POWERING WORKPLACE PERFORMANCE

15 JULY, 2022

WHY CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MATTERS FOR ORGANISATIONS

What is customer experience and CX management?

The customer experience, or CX, is more than just, say, the interaction a customer has with the cashier at a register. It is the sum of all the emotions, impressions, actions, and thoughts a customer has and takes while interacting with a business, from initial contact through to the product itself and all the way to receiving a follow-up email after a purchase or receiving a service. It encompasses the entire relationship between the customer and the business and includes conscious and subconscious assumptions and feelings the customer has towards the business. 

CX management, in turn, is about ensuring that this experience is a positive one. According to the Gartner Glossary, customer experience management is “the discipline of understanding customers and deploying strategic plans that enable cross-functional efforts and customer-centric culture to improve satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.” In other words, CX management involves developing an all-of-company approach in which every department works towards providing an ideal customer experience.

What is customer experience management and why is it important for your organisation?

While the highly connected global marketplace of today has a lot of upside for businesses, it also means that competition is fiercer than ever in almost every industry. This has ushered in a new age of customer-centric business practices, with customer experience rising to be the number one differentiator for almost 90% of organisations. Instead of following traditional marketing approaches without considering this shift in consumer-business relationships, successful organisations are implementing customer experience strategy best practices to attract, retain, and grow their customer bases. Implementing these strategies involves design, marketing, development, data analytics and customer service as well as a company-wide vision and commitment.

Difference between customer experience and customer service

CX is more than just customer service, as it encompasses the entirety of a customer’s interaction with a company, regardless of whether or not there was any personal contact with a staff member. Customer service might kick in when customers need help or something has gone wrong. While it isn’t all of the customer experience, customer service is an essential part of it, and was identified as one of the top five skills gaps in Australia in a recent DeakinCo. report. Ideally, your customer service strategy will integrate seamlessly into other parts of your CX strategy.

5 reasons why customer experience is important

The importance of CX is difficult to overstate, as customer experience has risen to be the number one differentiating factor for a vast majority of businesses, ahead of price. According to a survey by PwC, not only is customer experience more important than price, it even translates directly into customers being willing to pay more. That is one of many reasons why customer experience management is important.

1. Improves customer satisfaction

Strategically building a positive customer experience will leave your customers more satisfied. Bad customer experiences, like long wait times, lack of human support, confusing processes or badly targeted marketing can be avoided when there is an overall strategic vision for CX in place.

2. Improves customer retention

The key word here is brand loyalty. Customers feel emotionally attached to businesses that provide them with the satisfaction of an all around perfect customer experience. More customer retention means you can build that relationship and make their experience even more personalised.

3. Reduces customer churn rate

This flows directly into a reduced turnover, which means your marketing department has to spend less money and time constantly trying to attract new customers, and can instead focus on building on existing connections, word-of-mouth recommendations, and brand loyalty.

4. Encourages customer loyalty and outreach

There is no better (and cheaper) marketing than word-of-mouth. Research has repeatedly found that consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any form of advertising – and who is more likely to recommend a business than a satisfied customer? By providing a better customer experience, you can harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

5. Generates more sales and revenue

All of the above benefits add up to increased sales through brand loyalty and customers attracted through recommendations by friends and family. At the same time, your business will save on having to attract cold audiences.

Key elements of a customer experience strategy

In some ways, our gut feeling might say that customer experience has to happen organically rather than be planned out. But there are customer experience strategy best practices that can help you achieve an organic-feeling CX that is actually perfectly planned out.

Review your existing customer experience strategy

To review your existing strategy, ask yourself what elements of customer-centric thinking are already in place at your organisation. Make sure to review customer service, marketing, development, social media, and conduct surveys to get a true insight of where you are starting from.

Understand your customers, their expectations, and their pain points

To deliver an outstanding customer experience, you need to know your customers inside out. This might mean surveys and other qualitative research, but it can also mean investing in cleaning up and preparing existing data to gather insights and make customer profiles. This includes knowing what customers expect of you and where their pain points are in their journey with your business.

Map the customer journey

Think through every point at which a customer interacts with your business and try to understand how each part of the journey makes the customer feel. Mapping the customer journey is a crucial step in identifying where friction occurs, what could be improved and how to exceed your customers’ expectations.

Ensure your CX strategy is implemented at all levels and roles in the organisation

Like so many other business strategies, implementing a CX management strategy has to be an all-of-company approach. While it is important to train your customer-facing staff, as we know, the customer experience is so much more than just interacting with staff members. Customer-centric thinking needs to be implemented everywhere in an organisation to work.

How to improve customer experience management in the organisation

Change can be hard, but implementing a CX management strategy doesn’t have to be. There’s so many things you can do to improve the customer experience and reap the benefits of loyal, satisfied customers.

Have an organisational vision

What kind of impression do you want your customers to have of your organisation? What kind of values do you want it to represent, and how do you convey those? Build a strategy by first defining your vision for the organisation and its relationship to its customers.

Connect with your customers on multiple channels

It’s not enough to just have a physical store, or a website, or a single, rarely updated social media account. To connect with your customers, you have to meet them where they are, like on social media, in online searches, in physical spaces, in their email inbox, or their phones. Make sure to serve relevant information to your customers and track their journey from one platform to the next so you don’t lose that valuable connection you’ve built.

Act on customer feedback

Surveys, complaint forms, focus groups and customer service hotlines are all good and well but meaningless if customers feel like their feedback is never implemented. Make a point of acting on customer feedback and reflect the changes you made directly back to them.

Design and implement a quality framework

By designing and implementing a quality framework, you can build training and development directly into your CX management strategy. Design and implement a quality framework that builds on regular workplace training to ensure the quality of the customer experience your team delivers.

Respond to employee feedback

Customer-centric isn’t just about customers – it’s also about your employees. Listen to your employees about what works and what doesn’t, and implement changes as needed. Happy employees will provide better customer experiences.

Track key CX metrics

You can measure how well your CX strategy works by using key metrics like churn rates, revenue, customer service data as well as through surveys of both customers and staff. Once you have determined which metrics you want to use, track them and analyse them regularly so you can adjust your approach.

Train your employees to deliver great customer experience

Customer satisfaction is key to success, and delivering a great customer experience is a soft skill that can be learned like any other. With DeakinCo.’s workplace training, including our customer experience course and tailored training programs for organisations, we can help you get that all-important competitive edge.

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