Did you know — Customers are five times more likely to stop buying from a company due to perceived indifference than bad experiences? This highlights that it isn’t enough to provide a so-so customer experience. To retain customers, you need to know how to enhance customer experience.
But how can you provide a positive customer experience?
Read on for a complete guide on the top ways to improve customer experience.
Before learning to enhance customer experience, let’s review what it is.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience (CX) is how customers feel about their experience purchasing your products or services.
It’s the sum of all customer interactions, from the first website visit to when they receive their order.
Customer experience is a person’s holistic view of the business, so it’s naturally the responsibility of your entire company to improve it.
Customer experience is divided into two types:
- Direct customer experience: This encompasses all interactions started by the customer. It covers the entire sales cycle, their experience with your product, and customer support team interactions.
- Indirect customer experience: Indirect CX covers customers’ passive encounters with your company. These encounters happen through promotional materials, reviews, and word-of-mouth marketing.
How does an enhanced customer experience look? Here are four key traits of a company with a good CX:
- Adopts a customer-centric company culture where all employees are responsible for customer happiness.
- Implements well-designed touchpoints that satisfy the customer’s needs.
- Delivers quality customer experience consistently.
- Uses the proper customer satisfaction measures to gauge its customer experience quality.
Is customer experience the same as customer service?
Customer experience and customer service have the same end goal — to make customers happy.
That said, customer service is just one part of the entire customer experience.
Both are essential to business success, so the significant differences between customer service and customer experience are.
Customer service is generally a reactive process because the customers come to your company with questions or complaints.
On the other hand, knowing how to enhance customer experience takes a proactive process. Your team needs to listen to feedback and research to understand what the customers want.
Duration of relationship
Customer service consists of isolated, distinct events. Most customer service calls start with a customer asking for help and end with the issue being resolved.
In contrast, customer experience is a long-term relationship that spans multiple interactions. As long as the customer keeps coming back, their customer experience continues.
For further learning, explore the differences between customer experience vs. relationship management.
How important is the customer experience?
A good customer experience is crucial because happy customers lead to a successful business. Here are some benefits you’ll get from knowing how to enhance customer experience.
Better understand your customers
Researching and listening to customer feedback are the top ways to improve customer experience.
Analyzing and processing this feedback gives you a better understanding of your customer base, which helps create tailor-made marketing campaigns and special offers.
Increase customer loyalty and retention
A great customer experience makes for satisfied customers, positively impacting their loyalty.
Loyal customers have a higher retention rate, meaning they’re less likely to leave your business and buy from a competitor.
Fun fact: They also typically spend more than new customers!
Build your brand
Consistently delivering an exceptional customer experience builds trust and goodwill in your brand.
If you’ve built up your brand reputation, people are more likely to forgive when you fall short of customer expectations.
Attract new customers
Loyal customers often become brand evangelists who recommend your product to their friends and family. Moreover, having a positive experience means they’re more likely to post great reviews of your company, further boosting your reputation.
Drive costs down
Listening to customer feedback helps you identify which initiatives work and which ones don’t. By focusing on the ones that work, you can save a lot of money and resources while also bringing in more revenue.
How can you provide a positive customer experience?
Now that you know how to enhance customer experience, it’s time to action these insights. Here are the hallmarks of a company with an improved customer experience:
- Listens to positive and negative customer feedback.
- Analyzes feedback to understand the target audience.
- Identifies and addresses issues throughout its customer journey.
How to enhance customer experience: Top tips
There are many ways to improve customer experience. Here are the top eight to do so.
Get to know your customers.
All excellent customer experiences start with the company understanding what the customers want.
Research your customer’s demographics and preferences, then create a customer persona. Then, craft your customer experience to fit the needs of this persona.
One of the best and most convenient ways to gather feedback and data on customers is through customer satisfaction surveys. Ask customers to fill one out after finishing their purchase, or send them out as part of your marketing newsletter.
Get action ideas from your team.
Your customer service team deals with customers every day, so they’re bound to have some ideas on how to enhance your customer experience.
To enhance customer experience, hear them out and implement the ideas that sound viable.
In a work culture where ideas are valued and opinions are honored, employees develop new ways to improve the customer experience.
If your team members are hesitant to share ideas, consider providing incentives like free lunch, cash bonuses, or extra upskilling opportunities.
Incentivize customer loyalty
It’s a fact that customer retention is cheaper than customer acquisition, which is why fostering loyalty is essential.
Promoting customer loyalty makes them feel they’re an essential part of the company and rewards continuous support.
Some great ways to build customer loyalty are to:
- Offer extra discounts for large or recurring transactions.
- Implement a point reward or stamp card program.
- Include free items for big purchases.
- Start a referral program with discounts and other prizes.
- Establish personal relationships with your regular customers.
Enhance customer experience with the right technology
Technology vastly improves your customer experience management.
For example, active social media makes connecting with customers more accessible, while online survey tools help gather customer data.
Different businesses use technology differently, so find out what kind of software or tools your business needs before implementing them.
A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is universally beneficial. Thanks to its data-gathering capabilities, you can create personalized experiences and special offers that fit your customer profile perfectly.
Below is an example of how Method:CRM improves customer experience.
Take an omnichannel approach
An omnichannel approach delivers a consistent brand experience through all your touchpoints. An excellent example of an omnichannel customer journey is:
- While at a mall, the customer sees your product in one of your stores.
- On the way home, they see an ad for your product while browsing on their smartphone.
- Once home, they purchase your product through your desktop website.
- If the customer chooses in-store pickup, they go to the store that’s closest to them.
Syncing your touchpoints may take effort, but a consistent approach makes the sales process easier for customers.
Make use of customer journey mapping
A customer journey map details all the steps a customer takes to purchase your product.
Mapping your entire customer journey is a great way to gauge the experience and identify any issues that may arise.
Once you have a customer journey map, have your team test it to identify which areas need improvement.
Address those potential issues and test the customer journey again, repeating the process until you finally come up with a perfect version.
This is an excellent exercise if you are eager to enhance customer experience.
Show genuine customer appreciation
While a simple “Thank you for your business” is an excellent way to appreciate customers, you need to go the extra mile to win their hearts.
Here are some excellent customer appreciation ideas:
- Send handwritten holiday cards.
- Give customized gifts to celebrate recent life events.
- Host customer appreciation nights to thank your most loyal customers.
- Listen to and act on customer feedback.
There are more ways to enhance customer experience, but above all else, you need to be genuine.
If none of the ideas above fit your customer base, feel free to develop your own.
Reduce friction with online portals
Long wait times hurt your customer experience.
Fortunately, you can alleviate this through self-service customer portals – just like the one Method:CRM provides. Below is an example of Method: CRM’s portals in action.
These portals let customers make payments, fill in contact information, and purchase new products and services without calling a customer service rep.
Checklist: 8 ways to improve customer experience
An excellent customer experience is the best way to improve customer loyalty and drive repeat business. Here’s how to enhance customer experience long-term:
- Know your customers.
- Implement ideas from team members.
- Reward customer loyalty.
- Use technology to improve customer experience.
- Adopt an omnichannel approach.
- Map out your customer journey.
- Show genuine appreciation for customers.
- Use self-service online portals.
Many tools can improve your customer experience but Method:CRM is built especially for you to learn about your customers and deliver tailor-made customer experiences.
Start your free trial of Method:CRM today!
Image credit: Odua Images via Adobe Stock