Let’s step out of our marketing professional roles for a minute, and think about ourselves as consumers. When you are considering a purchase, what matters most to you? The product or service itself? Yes.
It is important that we receive the value and quality that we need, that the solution actually solves the problem or scratches the itch, so to speak. Cost? Of course (do you know anyone for whom price is really no object?)! But there is another factor that is rapidly supplanting both of these traditional deciding factors. Customer experience.
A customer experience strategy is a must because, when it comes down to it, no matter what we specialize in, no matter what we sell, we are all in the business of satisfying customers.
What is Customer Experience?
Customer experience, or CX, is the total of every interaction someone has with your brand, which shapes their perception of you. It is important to recognize that CX differs from brand to brand and industry to industry.
For example, think about your customer experiences at a big box store you like. You go in, you fill up your cart, you go. You got everything you need, from shampoo to a new blender to some salad fixings for dinner, and it was reasonably priced. What a great experience!
Now consider this: you go to a small wine shop near your home. You are planning a special dinner, and coq au vin is on the menu. You’ve never made it before, and you want to know what red wine is best for the dish - and which is best to drink with it! The owner is like your personal sommelier. They explain the options, they discuss the flavors, they guide you to a superb choice. And they give you their coq au vin recipe and some tips to boot. What a great experience!
It is different, but both brands appealed to their target audience and delivered a satisfying experience. It will be different still for brands in terms of an online presence, but here too, CX is everything. From ensuring the mechanics of your website and digital assets are sound and seamless to providing interactive content to engage and excite, your strategy will be dependent on what your audience needs, wants, and expects.
In any case, here are why customer experience matters:
- Approximately 75% of customers who rate their experience as “very good” are willing to forgive a company for a poor experience. Just 15% of those who say their experience was “very poor” will give a company another chance.
- Nearly 9 in 10 customers with a “very good” experience will trust a company to take care of their needs, compared to just 16% with a “very poor” experience.
- 94% of those who give a “very good” rating are highly likely to purchase more products and services in the future. Not surprisingly, only 5% of those who rated a company’s CX as “very poor” will do so.
Your customer experience strategy is your action plan for ensuring that your brand is able to deliver a consistent, positive experience across all interactions (and platforms). Great… Now how do you go about it?
Creating a Winning Customer Experience Strategy
An effective customer service strategy starts by putting yourself in the position we mentioned above: in the shoes of your target audience. To get started:
Develop customer personas
This is a fictional representation of your customers. For example, if your company produces organic meal service solutions, one of your personas might be Healthy Hannah or Hard Working Heather. One to five personas are usually sufficient to cover your bases and represent the common characteristics and traits of your core group of customers.
These personas allow you to begin to better understand these customer segments, identifying pain points, as well as goals and aspirations. To guide this process, use customer feedback and demographic data.
Know your customers
Once you have developed your persona(s), get in sync with them with empathy mapping. People make purchase decisions based on their beliefs and emotions and are often guided by past behaviors. So ask yourself, what do they:
There are empathy mapping tools you can use to gain greater insight into your customer base.
Map Out the Customer Experience
Here, you will focus on how people interact with your brand from end to end. It covers what they are doing, wanting/needing, and deciding throughout each step of their journey. It will also highlight obstacles and opportunities so you can develop more effective customer service strategies.
Start with one persona - Healthy Hannah! - then go through the “5A’s”:
- Attract. What is the process by which Hannah becomes informed of and attracted to the solutions you offer?
- Accept. How will she begin to interact with your brand?
- Adopt. How does Hannah continue to interact with you as she goes through her journey?
- Amplify. How does she feel following each interaction?
- Advance. How can you keep connected with Hannah and ensure the relationship extends even beyond purchase?
When you have answers to these questions, you can build out interactive content and compelling digital assets that empower you to reach your target audience - and make an impact.
These tips are just the tip (pun intended) of the iceberg when it comes to a customer experience strategy. To learn more, and to get started, contact THAT Agency.