How to make a great customer experience: The ultimate guide

This image features a lady handing a customer clothing pieces to try in the fitting room of a clothing store. Both women are smiling while interacting.

Improving the customer experience of a business brings many benefits, like happier customers and stronger feelings of loyalty to your company. 

However, creating a great customer experience isn’t as easy as it sounds. Read on for a complete guide to making a great customer experience that’s sure to make your brand a favorite among customers!

What is customer experience?

Customer experience (CX) refers to what customers feel when dealing with your business or brand. It’s the sum of their experience with your company’s touchpoints, from browsing your storefront to post-sales support. 

Everything your company does impacts how customers see your business, so an outstanding customer experience is essential.

While every part of your company influences customer experience, four key elements measure the quality of customer interactions:

  • Company culture: A great customer experience starts with the company itself. A company culture that puts customers at the forefront motivates employees to find new ways to delight customers, improving customer experience as a whole.
  • Customer touchpoints: Touchpoints like your website, customer service reps, and social media accounts are the “face” customers see when they do business with you. Nobody likes to be greeted by a rude and scowling face, so user-friendly and empathetic touchpoints are essential.
  • Consistency: No matter your industry, day-to-day conditions may vary, but your service quality shouldn’t fluctuate. Even having one bad day can negatively influence customer perceptions, so make sure that you deliver the best customer experience consistently.
  • Customer satisfaction: An excellent customer experience leads to high customer satisfaction scores. Use reliable tools and metrics to get the most accurate data on your customer satisfaction.

Is there a difference between customer experience and customer service?

The main aim of customer experience and customer service is to make customers happy. However, there are some important differences between these two.

Let’s go deeper into them.

Control level

You typically have full control over the company’s customer service. For example, you can train your reps to offer new services and answer customer questions effectively.

However, you don’t have as much control over customer experience. You have some say on how you want to present your company to customers, but there are external factors (like the public perception of your business) that you can’t directly change.

Metrics

Customer service metrics are generally more technical and measure the performance of your reps. Common metrics include:

  • Customer service ticket volume.
  • Average response times.
  • Average resolution times.
  • Customer satisfaction score.

Meanwhile, customer experience metrics are geared toward how well your company can retain customers and how likely they’ll recommend your business to others. Key measures of customer experience include: 

  • Customer retention rate. 
  • Churn rate.
  • NPS (Net Promoter Score).

Responsibility

Customer service is primarily the domain of your customer service managers and their team since they’re the ones interacting directly with customers. 

Meanwhile, your entire business plays a part in shaping the customer experience through its many touchpoints.

Why creating a great customer experience is vital to your success

Knowing how to make a great customer experience is important for your business. 

Why? Below are the top four benefits that arise from improving the customer experience. 

Understand your customers better

Listening to honest feedback and learning what customers want out are the keys to improving the customer experience. 

Learning about your customers means you can also provide more personalization on your touchpoints. For example, you can give special discounts on products they frequently buy.

Improve customer retention

A satisfied customer comes back for more business and is less likely to buy from your competitors. 

Another good reason to keep providing an enhanced customer experience is that many customers are likely to walk away from a company after one or two bad experiences. 

If you consistently deliver exceptional customer experience, you can build up enough goodwill that customers can forgive the occasional mistake.

Enhance your brand’s reputation

Consistently providing a great customer experience builds trust in your brand. If your brand is synonymous with great service and quality products, you can draw in customers with the strength of your company name alone.

This means more business, with fewer marketing efforts. 

Reduce your costs

Creating a great customer experience also helps you drive costs down. 

By analyzing customer engagement data, you can figure out which initiatives and marketing campaigns aren’t working and stop spending money on those efforts. This way, you can spend more money on the things that customers actually respond to.

What’s the impact of a poor customer experience?

If you don’t figure out how to make a great customer experience, your company will likely suffer down the line. 

Negative customer experiences can influence your business in many ways. Below are just a few. 

  • Damaged reputation: The first victim of a bad customer experience is your brand. All it takes is a flurry of negative reviews from angry customers to tarnish your name overnight. With a damaged reputation, new potential customers are likely to look at your competitors first.
  • Loss of current customers: A poor company reputation doesn’t just drive away new customers, but it also may cause your regulars to leave. If they feel that their needs aren’t consistently met, they may decide to do business with competitors instead.
  • Decreased profits: Losing customers means you lose out on sales. Naturally, fewer sales directly impact how much money you make.

What makes for an enhanced customer experience?

