In 2024, customer experience is going to play a bigger role in businesses than ever before. To stay ahead of the curve and create a good customer experience, companies need a clear customer-centric strategy.
This blog dives into some of the ways you can provide the best customer experience. You’ll also learn how to measure and analyze customer experience.
Lastly, you’ll take a look at the power of coupling a customer portal with CRM software to take your customer experience to the next level.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience (CX) refers to what your customers feel when dealing with your business or brand.
It’s their holistic perception of and experience with your touchpoints at every stage of their buying journey, from browsing your website or storefront to customer service.
Is customer experience the same as customer service?
Whereas customer service refers to a single event in the customer journey, customer experience describes all the experiences your customer has with your brand.
Although customer experience is often mistaken for customer service, there are clear differences between them.
While customer service managers are mainly responsible for the customer service aspects of your business, your entire business plays a role in shaping customer experience through various touchpoints.
Why a good customer experience matters
Unsurprisingly, when a customer receives a good customer experience, they’re willing to pay more. But every good experience influences more than just one customer.
In fact, 71% of customers recommend a product or service to others after receiving a good customer experience.
Overall, according to data from Forrester’s Customer Experience Index, brands with superior CX grow revenue five times faster than those who lag in CX.
What’s more is when a customer receives a good customer experience, they’re motivated to come back again.
In fact, 64% of organizations believe that creating unforgettable customer experiences is the best way to increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), which is the total income a business can expect from a customer over their entire relationship.
How to create the best customer experience
Now that you’ve understood how crucial a good customer experience is for your business, you’ll want to know how to create the best customer experience!
Let’s dive into some strategies you can use to achieve this in 2024.
1. Understand who your customers are and what they need
In order to create a good customer experience, you need to empathize with your customers to understand their needs.
One way to bring your customers to life is to segment them and create personas or customer profiles. Assign them a name and personality, and list the goals and pain points they might have. Are they tech-savvy? Or, do they need clear instructions?
Another tool used to better understand customer needs is an empathy map. It allows you to build a complete picture of your customer and the actions they might take based on their beliefs, emotions, and behavior.
When you pay close attention to who your customers are and how to create the best customer experience based on that, you turn them into fans and brand advocates. This sets you up for success.
2. Map the ideal customer experience journey
Once you understand who your customers are, mapping your ideal customer experience is the next step.
By creating personas and identifying customer goals, you can better understand your audience to create an ideal customer experience map.
A customer experience map breaks down activities in each phase of the customer journey, and lists all customer touchpoints.
Through an experience map, you see the entire experience from your customer’s point of view, so you can highlight all their pain points and opportunities. This way, you can figure out how to create the best customer experience when supplying your products and services.
Although it can be easy for customer experience maps to become internally-driven process flows, it’s important that you base your customer experience maps on actual customer research.
3. Always prioritize and listen to your customers
When you prioritize your customers ahead of your products and services, you create a culture that differentiates you from the competition. Customers want to know that someone is listening to them.
It’s important to ask questions on social media and in surveys. But even more so, to create a good customer experience, you need to listen, respond, and make the necessary changes.
Whether it’s fixing bugs on your website or switching to sustainable packaging materials, the best way to show customers that you hear them is by responding to their feedback.
4. Train your team to provide the best service
It’s easy to overwhelm your employees with complex information and resources. Even worse, your training plan might be irrelevant or impractical. Giving your employees the right training is crucial to providing a good customer experience.
Start by gathering feedback from customers to figure out pain points or the highest ROI opportunities. Then, use your findings to guide the next step.
For example, if customers deal with slow customer service, invest in software and customer training systems. On the other hand, if customers face trouble in being understood, then investing in soft skills training is the solution to how to create the best customer experience for them.
5. Create an emotional bond with your customers
Since more than 50% of a consumer experience is based on emotion, emotions therefore play a large role in a customer’s decision-making process.
Storytelling can bring human elements back into a digital customer experience. And people love a good story. Customers love to tell stories too, so asking them about their journeys, needs, and successes all make your client relationships more personal.
Similarly, brands use nostalgia and personal touches in their marketing to further build positive emotional bonds and create a good customer experience.
When you form a positive emotional bond and a customer remembers how they feel when using your product or service, they become loyal customers.
6. Learn from customer feedback
Customer feedback, whether positive or negative, can help you create a good customer experience. It’s natural to feel discouraged by negative feedback. But even if you run the most popular company in the world, you’re guaranteed to have customers who are displeased.
You can use negative feedback as an opportunity to accelerate your growth. By hearing the thoughts and sentiments of your customers, you can figure out how to create the best customer experience.
Also, you’ll know what to avoid. For example, Nike received backlash recently for releasing shoes that some believed had racist implications. Nike immediately recalled the shoes, demonstrating cultural sensitivity and respect for their audience.
