Running a successful business presents many challenges, not least where to focus your time and energy. One area that has seen significant investment over the last few years is customer experience. Businesses are deciding to prioritise the relationship that they have with their customer base, as they have come to understand the huge benefits that loyal customers and clients can bring. The key is to create a customer experience that is ‘joined up’. By this we mean allowing customers to contact you however they prefer and whenever they need to, at whatever stage they are at in their journey. Making sure that this experience is as seamless as possible can certainly contribute to the success of a company.
Why is customer experience important?
Customer experience is much more than just a series of interactions between a business and its customers. It takes into account how your customer feels each step of the way in doing business with you. Let’s consider the many different types of communication that a customer may have with your business. The journey could start with a marketing communication and carry on through sales, customer support and could be ongoing. Each touchpoint on this journey becomes an important opportunity for you to make sure that they have the easiest and best experience of your brand.
If you can generate a positive customer experience each and every time someone interacts with your business, it can make a huge difference to the way your brand is perceived. A happy customer is often likely to become a loyal customer and one who will continue to choose your brand over others, regardless of the competition. This is hugely important for driving repeat business and ultimately increasing revenue.
Why is customer experience better ‘joined up’?
Customer experience also means delivering a proactive and seamless approach to each customer, regardless of which channel they choose to communicate with you. The key is to create a customer experience that is ‘joined up’. By this we mean allowing customers to contact you however they prefer and whenever they need to. They will want to continue the conversation with your business rather than have to start a new one each time. A ‘joined up’ customer experience is also one where they don’t experience any change in the quality of service that you give them, as they undergo their journey with your company.
The challenge is that there are many ways to interact with customers, especially in this increasingly digital world. As well as the telephone, you may use email, live chat, video meetings, messaging apps or even a range of social media channels to communicate. Customers have come to expect an ‘omni-channel’ experience whereby they can contact you in a whole variety of different ways and still get a first-class level of service.
The key to creating a ‘joined up’ customer experience
As with all business strategies, creating a ‘joined up’ customer experience requires some preparation to make it a success. This includes researching your customer base before then going on to look at the touchpoints and how to maximise each of these opportunities.
Understand the customer: Take a good look at your customer base to really understand what each client needs and wants from your business as they take their journey. Only then will you be able to make a proper connection with them and be able to offer the support that they need, whether they are a new customer or a returning one.
Create a strong customer support network: Customer service teams are certainly experts when it comes to offering advice and answering questions, but the customer relationship now goes further, across sales teams, marketing departments and more. Each department will need to learn how to make each communication relevant and personalised.
Capture customer feedback. One of the best ways to understand your customers is asking them for feedback about your business or service. This could be a survey sent at an opportune time, or a follow-up email or telephone call. Make sure to maximise each communication by asking questions that will help you to track their level of satisfaction.
Choose a seamless support system: Customer experience relies on a seamless back office system that can connect together the necessary CRM tools. Ideally a support system would be accessed by all staff, across a whole range of devices. When it comes to user experience, the simpler and more personalised, the better.
As has always been the case, the customer is king and the key to success in any company. Making it easy for them to do business with you is a win-win situation. Creating a ‘joined up’ brand experience will make it easier for them to migrate between channels in a seamless and consistent way, wherever they are in their customer journey. Investing in streamlining your customer facing activity will help you to provide the outstanding service that many customers have come to expect, as well as getting real-time feedback to make sure it continues to be a success – and will ensure that your business continues to thrive.