer is viewing the cart. Don't forget to offer multiple payment methods to reach a larger audience.
Optimise for mobile
The Internet standard is to make platforms available with computer format. In other words, when creating the site it will come configured to suit the screen size of various types of computers and laptops, but not tablets and smartphones - mobile devices. To ensure that all users of the site have a quality experience, you need to make the marketplace more user-friendly.
Track performance indicators
Your entire CX strategy will only make sense if the goals are met. How to know that without measuring, then? You have to apply some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Next, we will talk about some customer experience management KPIs, briefly explaining their concepts:
3 customer experience strategies
- churn: measures the rate of cancellation of services and subscriptions;
- upselling: shows how many customers have increased their contracted packages;
- cross selling: is the rate of cross selling, such as a sandwich with a soft drink;
- retention: presents the amount of customers who tried to cancel but were retained in the service;
- check out abandonment: it informs the shopping cart abandonment rate;
- NPS: indicator of customer satisfaction with products, company and services;
- multichannel touchpoints: shows the flow of customer interactions with the various communication channels.
There are many ways to apply customer experience, but some are very important for those who work with e-commerce and omni-channel strategy. See below for each of these practices.
- Experience marketing
This is the strategy that aims to arouse emotions in the customer, causing a memorable experience. In this way, experience marketing can attract and retain consumers. Each point of contact between brand and public is specially developed to work on the emotions that will be aroused.
To apply this strategy the company needs to invest in tools that improve the knowledge of the customer profile. Using data is the primary way to do that. The information collected can come from any sector that the consumer came into contact with, relating mainly their behaviour and engagement.
Surveys are ideal for offline audiences, as it makes it easier to centralise information and select people according to the strategy's objectives. For online audiences, data can be collected automatically by Artificial Intelligence software, reading web interactions.
- Digital experience
Digital experience strategy (DCX) comprises best practices to enhance the consumer journey in digital media. This means that all digital channels belonging to the business should be optimised to provide good memories for the customer. Here, the IT, back office and logistics areas work in synergy to offer good solutions.
This means that IT is responsible for the technical part, the site itself. Any marketplace process that needs to be optimised, IT will be the one to act on it. Like the back office, as part of after sales, it works to bring the best solutions to the consumer. Finally, logistics needs to have the best processes to ensure the delivery of products.
The main advantage of this strategy is to give the feeling that the customer is personally in the store, receiving the best treatment.
- Customer experience management
Customer experience management, or CXM, is the management responsible for making the entire CX flow smoothly. In it, a series of tools are applied to measure, track and develop the consumer experience. The main motto of CXM is: as long as you have an unsatisfied customer, there will be work.
This means that optimisation is constant, companies will always need to implement new ways that delight, excite, attract and retain consumers.
Practical examples of companies that apply customer experience
Many modern companies apply CX in their service strategies. See some of them and how they turned simple interactions into unique moments.
The platform's area of emphasis is digital presence on social media. Its service is unparalleled and outstanding, talking to the public in the appropriate language and positioning itself positively on causes that customers care about. In addition, Netflix measures consumer satisfaction in all 190 countries in which it has a presence.
Nubank seeks to maintain its differential in post-service, working on personalisation and humanisation of the process. The startup's policy is to avoid transferring cases, so employees are properly trained to handle occurrences.
One of the differentials is in the resolution of the case: the attendants write notes in their own handwriting and forward the photo to the consumer, besides offering tips related to the questions asked, such as travel and places to visit.
The food ordering app is always looking to innovate in its promotions by doing satisfaction surveys and asking what the customer wants. Thus, it aligns consumer expectation with reality and ensures the pillar of emotion in CX.
The digital presence of iFood is also remarkable, talking properly via the persona and using niche language to attract more consumers.
Thinking about the future of customer experience
The future of CX is today and it is now. As we said, customer experience has been a trend in customer service and consumption for some time, but many companies have not yet woken up to the new reality. To help you understand how modern technology has shaped this new way of running businesses, see the following topics.
As technology has evolved and become more accessible, people have begun to have more access to information and draw their own conclusions. This change in behaviour has changed the way customers consume products and services.
They no longer buy based on what they see in advertisements. Customers have started to look for detailed information on the internet before leaving home to buy a snack, clothes or electronics. The opinion of other consumers is more relevant than anything else, that's why sites like Reclame Aqui! [Complain here] are successful.
For companies to deal with this new reality, the omni-channel service was born, with the objective of integrating the online and offline world of the company. Thus, the consumer who searches on the internet is able to follow a stable and consistent journey of quality service.
The omni-channel customer journey is precisely the path he takes from the search for products, services and stores on the internet to the completion of the purchase or delivery of items. Omni-channel management provides for the mapping of all possible paths the customer might take on his journey. Thus, the manager analyses each touch point and offers improvements to generate memorable experiences for the consumer.
Some technologies that can be used to improve the customer experience in omni-channel service are:
- Digital PA;
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
- Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the part of computer science that studies and implements codes for reading, learning, and performing tasks for machines. Thus, a service that is endowed with AI can be improved in many ways.
Here are some examples:
- automated service, with no need for human intervention, speeding up processes for customers;
- understanding the customer profile with Big Data;
- collection, analysis, distribution, storage and formalisation of reports with important customer data;
- profit forecast;
- anticipation of demands.
With automated customer service, for example, customers can use self-service. Thus, agents are unoccupied and can focus on more complex demands. Simple requests, such as the second copy of an invoice and payment of a voucher, can be automated in the IVR itself.
Big Data is the name given to the analysis and reading of various data available on the internet. In this way, AIs work continuously selecting which data is relevant and which is not to the company, providing insights into how their customers interact on the web.
This information is used to align the call centre to customer expectations, making sales and support more effective.
About 77% of Brazilians think that social networks have the power to influence their purchasing decisions. With this, there is no doubt that it is important for businesses to have a social media strategy. The first step is to understand who the customer is that frequents the brand's social networks.
To this end, Artificial Intelligence technologies are essential, such as data reading and analysis. Thus, managers can understand the profile of the target audience on social networks and determine other important points in the strategy, such as language.
Communicating with the niche is paramount and should be done according to who is on the other end receiving the message. In other words, once you understand who your customer is, you need to speak their language.
There are exceptional cases of companies that have managed to use well the internet language known as memes to attract the right audience. It is important that the company understands that this is part of omni-channel service, so social networks, website and physical store represent the same business, the same brand.
Thus, it is necessary to invest in social media monitoring to make sure that your service and support there are in accordance with the expectations and strategies applied throughout the business. Online solutions should have as few screens as possible, fulfilling the pillar of effort.
Employing a customer experience strategy requires the entire company to be focused on the same thing: the customer. Developing a customer service culture is the biggest challenge for brands that want to implement CX, but the results pay off. Loyalty and retention are one of the main benefits, but they are not the only ones.
Customer experience ensures that the consumer is at the centre of the business, becoming a platform for the company to spread the word. This makes it easy to reach potential new customers, and if your brand has already mastered CX, new customers will quickly build loyalty.
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