Customer experience management is more of an art than a science to some people. It refers to any number of processes that are supposed to help business owners better understand customer interactions and therefore take steps to meet or exceed their expectations. Unfortunately, so many global businesses don’t take all of the steps necessary to create a truly customer-centric strategy. This leaves them vulnerable when the economy takes a nosedive.
If you take the right steps, then you can beat out much larger competitors who haven’t been working on improving their customer’s experience. An overwhelming majority of firms aren’t even sure of where to start, however. Those who have been collecting a good amount of data are already ahead of the game. Leveraging data-driven insights is an excellent way to gain a better understanding of how your customers feel.
Building CX Improvements Around Your Data
Even if you’ve been collecting loads of data on customer behaviors, you might not have what it really takes to get inside their head. You need to be able to listen to what marketing gurus refer to as the voice of your customers. Naturally, most people won’t come up to you and complain if there’s something wrong. In fact, those who complain the most might not even be bothered by what causes issues for a majority of consumers. After all, there are some people who aren’t easily pleased and they may not represent the population as a whole.
Experiential data is a better judge of universal character. Standard operational data, such as transactional metrics and statistical demographics, doesn’t provide a complete picture. You want to look at analytics that can help business owners understand why people are behaving the way they do. If you know customers are ordering from you because your competition can’t provide the kind of products or services your company does, then this is an area where you can step up your game even more.
Pay close attention to any information you have about the competition. While you might not always have the freedom to predict their every move, you probably know quite a bit about the differences between you and every other firm in your market segment. Seize the opportunity to capitalize on those differences.
Whenever there’s a discrepancy and you feel your firm is falling behind, you have an opportunity to improve the overall customer experience your clients are treated to. Take this as a challenge.
Cutting Back on Unnecessary
Bruce Lee was once quoted as saying that people need to hack away at the unessential until all they have left is what really matters. This is an excellent mindset for anyone trying to run a business. It’s easy to think that your clients are swayed by flashy promotions and gimmicks.
This might help to explain why so many eCommerce sites are absolutely loaded with animations and videos. The truth is that this can actually turn off customers, which is especially problematic when there’s less money in the economy for them to spend. When shoppers find that their disposable income has taken a hit, they usually gravitate toward companies that offer a simple experience.
Unfortunately, many firms don’t focus on the essentials. They emphasize promotion and various ways of drawing people in, but once customers get attracted to their brand they don’t have any way of meeting their expectations. In a worst case scenario, companies can actually build up so much hype that there’s no way they could meet the expectations that their own marketing departments have created.
You don’t just see this kind of thing happening to online businesses, either. There was a study involving customer satisfaction among people who eat out on a regular basis that proved the same concept. Some restaurants suffered because they continuously offered services that their customers didn’t want while sacrificing ones they did.
Businesses that aren’t in touch with their clientele often struggle to survive recessions as a result. Prioritizing your CX goals now will prevent you from ever falling into this trap in the future.
Building a Governance Framework
You may not think that CX governance is as interesting as mapping out customer journeys or speaking with your clients directly, but it really is important. All businesses need to establish a set of flexible standards that ensure they deliver on their promises. While you’re putting together your governance bylaws, you’ll want to make sure that what rules will be followed by whom is clearly spelled out. This will avoid confusion you might otherwise have in the near future.
At the same time, you’ll want to develop a clear structure for measuring CX goals. That includes an overarching agreement on what success is. Since customer opinions aren’t necessarily measurable, this can sometimes be more of a challenge than it sounds like.
Try to come up with your own system to measure success by, if at all possible. Academic scholars tell us that it’s not possible to prove a negative, but maybe that can be safely overlooked in this case. Keep a running list of how many people lodge complaints about one specific thing in your place of business. You can then set a goal to reduce the amount of complaints that you field about said specific process.
Take the example of a physical brick-and-mortar retail store that consistently receives complaints about its rude cashiers and the length of time it takes to go through the customer checkout. At first, this business might receive dozens of complaints on a weekly basis. If they’re particularly unlucky or provide a particularly sorry level of service, then they might have to deal with hundreds. This is especially true if they’re located in a busy area.
Whether they decide to correct the problem through retraining of employees or installing self-checkout machines, the store in question can monitor the number of complaints they receive on a weekly basis to see if anything improves. Over time, they should see the number of problems decrease drastically.
Finding the Right Tools for the Job
According to one survey, around 81 percent of small business owners expect that they’re going to be competing mostly on CX in just a few years. The thing that’s going to help the firms that are successful weather the storm is access to the right tools.
Give some thought to what kinds of problems you have. More than likely, if you were to browse a software catalog you’d find tons of apps that would simply make selecting the right one difficult. Once you have a list of problems that you need solved, however, you’re in a good position to select the right programs to get the job done.
Some vendors market apps that are essentially glorified CRM solutions while others can help you to revolutionize your business’ help desk operations. A few even focus on tracking packages, which is helpful as many people are frustrated with an increased risk of receiving damaged merchandise these days. Focus primarily on those areas where you’ve had the most negative feedback. Getting the right virtual equipment now can bring great benefits tomorrow.
In the middle of all this, however, you want to ensure that you never lose sight of the fact that you should be focused on your customers. Some studies have insinuated that people are actually willing to pay slightly higher prices if it means they get a better experience out of the deal.
Surviving a Financial Armageddon
Some pundits are predicting severe downturns in consumer spending, which is especially concerning to online retailers since they’re facing stiffer competition than ever before. Take a deep breath and remember that you have the ability to offer a better experience to your customers than any of your competitors. While customer loyalty is based on multiple facets, CX is by far the most important. Once you develop a group of happy customers, they’ll be sure to keep coming back.