Whether your customers are shoppers, users or gamers, great customer experiences don’t just happen. It takes an in-depth knowledge of your customer (and potential customers), a very clear idea of how, when and where they interact with your organisation and an overarching strategy to deliver exceptional outcomes every time.
It’s a huge concept to grasp, but it can be broken down into a number of key areas, and if you have a best practice approach from the start, your CX strategy can then grow and adapt with your business.
So, what is CX or customer experience?
While it might be the latest buzzword, it’s certainly something that’s worthy of your attention, and it goes beyond just customer service. Customer service is a single interaction between your customer who has a need and your organisation who (hopefully) has a resolution. Customer experience, on the other hand, "is the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company". It covers everything from the customer’s awareness of you and the purchasing process, through to the ongoing relationship they have with your products and services.
Any decisions around customer experiences must be informed by good quality data. After all, there’s no sense in developing strategies if you don’t know who your customers are, where they come from, what their expectations are and how they want to interact with you. It’s easy to get tangled in big data so collect and analyse data with a purpose - know what information you need and how you’re going to use it.
Data will inform decisions around almost any business problem such as where to direct marketing budgets, what customer service channels you should invest resources into, where issues lie in the customer journey and how your customers will respond to new products. And to avoid the issue of analysis paralysis, focus on solving no more than three business problems initially so that your team remains on track.
Mapping the customer journey
When a potential customer clicks an online ad, where does it direct them? When they get there, what’s their pathway to purchase? These are just the first of many questions you should be asking about your organisation. The journey continues after they’ve purchased, downloaded or subscribed - how do they reach out for technical support? How quickly is their issue resolved and how satisfied are they with the handling? Are they now a loyal lifetime customer who will be a brand advocate? And are you able to recognise and reward that customer?
We know how huge these questions are, and many businesses would be in no position to answer all of them, but it’s all part of mapping the customer journey. It becomes especially difficult when each step is the responsibility of a different department, but the important thing is to apply the customer journey filter over every process in your business. In other words, ensure your organisation is customer centric and understands the importance of all interactions.
Adopt an omnichannel approach
Omnichannel involves more than just offering multiple platforms for customers to either use your product, purchase or interact with you. An omnichannel approach means that yes, there are multiple channels but that they integrate and cooperate in such a way that the customer will have the same high level of experience regardless of which channel they choose.
For instance, if they call your customer service team, your agents should be able to call up information about how long they’ve been a customer, what they’ve purchased in the past and any previous interactions you’ve had with them. And your agent has to know how to use this information to ensure they have an exceptional experience this time around too.
Omnichannel also means developing your product and your online presence in such a way that the customer’s experience is seamless across every digital device. In the age of the connected customer, expectations have been set that your organisation will need to meet. This entails accommodating the customer in terms of where, when and how they want to interact with you.
Identify automation options
Needing to be constantly available across all channels can be difficult to fulfil, but customers aren’t opposed to digital or automated options. In fact, some would prefer this to a long phone call with one of your agents. Identify where automation can be appropriately implemented, keeping in mind once again, that it must add value to the customer experience.
Artificial intelligence or AI is playing an increasing role in automation. As an example, chatbots are a great way to provide 24/7 service for simple customer queries. This strategy also frees up your valuable human resources to provide better customer service for more complex issues. Machine learning and natural voice recognition technology is also playing a role in providing seamless contact centre experiences, replacing IVRs which have traditionally been a major source of customer frustration.
Foster employee engagement
One of the most important aspects of your CX strategy is engaging your employees in the delivery of your objectives. It’s the difference between merely servicing the customer and providing an exceptional customer experience. You need to employ the right attributes, train your management to reinforce the right behaviours and provide the tools and empowerment needed to deliver the exceptional customer experience you’re aspiring too.
How can your organisation deliver a first class customer experience?
As a leading business outsourcing provider, Beepo can provide the technology, know-how and resources to help your organisation deliver customer experiences that meet your customer and organisational expectations. If customer service is an important aspect of your customer experience, read our A best practice to customer service eBook to find out what goes into a good customer service strategy.