There’s a reason 20% of companies surveyed by Adobe in 2020 listed customer experience (CX) as offering the most exciting opportunities for their businesses. That’s more than content marketing, social media marketing, or video marketing.
But why did customer experience beat out everything else? It’s simply more fundamental to how your business operates and is key to unlocking the potential of your market.
What is customer experience?
This may seem like a simple question, customer experience is the interactions your customers have with you and how they respond. But what’s important to emphasize is that these customer responses are entirely subjective, so getting them right is part science and part art.
The stakes are high. One frustrating or unpleasant experience can easily turn a customer off, even in a B2B relationship. On the other hand, a positive experience can turn into every marketer’s dream: positive word of mouth. So what are the key pillars of customer experience you need to understand?
Begin with considering every point at which a customer interacts with you. This could be everything from reading the manual that comes with a product to getting marketing emails. Building a customer experience begins with this clear understanding of every chance you have to improve that experience. This is often called touchpoint mapping.
Remember that just because a touchpoint doesn’t seem important isn’t an excuse to neglect it. Negative experiences are powerful and often they come from seemingly insignificant interactions like trying to get a simple question answered.
Once you have a sense of all the areas where you interact with your customers, it’s time to map them into a coherent customer journey. This usually involves developing several common examples of touchpoints in order and planning how they cohere into a single compelling customer journey.
However, don’t rely solely on your own intuition here. Good market research through techniques like interviews and focus groups should be used to get a realistic sense of what actual journeys your customers go on, instead of simply the ones you imagine they experience. Customer journey maps are useful tools in this stage.
Once you’ve got a clear idea of your brand touchpoints and the customer journeys you want, you may find you need more touchpoints to get the customer experience you need. That’s where customer engagement comes in. These are moments when you reach out to help ensure your customers stay engaged, avoid potential problems, and generally have a positive experience with you.
Why is it so important?
It should be clear by now that ensuring a positive customer experience isn’t just important, it’s essential. Only businesses with effective monopolies are able to consistently get away with offering poor customer experiences (telecoms being the classic example), and chances are that doesn’t apply to you. But just what can an improved customer experience offer you?
Better customer experience means more customer satisfaction
This may seem obvious but it’s worth repeating. Successful businesses are built on customer satisfaction because dissatisfied customers tend to take their business to your competitors, leave poor online reviews, etc. The effects can even bleed into employee morale, as being bombarded with emails and stories about bad customer experiences can really dampen employee enthusiasm and performance.
Better customer experience means higher engagement
Remember when we discussed the ways you can create quality customer engagement? Well, when customers are satisfied, that work becomes far easier. Your email open rates improve and customers are more likely to become repeat buyers or tell their friends or colleagues about you. All of this serves as the foundation for creating one of the most powerful things in business: a loyal customer base.
Loyal customers contribute to higher conversion rates
When you’ve consistently put in the effort to create positive customer experiences and ended up with a loyal customer base, you’re ready to grow. This is because loyal customers are repeat customers, allowing you to avoid having to invest as much in acquiring expensive new customers.
Once you have their email and have built a strong relationship, you can keep cultivating it instead of searching for a new customer. Cheaper access to those customers plus higher conversion rates make those loyal customers tremendously valuable.
Better relationships transform customers into a long-term asset
Ultimately, all the time and effort you invest into better customer experiences are about transforming your customer base from something fleeting into a powerful long-term asset. By focusing on customer experience, you set yourself up for success and can stand out in even the most crowded and competitive markets. That’s why companies today are focusing so much on this area and why you should as well.