Putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and walking their journey may seem like an obvious thing for businesses to do, but how many actually do it? Leading companies understand the value of a holistic approach to service and experience, not just in the product or service it provides, but how it is provided.
Even with the best intentions, customers can often experience interactions with companies differently than you anticipate.
It has been widely documented that Customer Experience will be THE major differentiator by 2020.
What is it?
Customer experience is reflected in how your customers perceive how they have been treated by your organization. This drives future behaviours such as loyalty, which can have a positive or negative effect on your brand.
In our private lives, we also take on the role as consumers. It is in these interactions that we can better understand what it may be like to be a customer within our organization. As consumers ourselves, we make decisions about a company based on our experiences; either positive or negative. This is why it is imperative to ensure your customer experience strategy protects your brand by treating your customers with respect by listening and understanding their requirements. Establishing your strength in customer experience, position your as leaders in your market with leaders in customer experience delivering 17% of revenue growth compared to peers. Good experiences are so important to customers, a staggering 55% of customers report they are willing to pay more if a company has a good reputation!
What else will it do for my business?
We have already discussed the financial benefits of investing time and money into customer experience, now, lets consider the further benefits.
- Offer a Differentiator – Competition in all sectors is at an all time high. By offering something ‘different’ to consumers, you will separate yourself from your competitors. Here you have the opportunity to encourage experience comparisons, where you will stand out from the crowd! As word of mouth is such a powerful tool, you create brand ambassadors through your customers.
- Improve Relationships – How you structure your marketing and customer literature has more of an impact on the customer experience than you would think. Exhibiting more of a “human-touch” and personalised response, strengthens your customer relationships, leading to increased loyalty.
- Create Value – Feeling valued by the company is priceless to consumers. Building up a rapport and providing positive experiences repeatedly, equate to more satisfied customers and in turn, encourages them to continue using your services. Remember, retaining a customer is far less costly to your business than acquiring a new one! Engaging with your customers and increasingly building upon the relationship makes for an effective and positive experience.
Generally, when mapping out your customer journey and considering the experience within their journey, you should ask the following questions:
- What is your customer looking to achieve? (Consider not only their end goal, but how you will help them reach it)
- Why have they set this goal? (What has prompted their enquiry? What are their pain points? Is something they have been doing no longer working?)
- How will you help them achieve their goal? (What makes you their ONLY choice? How will you convey that you are their best option? What separates your brand from the rest?)
- Who is behind the opportunity? (Whilst you may operate in one specific market, finding out a little about who your customer is will help shape how you tailor their experience to make your brand stand out)
Only through observation and living your customers’ journey, can you make an informed assessment of how to improve their experience and create a positive relationship for the future. Remember, customer experience and brand reputation go hand-in-hand!