Importance of a Customer Experience Strategy

“Customer Experience will shape the future by ensuring the products we design and develop for people will actually fit within their needs, rather than people trying to fit around the product”. – Lawrence Kitson>/i>

There must be a number of times when you thought that you were doing everything right and yet lost a seemingly ‘loyal’ customer to competition. You were left wondering why since the customer left without saying a word. The answer probably lies within your company – a customer experience strategy is possibly missing and having one would ensure that your customer retention levels go up and customers stop moving over to competition. Research indicates that companies that have a meticulously designed and well-executed customer experience strategy were able to consistently satisfy customers and exceed expectations thereby reducing customer and employee attrition and also increase their profitability. Of course it would seem like an essential strategy since there is no letting up of competitive pressure and the emergence of new companies with upgraded technology and not risk averse. Being able to provide highly distinct and stand-out service is part of an excellent customer experience strategy and one that will turn even dissatisfied customers to satisfied and satisfied customers in to delighted ones. Customers like being ‘wooed’ and wowed and are happiest with companies that can exceed their expectations.

Companies that have a unique customer experience strategy in place are able to achieve growth and success that is sustainable and even companies that may be stagnating can benefit from a well-designed and seamlessly executed strategy. Such companies are able to build, over time, a band of loyal and enthusiastic advocates who will speak well of them, and gain for them a better reputation and a bigger share of the market. So what does research say about a well-round customer experience strategy?

– Such a strategy makes for better and more customer referrals and increased customer satisfaction and many companies have reported increased profits and gains

– Happy customers means lowered need for acquiring more customers, a higher rate of customer loyalty and better customer retention

– Customers feel wanted and special and each experience they have with the company is memorable. This in turn makes them stay with the company and even recommend your offerings and service to others.

– A satisfied and happy customer base is the kind of competitive advantage that companies need and seek. It is the differentiation that will make them rise above their competitors and also create an emotional connection with their customers.
Is it any wonder then that more companies are investing in a well-developed customer experience strategy and gaining huge returns? What are some of the strategies that can be used to increase revenue by way of reducing customer attrition and increasing their levels of satisfaction?

– Segmenting customers and then designing a custom made strategy to serve a particular section. The purpose of segmenting customers is to have a better hold on their specific industry, buying patterns and historical data. A customer experience strategy that is tailor made for a particular segment is poised for success rather than one that used the ‘one size fits all’ strategy.

– A robust customer experience strategy helps to align the different functions in the company to work and collaborate better. When each department works together to achieve the goal of customer satisfaction, customers are delivered memorable experiences at each touch-point.

– A company that has invested in a customer experience strategy would also spend on CRM software and tools. These tools provide a way to store the vast amount of customer data in a single place that is easily accessible to all the departments that would need it. This information can be regularly updated and also captures every customer interaction. These tools also help to track any changes in customer behaviour and buying patterns, allowing the company to pro-actively remove any issues.

– The customer experience strategy will also help to take action on customer feedback provided. Also keeping track of customer comments will let the company’s customer service be pro-active rather than reactive.

– A customer experience strategy with all the tools in place, gives the company enough information that can be used to consistently please the customers. Repeating whatever customers have been satisfied or delighted with reinforces your company’s position of a market leader. Innovation and improvements become easier to do, based on what customers need and expect.

– Great customer experiences do not happen by fluke and neither must they be once in a while. Superior customer experiences are those that are planned and happen across all touch-points and through every channel of communication. A customer experience strategy is a discipline and one that must be adhered to at all times. The customer must never feel let down irrespective of whom they contact and how they make the contact. A successful and consistent customer service strategy must be one of the goals and KPIs for a company and its representatives.

– The essence of a customer service strategy is that it must be consistent. Unless customers have consistently good experiences, they will remain dissatisfied and far removed from the company’s aim of having loyal customers. The harsh truth is that one bad experience can turn the tide against the company irrespective of how many good experiences it may have given the customer. And if there is an unpleasant experience, it could turn serious very soon unless the company remedies it immediately and to the satisfaction of the customer.

– A great customer service strategy will present the company as a single unit to the customer. Customers want to see one brand, one ‘face’ and cannot be bothered with dealing with different sets of attitudes or communication. They actually demand experiences that reflect seamless service and can quickly become frustrated if there are variations in the experiences they have from one department to the next. Customers simply hate having to explain themselves or their issues repeatedly – ‘I’ve said it once, now it’s your problem to ensure that everyone in your company knows and understands’ – this is the general demeanour of customers.

It really is the company’s responsibility to make sure that customers exert the least amount of effort and yet get the highest quality of service and great experiences. A successful customer service strategy is all about:

– Hiring the right people and ensuring that they have an attitude to serve, they believe in your brand and can passionately uphold its integrity. Constant training and coaching also goes a long way to ensure that these ‘right’ people remain right and stay with your company for a long time.
– Make sure that your company bestows trust on its employees by empowering them to make spot decisions to help customers rather than constantly ‘running’ to the manager for a resolution.
– Never make the customer wait – this only worsens the situation by making the customer angry. Move fast to fix a problem and provide them with the solution that works best for everyone.

If you base your customer experience strategy on the customer’s needs, it will be more effective and will have a more personalized feel. Use technology to support your strategy rather than moulding the strategy to fit the technology you have in place. Serving your customer well is a factor of putting together a great customer experience strategy, among other things. Great customer service however does not mean adding expenses without as much profitability. Rather it implies aligning all your service teams and strategies to complement each other to serve the customer as they expect. A meticulous customer service strategy will ensure that your company delivers standard great levels of service and enhanced offerings leading to an unbeatable competitive edge.

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