%56 will never use a company again
Over %25 will recommend friends not to use the business
20% will take revenge by posting a review online
14% will share a poor experience on social media
Those facts show what happens after poor customer experience, according to the report by New Voice and Click Fox.
Unsatisfied consumers are an inevitable truth of business life. Those companies which provide any poor customer experience have to pay a heavy price; either negative customer reviews or posts on social media or decrease on customer loyalty. Lots of brands have gone out of sectors because of poor customer experience or service. More than ever, companies, customers and the experience between each other are immensely transparent thanks to social media and other online platforms; also, customers want to be treated with attention and respect. In a nutshell, customers want everything to be perfect!
How would a business owner ensure that customers feel great in their relationship with his firm?
If you are also looking for the answer, we should start with customer experience that you provide for your customers. The main reason to turn customer experience into your main strategy is that there is a positive relationship between customer experience and customer loyalty, customer happiness and sales.
In this figure, we see the Customer Experience Management strategy by Gartner. When you put your customer in the center of your business strategy – and naturally improve the customer experience in all processes – it brings customer attraction, growth, loyalty and advocacy. This is the reason why 72% of businesses claim that improving the customer experience is their top priority (Forrester) and 50% of companies will increase their ‘customer experience’ investment in 2017 and 2018 (Gartner).
In this blog post, I highlight the customer experience trends in 2017 to help increase customer loyalty, happiness and direct sales for business owners.
“We must be able to predict what the customer wants next. Today is reactionary, after the fact. In 2020, customers will expect firms to be ahead of them, knowing what they need before they themselves have shown the need.” – Customer 2020 report, Walker
What is the real meaning of ‘Customer Experience’?
Customer experience is theoretically the whole of the perceptions and feelings that emerge at the end of relationship that you establish with the customer. Customer Experience Management refers to the transition from managing business processes to managing ‘feelings’ in these processes. Which means you knowingly or unknowingly provide a customer experience to your customers as a business owner or employee which is very transparent and reachable on online platforms in this technology age.
To sum up, the meaning of customer experience is a key which differentiates you in the market and increases customer loyalty in order to drive profit and gain competitive advantage.
We shouldn’t forget that customers have a voice and they have access to information on your company and your competitors, more than ever. Considering the rise of the conscious consumers, you and your company must provide the best customer experience they have ever had.
Let’s check the trends of Customer Experience for Businesses in 2017.
1. Designing the Customer Experience
Whether you manage it or not, your customers have an experience in their existing relationships for you. This experience is on 1-10 scale; it can be a frustrating experience (1), it can be also an admirable experience (10). Companies in the early stages of customer experience management put their efforts to make the current experience positive when they realize the importance of experience and emotion. But this is not enough!
Strong players do not settle for improving the current experience, they design their own customer experiences. They design and construct an experience editing that covers all touch points by taking the emotion center that they want to live in. You can consider this as a game scene; they design both the game’s main story (the main theme of the experience), the scenarios, the sub-scenarios, the players (employees).
Here, you can check a really good report and case studies on designing customer experience by Smithco Consultancy.
2. Voice of the Customer (VOC)
One of the most critical steps for Customer Experience Management is to hear the customer’s voice and use it to create an excellent experience by making the data meaningful. This data could be collected from the various channels: in-house resources, social media, website, call centre, etc.
The technological solutions in this are increasing day by day. Before using this data in sales and marketing focused campaigns, you need to get to know your customers and think about how you can use their opinions in your experience. In this age, customers are leaving a lot of digital traces compared to the old ones with the use of technology. At the same time, they leave customer feedback and they are more comfortable/brave than the old ones.
Last thing about the voice of the customer: according to a research by Gartner; the majority of companies have customer feedback on the 2017 priority list. Feedbacks provide us the critical information that we need to measure, enrich and redesign the experience we have. You shouldn’t consider customer feedback as a bunch of complaints and reconsider it as a reflection of customer experience.
3. Customer-Focused Technology
Technology will continue to influence and shape customer experience over the coming years as it has been in the past years. We began to come across such practices what we can talk about a digital experience in itself. We are living in the digital age and there are initiatives that create an unmanned customer experience. Amazon’s cashier-less convenience store (in beta testing), Virgin’s unmanned hotel concept, IKEA’s augmented reality catalogues, Topshop’s augmented reality fitting rooms are all perfect examples of the fact that there is no limit in technology if you want to have a perfect customer experience.
We started to see intelligent assistants -which are popular with Siri- and chatbots everywhere and they offer new opportunities to create an experience in the digital world for us. They allow businesses to interact with the customers in innovative new ways. The ability of innovations, to deal with common inquiries or assisting users to shop online whenever they want to is already a key feature. According to many research companies and researchers, there will be a widespread use of voice search and chatbots.
If you are not able to use chatbots or a similar technology, the most important thing is the online accessibility of your company. While the use of smartphones and tablets is growing rapidly, your website site, mobile site and app should be focused primarily on the digital customer experience.
4. Building Consistent Experiences in Multiple Channels
In the digital age, brands interact with customers via offline and online channels. According to Aberdeen Group Inc.’s research, companies with an effective strategy in multi-channel management have the chance to retain 2 times more customers comparing to companies with a strategy.
Remember! If your customer has a negative experience in any of the parts of your company, it will cost the whole brand. Let’s consider a telecom company, your customer might be very glad of the product, his/her line is very well received. If this customer has a problem with the call center, he/she will have a bad customer experience and arguably change the operator.
Ensuring consistency across all channels must be your primary goal as a business owner!
5. Facilitating Customer Jobs (Convenience)
One of the main priorities of the customers is that the interactions to be generated by the brand are easy. ‘The effort’ metric has taken its place in customer experience measurement system in recent years. How easy is it to reach your services for customers?
In general, if you sell the product or service, all companies are very successful in facilitation. However, many of the companies neglect this principle after the purchase. It is important to remember that post-sales customer processes are not so easy so this is where you improve the customer loyalty.
6. Developing Employee Experience
Last but not least: employee experience!
“We built the Starbucks brand first with our people, not with the customers,” said CEO Howard Schultz. “Because we believed that the best way to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers was to hire and train great people, we invested in employees.”
Prioritizing the needs of its employees helps Starbucks build its brand and increase sales. 87% of the company’s brand affinity is driven by the way Starbucks treats its employees, according to a 2014 customer study.
“Happy employees=happy customers” is the right strategy. It 100% works and it’s a fantastic sentiment.
If you want to improve customer experience strategy, you should therefore focus on better engagement with your employees.
To sum up, customer Experience is one of the most importants parts of the business strategy as it is the most critical key to bring new customers and keep existing customers loyal. We, as a digital recruitment firm, provide our interim managers to improve your customer experience strategy to increase your customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and sales.