Everybody’s talking about the great importance of customer experiences. With good reason. Because these days, customers are more influential. Their experiences with the company can easily be shared, making each individual experience important in itself. But how do you ensure your customer has a positive experience without drowning in expenses? And what role does customer service play? Learn more about the success factors that will lead customers to say: I would happily buy from that company again.
First, you need an honest assessment of yourself and your company. How satisfied are your customers? The consulting firm Bain & Company conducted a survey that revealed a startling contradiction: While 80% of surveyed companies believed customers are having excellent experiences with their businesses, only 8% of customers shared that opinion. In the Customer Experience Rating study by the Temkin Group, only around 18% of surveyed companies delivered a good or very good customer experience in 2016. An evaluation that very accurately represents the true situation is important for precise optimization.
1. Provide good customer service
Within any business relationship, the customer has many points of contact where they interact with the business and each experience along these touch points makes an impression. The music in the store, the readability of the website, the quality of the products and, last but not least, how service employees act. Customer service is a touchpoint along the customer journey that can take place on the phone, in person, or with a chatbot. The most important thing with service is respond to questions quickly and in an emotionally appealing way. Let’s consider for instance a customer who wants to book a trip. The customer experience will go far beyond mere service. When the travel documents are received early and complete, the plane starts on time, and the hotel offers a free welcome drink, those things are no longer part of the company’s customer service. But they do contribute to creating a very good customer experience.
At every touchpoint, the business faces the challenge of ensuring a good customer experience. Regarding service, the solution could be a knowledge management system that reliably provides information for all contacts.
2. Ask the right questions
A strategy that leads to exceptional customer experiences should answer the following questions:
–> Create your guidelines and train your employees accordingly.
–> Segment your customers and do everything you can to understand the various groups.
–> Create a customer journey map.
3. Create a customer journey map
This recipe for good customer experiences sounds simple but is difficult to implement: Know your customers very well and only create good experiences at the points where it is necessary. A customer journey map will help accomplish this. You’ll need to tailor yours to your company’s situation.
A prerequisite for good customer journey maps are precise knowledge about the target group and knowing what exactly happens and what should happen at the touchpoints with your company.
The first step in creating a customer journey map is getting to know the target group better by creating personas. Personas are like characters in a movie which stand for a target group and its typical characteristics. They generally allow you to better understand the situation and the customer’s perspective. These characteristics include demographic traits such as age, place of residence, income, career, values, goals in life, information habits, etc. Also ask yourself: Which problems should your company solve for the persona? What keeps a persona from buying your product? Use all the data you have available to create the personas: Analyses of your webpages, content from social media, marketing evaluations, complaints, surveys you have conducted, external surveys, etc. Uncover correlations when evaluating the data — that can lead to surprising insights and later that will help you generate unique ideas.
Next, list the touchpoints and channels. Put yourself in the persona’s place: Which touchpoints are important to you? What are your expectations? Which channels would you choose? Write down the expectations of the persona — particularly from an emotional perspective. Which information does the persona require at which points? Where might problems occur?
4. Consider emotions and know what to ignore
You should know as precisely as possible what information the customer needs, when they need it, and which emotions are at play. A study by the Harvard Business Review titled The New Science of Customer Emotions revealed that customers who feel a positive emotional connection recommended purchased products three times more strongly and are more likely to purchase again from this company by the same factor. Considering these results, it’s safe to assume that investing in customer experience will pay off.
But that doesn’t mean you should invest in all touchpoints and channels. Leave everything out that the persona does not require. The art of generating a customer journey map lies in knowing what to concentrate on.
Then visualize the customer journey map and draw your persona’s journey on a timeline. Include the five phases as well as the touchpoints and channels. You can use this graphic from EY for inspiration.
5. Ensure satisfaction to generate customer loyalty
You can assume that the customer will buy from you again and even remain loyal if they have positive experiences across a range of touchpoints and their expectations are met. The more satisfied customers are with the performance of your company, the longer they will remain with you. A study by American Express showed that over half of all customers (60%) would pay more for a positive customer experience. To make sure you can prove that to be true, you should regularly measure the ROI of your customer experience strategy.
The most important thing is to understand the customer as well as possible and focus on measures that are truly relevant. Customer service will also appear at various points on the customer journey map. But it won’t be truly fast and excellent without a good knowledge management system. If good customer service is on your customer journey map, then you should test the SABIO knowledge management system free for 30 days: https://www.getsabio.com/de/signup/