Sales enablement and marketing experts agree on one thing – aiming for flawless customer experience (CX) is the holy grail for every business. It’s also the ultimate ROI remedy. A CX program conjures up all kinds of thoughts, so to make it practical, let’s confine it to tried-and-tested tactics and strategies. Here are some guiding principles to design CX programs that work:
- Every customer experience program embraces a compilation of touchpoints the customer has with the company, its products, and services. It ranges from the time when the purchase idea enters the customer’s mind, then the buying action, through to after-purchase use (to keep returns at a minimum).
- A customer that drops off the CX journey is nothing but a prospect. Prospects typically abort at some point before buying, and after moving through numerous touchpoints. Whichever way you want to look at disrupted CX journeys, know this – it’s a costly exercise that sucks the life out of one’s marketing budget. The substantial funding of customer service facilities, email reminders, social media ads, feedback surveys, and more cannot withstand repeated CX program failures. It takes investment combined with customer experience acumen to convert a prospect experience (PX) into a CX.
- CX journey analysis is a vital senior management function. You can’t anticipate obstacles, stops-and-starts, and upsets to the best-planned customer experience programs without it.
- Even if you are replacing them one-on-one, losing customers represents a big-time marketing regression – commonly referred to as customer churn. Because the cost of one lost customer far exceeds the revenue of one gained, churn corrupts profitability. CX programs that ignore churn are doomed to let its stakeholders down.
- Conversely, customer experience programs keep customers engaged by smoothing the road to product and service usage, thus building a positive brand image and creating customer retention. It’s a boost to the company’s ROI, enhancing its competitive standing often beyond expectations.
- Companies that reflect engaging customer experiences can command upwards of a 16% price premium on products and services.
- 69% of U.S. online adults are likely to buy from online and offline retailers that provide consistent customer service online and offline.
- According to American Express, bad service has influenced over 50% of the American population to jettison a planned purchase or transaction.
- Repeat buying by satisfied customers, versus those in a neutral zone, is at least 500% higher.
Optimizing customer experience programs by using all the right methods
A customer experience program is a systematic way to optimize how your business connects with and builds brand value for its customers. The rules that govern CX program success are:
- Get the entire team behind the project – it’s beyond the capabilities of a one-person show. Paint your vision for all employees and management to see. Consolidate support for your customer experience program and get team commitment to see it through to completion. When you think of it, everyone is involved, so don’t omit anyone. No division’s exempt – warehousing, delivery, supply-chain fulfillment, customer reception, sales, production, IT, and HR. That’s because all resources are there to serve customers.
- Don’t be afraid to take action when touchpoints prove dispensable or corrupt the CX process. Cutting the CX journey down to only the necessary interfaces is part and parcel of a successful CX program.
- CX journeys move in and out of the company’s view. Customers’ buying habits move them online, offline, into brick-and-mortar outlets, connect them to customer service agents, and also competitors’ options. A few of these waystations are invisible; others are as clear as day – encouraging and throwing out alerts (when we see motivation stalling).
- Customer journey mapping captures the controllable touchpoints, enabling the marketing team to anticipate how most customers in the same demographic react to company initiatives. It involves depicting customer journeys visually, connecting CX touchpoints like link chains, as it moves toward a buy. A reflective map shows what the customer felt, thought, and did at each touchpoint. Professionally designed templates are available to make capturing CX data easy, registering and recording customers’ frustrations, anger, indecision, and satisfaction. With enough respondents, one can derive patterns and trends for average customers for any group under focus.
- Understand the essence of market segmentation. Every service and product may, indeed appeal to different groups of people. For example, orange juice to customer category A may signify a healthy breakfast supplement with cereal and yogurt. To category B, it’s only a mixer for alcoholic beverages. Engaging journeys to the same product may look like chalk and cheese, yet both may be on the right track. The respective sector members engage customer support, review ingredients, containers, quantities, and receive communications entirely differently. Astute marketers will overview their customer journeys separately and deal with the touchpoints accordingly. The CX program branches out and becomes hugely complicated when one has multiple customer groups in the mix. Technology is the answer to making it affordably simpler. Companies like Sogolytics can streamline your CX programs, applying the most effective apps for your situation.
- CX journey mapping without feedback is like a horse pulling a cart without wheels. Insert customer feedback into your thinking, regularly, using standardized feedback templates that garner accurate results. Listening to what your customers are saying about your brand is a must if a customer experience program is going to get traction.
How a customer experience program uses NPS, Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES) feedback techniques to drive in the right direction
Modern companies structuring CX programs do not hesitate to use three-part feedback that overlaps in instances. They’re all brief, consisting of a single question in two cases and an average of three in CES. The feedback converges on uncovering customer sentiments at various touchpoints, close to the touchpoint CX as possible. Let’s look at each closely:
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
It’s incredible what one question can do to gain CX insight when asked timeously to the right people. That question is, “How likely are you to recommend us?” The thinking behind this is to determine if customers are ambassadors of the business or not. Word of mouth brand exposure is invaluable. Likewise, bad news spreads much faster than good. A lousy brand impression can spread like wildfire through the marketplace. Either way, the company needs to uncover if the aggregated touchpoints are in its favor or not. NPS is the ticket for that.
Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
CSAT surveys are pinpoint-focused on a single touchpoint. It’s certainly not the entire story, but if you conduct CSAT surveys across the journey with consistent positivity, you know you’re doing a lot right. Moreover, the test is worth its weight in gold when it comes to weeding out obstructive interactions. Improving or erasing the latter work best with follow-up, open-ended question surveys geared to dig deeper into dissatisfactions once detected.
A typical CSAT question is, “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the service you received?” Answers are graded from 1 (lowest) – 5 (highest). There’s a formula that creates a picture once enough respondents react to the survey, as follows:
(# of satisfied customers (4 and 5 ratings) / # of survey responses) x 100 = % of satisfied customers.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
CES is a CSAT survey, except it has one or two open-ended questions to dig further after rating a response. For example, if the rating is low (say 1 in a range from 1 to 7), you ask, “why were you dissatisfied?” After that, you may add one other, “what would you do to improve the situation?” Essentially, it takes CSAT thinking deeper into the issue if you deem it necessary.
Feedback in general
Deciding on the mix of CES, NPS, and CSAT probes across the spectrum of touchpoints and time is a science in itself. We recommend creating a customer survey analytics dashboard to help you put the feedback in perspective. Solicit the assistance of companies like Sogolytics to provide state-of-the-art software tailor-made for the job. You can integrate feedback metrics to see when you should apply all three feedback options or less. Combined with Saas solutions directed at integrating your CX program overall, all gaps disappear. It creates a complete customer experience management (CXM) platform.
So, in short, the goal is to listen, understand, and measure. Apply techniques and affordable tech apps that take the numerous CXs – no matter how convoluted the journeys are – to another level.