What makes one company stand out from another? In any given industry, you’re likely delivering similar products and services as your competitors, often at equivalent price points. There’s a good chance you operate through analogous delivery models, and if you’re in a particularly small business ecosystem, you’re dipping into the same talent pool when recruiting.
That’s why today’s business leaders aren’t competing for the best product on the market; instead, they’re vying to deliver a first-rate customer experience. Studies show that recent spikes in market competition have caused 89% of organizations to remodel their businesses, instead planning to outcompete each other through their customer experience delivery.
Enhancing the customer’s experience, or CX, sounds simple in principle but proves to be more challenging in its execution. When entrenched in day-to-day operations, it’s hard to see the bigger picture of your company and how the customer interacts with the work you do. Leaders who have customer experience in mind must always, therefore, balance the successful delivery of their product with the company’s customer-facing image. To ensure great customer experience, what you are delivering works in tandem with how you deliver it. In other words:
If your job is what you do, then providing a great customer experience is why you do it.
Technology, business tools and new business practices all deliver innovative platforms for companies to better connect with their customer base. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the newest methods that organizations and their leaders use to achieve their CX strategic objectives.
Map Out Your Buyer’s Journey
Before you can improve customer experience, your organization must understand how your patrons connect with your business, from their initial search query to the product arriving at their doorstep. This process, known as the buyer’s journey, has three primary segments:
- The Awareness Stage, where the prospective consumer pinpoints a particular problem to solve or objective to accomplish.
- The Consideration Stage, where prospects consider specific methods or services that will help them tackle these newly identified problems or goals.
- The Decision Stage, where the buyer chooses the vendor that will best serve their needs.
Unlike customer service, which often occurs during the later stages, customer experience follows the buyer’s journey from start to finish. Whether your potential buyer is reading your blog posts in the awareness stage or considering specific solutions while navigating your website’s product pages, you should make sure that your organization delivers great CX at every point on the purchasing roadmap.
Once you understand your buyer’s journey, you can create a customer experience statement for your company, distributed widely, to share your CX ethos and unified vision for execution with the entire team.
Answer Quickly and Correctly
Technology and web connectivity allow companies to work more quickly, but this also means that customers expect instant replies at any and all times of the day. According to Hubspot, 90% of consumers rate immediate response rates as “important” or “very important” when engaging with businesses. This means that companies that do not consider speed in their CX strategy might eschew new potential sales and damage current relationships with existing clientele.
Equally important to providing timely communication, however, is ensuring that your teams provide accurate information to customers. This may not be as much of a concern for small, well-established businesses, but companies that experience rapid growth or high turnover rates are often forced to hire and train new talent who are unfamiliar with the business’s specific practices. Making sure that these individuals are properly trained and up-to-speed before they take their first call is essential to providing a positive CX.
But how do you ensure that your customer-facing teams are effectively solving customer queries as they arise? And how can you maintain high-quality interactions during large influxes of customer calls, emails and chats?
Upgrade Your Customer Communications Toolbox
To streamline conversations with customers, many business leaders have turned to new tech solutions as a way for CX teams to quickly and accurately buyer inquiries. Success from new technology is twofold: first, unlike hiring new team members to alleviate high call and email volumes, these tools do not require training, scale easily to grow or shrink to your demands and minimize human error; and second, digitized tools are able to operate at all times of the day and can toggle between multiple requests simultaneously, making them at times more efficient than even your most hardworking individuals.
Here are just a few examples of tools businesses can use to boost their external communication with customers:
- Chatbots connect with customers on websites, texts and messenger services to answer simple questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, helping your teams attract new customers by promptly responding to their queries.
- Call Center Services let team leaders control inbound and outbound calls by assigning agents to designated customers, which helps distribute workflows and humanize interactions between your teams and the clients with whom they develop personal relationships.
- Business Intelligence harnesses the power of data-driven solutions to help you and your team to optimize your time and resources while also gaining a more comprehensive understanding of customer behaviors and preferences.
- CX Feedback Surveys help marketers and sales teams glean valuable insights on who their audience is, what they want and how their needs could be better solved.
Emphasize Emotionally Intelligent Interactions
While new technology is great for optimizing your business operations, remember to never lose the human edge in your interactions. One study found that 40% of the 9000 polled consumers selected better human service as the primary way that businesses could improve their communication with their client base. The desire for personalized, human responses is symptomatic of a customer experience trend that many of today’s businesses use—where technology replaces human interactions completely instead of simply enhancing them.
We’ve all heard the value that empathy in the workplace can bring. When interacting with customers, empathic team members establish happier and more trusting relationships. In the case of dissatisfied customers, empathy helps you understand their perspective, mitigate the situation and look to long-term solutions for avoiding similar results in the future.
But even outside of one-on-one interactions with customers, emotional intelligence can help you paint a better picture of your CX roadmap as a whole. Empathy requires you to think:
- What is my consumer experiencing at this point in their purchase journey?
- Is there a way that I could make working with our company a more enjoyable experience?
- Are there places on my website, my email newsletter, or even in my product’s packaging that could incite frustration for the buyer? Is there a way to improve these elements of my customer’s experience to ensure they remain a loyal customer to my business?
By asking emotionally intelligent questions, you can streamline the transaction process and ensure your customers remain happy and satisfied along the way.
More on the author:
Amber Kossinger is a full-time content creator for a number of online business communities. When she’s not writing, Amber spends her time reading and researching the emerging strategies businesses can employ to better serve the needs of their customer base.