7. Optimize the customer journey as you grow
It’s necessary to optimize your customer journey as your business grows to prove you’re trustworthy and care to provide a good customer experience.
This involves looking at every interaction a customer has with your brand and determining how to create the best customer experience at every step.
Although this may seem tedious since the number of channels, devices, and touchpoints makes the customer journey longer, it’s worth the effort!
A small mishap or flaw in your customer journey can take away from a good customer experience, and will lead to losses in your customer base. This flaw could be anything in the journey, like the design of your webpage, the checkout process, or even your customer support.
To make sure your conversion rates increase, it’s important to regularly collect feedback and measure customer experience.
How to measure and analyze customer experience
So you’ve looked at the different ways on how to create the best customer experience… But how do you measure it to figure out if you’re actually getting results and creating a good customer experience?
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is used as a measure of customer satisfaction, as well as loyalty. The score determines how likely it is for customer to recommend your company to a friend or a colleague.
You calculate it by taking the percentage of respondents who are promoters and subtracting the percentage of respondents that are detractors.
The formula is as follows: (Number of promoter scores/ total number of respondents) – (Number of detractors/ total number of respondents).
A score of 0 does not mean that you’re doing a bad job! Instead, analyze your results in comparison to competitors and focus on improving the score according to your customer feedback.
You can dive deeper by using reporting tools to analyze your results. For example, you can create custom reports that analyze NPS ratings by customer type. This allows you to understand the different types of customer sentiments and work out how to create the best customer experience for everyone individually.
Time to resolution (TTR)
Time to resolution (TTR) is the average time it takes your customer service reps to resolve a ticket or issue after your customer opens it.
You can measure it in days or business hours, and calculate it by adding up all the TTR and dividing that by the number of resolved cases.
According to CX trends, the number one cause of a frustrating customer experience is a long wait or response time. So, it’s crucial to track and find ways to improve your TTR for a good customer experience.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) is a CX metric you can calculate to measure how satisfied or unsatisfied your customers are with your product or service on average.
The survey scale is typically 1-3, 1-5, or 1-7, and you calculate your satisfaction score by adding up all the scores and dividing by the number of respondents. It’s best to try and get a CSAT score within 15 minutes of an interaction.
It’s important to do something with your insights once you gather the data and find out what your CSAT is.
Although your CSAT score is a great reporting benchmark, you’ll find the real cause of those scores in the open-ended comments.
Foster a good customer experience with customer portals
Many companies today realize the importance of customer portals, as they put the power in your customer’s hands.
A customer portal solution provides a centralized hub for customers to perform tasks independently and manage their relationship with your business.
During the customer journey, there are many instances when a customer needs immediate access to information.
Traditionally, when a customer needs information, they’re required to reach out to the company and wait for an executive or service rep to respond to them. This can take a lot of time, and it also takes your employees away from their work.
When integrated with a CRM, a customer portal allows customers to perform tasks such as:
- Checking the status of their support requests.
- Changing their account information.
- Viewing their invoices and quotes.
Method:CRM is a popular software choice because it gives customers 24/7 access to self-service portals where they can view and pay invoices. Not to mention, with Method, you’ll enjoy a powerful two-way sync with QuickBooks and Xero.
Customer portals (especially cloud-based ones) allow your customers to upload information securely and access sensitive information such as bank details or their home address in one place.
Thanks to SSL encryption, firewalls, virus protection, VPN, and other features, information is only accessible to authorized users. This is impossible with email or traditional post.
In comparison to other customer support channels such as SMS and email, a customer portal also allows customers to upload higher-quality documents with larger file-size limits.
More efficient support
We live in a world where customers expect things to be done instantly. A customer portal improves customers’ satisfaction as it empowers them to meet their needs on their own schedule.
Self-service options allow your customers to handle tasks themselves so that your support staff can focus on more critical requests.
Even better, when coupled with a CRM, a customer portal allows you to create automated workflows, like sending out immediate notifications to support staff when they’re responsible for a customer support request.
And your customer can track the status of that open support ticket, so they’re not left in the dark!
After a while, you’ll notice that your customers face similar problems that your team can tackle with similar solutions. Save your responses to common problems in your CRM as email templates and automate them, so that no customer requests fall through the cracks.
Recap: How to effectively create a good customer experience
Creating a good customer experience boosts sales and increases customer loyalty. It’s important to invest in strategies that help you achieve this at every stage in your business’ customer journey.
When you connect your customer portals with software such as Method:CRM, you take your business to the next level with:
- Self-service portals to retrieve invoices, make payments, and more.
- A powerful two-way sync with QuickBooks and Xero.
- Time-saving automated email templates and workflows.
Watch how Method:CRM transforms your customer experience!
Image credit: Yakobchuk Olena via Adobe Stock