Before getting into how to make a great customer experience, you need to know what a good CX looks like. The key traits of a company with an enhanced customer experience are that it:

  • Listens to customers: You can’t provide a good customer experience without knowing what your customers need.
  • Asks for customer feedback and values their opinion: Asking customers for feedback is an excellent way to learn their needs and how they see your company. 
  • Has systems to collect and analyze feedback: If you’re taking feedback regularly, you need a system to do so. This way, you don’t have to craft reports from scratch every time you do a survey.
  • Knows how to improve its customer journey: By understanding your customers, you’ll understand the potential issues in your customer journey. With that information, you can start drafting up ways to deliver an optimal experience.

How to make a great customer experience

Now that you’ve learned the what’s and why’s, it’s time to understand how to make a great customer experience. 

Below are eight ways to improve your customer experience. Read on and implement the ones that are most appropriate for your business.

1. Prioritize the needs and wants of your customers

A customer-centric mindset is essential to keep customers happy. Your entire team should strive to deliver a positive experience in whatever way they can. 

If you can engrain this belief into your team and culture, creating a great customer experience becomes that much easier.

For instance, the customer service team should always be ready to answer customer inquiries — demonstrating that their concerns are your top priority. 

On the other hand, your sales team can come up with new products that address customer pain points.

2. Implement employee ideas on improving the customer experience

Your customer-facing employees deal with your target buyer every day — which means they’ve heard their fair share of comments and suggestions. 

You want to open the door for their unique insights on how to make a great customer experience. Whenever you hit a wall in figuring out how to make a great customer experience, talk to your employees for suggestions.

Not only does this help you better your customer experience, but it also shows employees that they’re valued, improves morale and engagement, and makes them even more willing to help customers.

3. Encourage customer loyalty

Creating a great customer experience in itself encourages customer loyalty. 

However, you can foster even more loyalty through other means, such as special offers for longtime customers or an incentivized referral program. 

After all, customers are more likely to promote your business if they can get a discount or a free product every time they successfully refer a friend to your company.

4. Use the right technology to create a great customer experience.

Technology is one of the keys to an enhanced customer experience. Tools like email software and social media give you a lot of avenues to connect and delight customers. 

For example, customer relationship management (CRM) software tracks your customer base’s purchase history and preferences. This allows you to formulate personalized offers and show customers that you know who they are and what they like to buy.

Below is an example of how a CRM tool like Method benefits businesses eager to strengthen their customer experience. 

 

5. Lead with an omnichannel approach

Taking an omnichannel approach means putting up a consistent customer journey across multiple mediums and touchpoints. 

This is especially important because people consume multiple types of online and offline media every day. 

Presenting a unified journey and message across different channels makes it easier for people to connect with your business.

6. Focus on customer journey mapping

An enjoyable customer journey makes for a better customer experience. 

Map out your customer journey so you are confident in the customer experience you’re offering. 

Then, ask your employees to test out the customer journey to identify what issues the customer may encounter before rolling it out to the general public. From there, collect customer feedback and continue to iterate on it!

7. Make your appreciation for customers known

People love to be appreciated. As a business, you can show appreciation to customers in many ways, including:

  • Free items, services or merchandise with purchases.
  • Personalized marketing materials. 
  • Tailor-made offers based on customer purchase history.
  • Establishing real connections with customers.

Whatever you choose, the main thing is to make customers feel like they’re contributing to the success of your company. When people feel important and valued, they’re more likely to engage with your brand.

8. Provide an enhanced customer experience with online portals

Online customer portals, like the one provided by Method:CRM, make things easier for you and your customers. These portals enable customers to pay for your products and services and send messages to customer support easily with minimal help from customer service reps. 

Below is an overview of what portals can do for your business!

 

Most customers will feel empowered when they can make transactions at their own pace. Plus, you shorten your payment times in the process!

Improving the customer experience: 8 actions to take

Delivering a positive customer experience builds customer loyalty and satisfaction, which results in higher retention and more new customers. 

Want to know how to make a great customer experience? Take action now by:

  1. Prioritizing the needs and wants of your customers by listening to them.
  2. Allowing employees to suggest customer experience improvement ideas and then implementing them.
  3. Rewarding loyal customers with special offers and referral programs.
  4. Using the right technology to connect with your customers like Method:CRM!
  5. Adopting an omnichannel approach to customer experience.
  6. Mapping out your customer journey and addressing any issues.
  7. Appreciating your customers through personalization and going the extra mile.
  8. Implementing online portals to make the customer journey easier and more enjoyable.

With these eight steps in mind, you’re bound to delight customers and win more hearts!

See how Method:CRM strengthens your customer experience!

Image credit: Sam Lion via Pexels

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