In a world where the customer is king, there is one thing we have in abundance, especially in the Western world, and that is choice. Most customers want to feel special, noticed and that their hard-earned cash, especially with the cost of living crisis, is getting the best value for money. Each customer’s interpretation of value is different and personal to them, and it’s up to businesses to identify what their target market demands. That’s where customer experience management comes in. Customer experience management (CXM) is a process of managing the customer experience from beginning to end. It includes the processes, strategies, and tactics that organisations use to create an excellent customer experience. The goal of CXM is to create a strong emotional connection with customers.
What Does Value Mean to a Customer?
Businesses across all sectors need to understand their consumer’s buying habits and define what the customer sees as value. Value to a customer could be anything from getting the best price to the benefits of a product. For businesses to stay ahead of the cutthroat industry of consumerism and the ever-discerning customer, it is crucial businesses focus on customer experience whereas previously just gathering of customer service and customer satisfaction data was enough. Customer experience is all the ways a customer interacts with a business and how they perceive those interactions.
How to Keep Customers’ Loyalty
Research has shown clearly that retaining existing customers is not only easier but also more profitable for organisations compared to the cost of winning new business. To do this, businesses need to not only capture behavioural data of their customers and prospects but also understand and dissect that trove of data. By doing this, we can start to see the paths that customers take prior to becoming customers, but also after we have won their custom. Our ultimate aim should be towards converting our most loyal customers into promoters of our businesses as recent studies have shown that 84% of customers trust online reviews implicitly.
Why is the Customer Journey Important?
Customer journeys are the cornerstone for any business customer experience strategy, after all the customer is the lifeblood of any business no matter what service or commodity a business is selling. As some businesses have multiple divisions that a customer may encounter, they must be focusing on ensuring that the whole customer journey is fluid with no deviations from the training. Whether it’s the IT department, finance or marketing team, every interaction in these areas must be seamless and cohesive. Customer journeys can clearly show bottlenecks or failures within customer service and help to win our customer’s loyalty. Remember the sales pipeline is how your business experiences your potential customers, but the customer journey is how your customers perceive you. The golden rule: Make sure your pipeline always makes things easiest for your customer and not you.
A New Standard for Customer Experience
With companies such as Apple, Uber, and Amazon setting the standard high for customer experience, this in turn has set the standards expected by customers for all businesses. This shift in customer behaviour can be very dangerous for businesses that are not willing to invest and change how they interact with their customers. Businesses that are not willing to change or analyse consumer trends do so at their peril. Businesses that can correctly identify their customer, fulfil their needs, and align on values will have lasting success.
Future Proofing Your Business Online
In a post-pandemic world, the online space has also needed to move with changing consumer habits. People are willing to buy online more than ever before, and the removal of any human interaction should not be seen as something to shy away from or as a negative. If online businesses correctly identify their ideal customers and what they value in an online experience and deliver it seamlessly this will, in turn, garner loyalty. Customers are happy to shop online whether this is via a traditional website or via social media. The key is their desire to feel that their needs are being met in a safe environment. Using reputable payment portals and being explicit in how you will be keeping customers’ data safe and clear seamless processes will make them trust you.
Personalisation: the Key to a Business’s Success
The flip side of this type of customer experience is the use of personalisation. Gone are the days when customers were happy to just receive an email with their name as the addressee and generic email content being sent to them. Now consumers demand personalisation. If they don’t feel like they are valued and noticed, they will happily go somewhere that does offer it. Customers have become accustomed to getting what they want and gravitate towards those brands that treat them as individuals. Perhaps ironically, effectively implementing a CRM (customer relationship management tool) to standardise your workflow is help you target and tailor customer marketing in an incredibly personal way. This level of granular data on customers in itself nowadays is a very lucrative commodity, we can see this through the eerily specific ads that we all receive.
All Roads Lead to Digital Data
With all this personalised data flying around, customer demands of what is being done with their data are, quite rightly, at an all-time high. Its critical businesses understand customers’ attitudes about data sharing and privacy to build a sense of trust with their customers. It’s quite helpful to see it as there are four main types of customers in regard to data sharing, those who are unaware, acceptors, those who are cautious and lastly those who know how to go incognito. Being there to support each type will only help develop trust in your customers and improve their customer experience.
How can Businesses Reward Loyalty and Why is it Important?
When thinking of practical ways to gather large amounts of customer data, the straight answer is to simply ask for it. Whether it’s sending surveys, contests and loyalty cards, to tracking behaviours on website, usage behaviours and actually buying data from data brokers. To thank loyal customers for their data they should reward it with discounts, offers and events unique to that customer. Understanding the needs of groups of people with shared characteristics, interests and behaviours all enable a business to effectively target their marketing campaigns, growing their share of the market while keeping their customers onside.
The ability of a business to be agile, forward-thinking and innovative when it comes to customer experience management will always deliver longevity and success. Is your business future-proofed for ever-changing consumer demands?
We look forward to supporting you in your journey, let’s start a conversation, here.