The only constant in life is change. And the only certainty in business is uncertainty. This is truer than ever now, as companies deal with increasing unpredictability on practically every front. They’re navigating economic challenges, digital disruptions and ever-shifting consumer preferences.
To reduce unpredictability and succeed in the long run, companies must focus on maximizing the value from their most important customers: their existing ones.
The importance of loyal customers cannot be overstated because they are both valuable and hugely profitable. They provide steady revenue and play a crucial role in promoting your product or service. They often act as brand ambassadors, spreading the word about your company and providing feedback and reviews on social media, which can help attract new customers. By improving their customer retention rate by just 5%, brands have the potential to see a startling 25% to 95% increase in profits.
Customer loyalty and retention are your primary goal. So how do you get there? The strongest driver of this is amazing service. Gartner reported in a 2022 study that customer experience drives over 66% of customer loyalty and has a greater impact on customer loyalty than price and brand combined.
Here are three ways to create a customer experience that drives long-term loyalty and retention.
1: Create a customer journey map
Consumers today have proven to be quick to switch their brand allegiance at the first frustrating customer experience. To prevent this, you need to have a deep understanding of what customers want. This is where the importance of journey mapping lies. Journey mapping enables brands to gain insight into their customers’ needs, pain points and preferences. It’s a powerful tool that puts you in your customers’ shoes and helps you create a customer-centric approach that truly delivers.
Create a blueprint of customer interactions with your brand and you’ll be in a better position to identify your customers’ preferred channels and mediums, know how frequently they contact you and understand if issues could have been addressed sooner. You can also identify when customers are not using self-service options and what is potentially holding them back.
Through customer journey mapping, you can gain a deeper understanding of your customers and uncover areas for improvement. This will not only optimize your decision-making process, but also illuminate opportunities to enhance the buyer journey and boost customer retention.
2: Offer an omnichannel customer experience
Customers today expect to be able to interact with a business through multiple channels, including email, phone, social media and live chat. An omnichannel experience should allow customers to switch between channels seamlessly, while also providing personalized support based on each customer’s history and preferences. According to Qualtrics, brands with the strongest omnichannel strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared to just 33% of companies with weaker strategies.
As technology continues to evolve, AI and digital channels are becoming the preferred CX channels for customers. Over time, customers will expect quicker solutions to their issues and want the convenience of real-time digital options to solve problems efficiently. Businesses that prioritize customer satisfaction and use technology as an enabler will ultimately build the best brand loyalty and emerge as the long-term winners.
A case in point is Nike, which uses an advanced omnichannel strategy to keep customers coming back. It blends real-world interactions with digital technology to create a seamless and personalized shopping experience. Nike has various apps and tools that use a customer’s location to provide personalized recommendations and help customers navigate to a nearby store. Additionally, Nike provides customer support not only on its website, but also on social media platforms like Twitter. By being present where its customers are, Nike provides a better experience while increasing customer satisfaction and retention rates.
3: Leverage predictive analytics
The utilization of predictive analytics is a powerful method for customer service agents to enhance CX. It’s a way for frontline employees to analyze customers’ data and predict their behaviors and needs, so they can provide more personalized and effective support. For example, with predictive analytics, agents can anticipate the reason for a support call and be proactive in their problem solving before the customer becomes frustrated or angry.
Predictive analytics can also help agents prioritize customer inquiries based on their urgency and importance. By using machine learning algorithms to identify patterns in customer interactions, companies can quickly route inquiries to the appropriate team or agent for resolution, reducing wait times and improving response times.
One company that uses predictive analytics to help elevate the customer experience is Salesforce. Salesforce has a feature called “Einstein Case Classification,” which uses machine learning algorithms to automatically classify customer cases based on a variety of factors, such as customer descriptions and historical case data, to predict the likelihood of a case being escalated or requiring urgent attention. The system assigns a priority score to each case, which helps customer service agents to quickly identify which cases require immediate attention .Businesses that use predictive analytics can increase their revenue by 15%, according to McKinsey.
In a world of uncertainty, loyal customers are one sure thing that businesses can depend on to bring stability and success. To create loyalty, companies must bolster their customer experience programs—and that’s why CX is now a differentiator that separates successful brands from their competitors.