There’s a strong correlation between customer experience and loyalty. Those businesses that get it right are more likely to retain customers and have those customers recommend the products or services to a friend. Studies have shown there’s a very strong relationship between a customer’s positive experience and their willingness to make a purchase from a company again. In a survey, it was also found that customer experience is also directly linked to word of mouth marketing.
Businesses that offer a high level of customer satisfaction will reap the benefits in terms of revenue and reputation. But what makes for a good customer experience? Well, it’s a sum of its parts, which include communications, website design and experience, and staff learning and training. Let’s have a look in a little more depth.
Today’s consumer wants to be able to connect with the brands that they use through multiple channels and often, 24/7/365, depending on the business. The key to delivering an excellent customer experience is to give customers what they want, so it’s vital that you open up these channels of communication.
The modern consumer expects to be able to contact your business by:
- Live chat
- Social media
- Review sites
The latter two are of course the least used these days, but they do still have their place – some consumers prefer to write letters just because it’s what they’re used to doing. With this in mind, to some extent the customer experience and how you shape it will depend on the demographics of your audience. This is true with regards to how they contact you and how you address them once they are speaking to a customer service rep. These days, with technology such as unified communications coupled with a good CRM solution, it’s more than achievable to communicate effectively with customers across all of the desired platforms.
However, it’s not enough to have all of these platforms available, they must of course be manned and staffed by reps who have undergone training to understand how consumers use these platforms. For example, research shows that consumers are becoming less patient when it comes to how quickly they expect a reply to an email.
Today, consumers access information and purchase items across different channels and different devices. It is not surprising they expect to be able to contact companies via these different channels.
Separate research from the web-based depot for CRM tech, Software Advise, has also found that consumers use different channels depending on their needs. So for a question about a product, depending on their age, many consumers would prefer to use live chat. However, for financial questions and complaints, people are much more likely to use the phone.
It’s worth considering too that different demographics will be less inclined to use one form of communication over another. For example, in a survey 56% of those aged between 18-34 years preferred to use live chat over phone, whilst in the over-35s, 27% preferred live chat. What this means to customer experience is that it’s essential to know your customer if you’re going to deliver a high quality experience.
Training should also encompass product knowledge and customer service reps should have access to a knowledge management repository containing data sheets with relevant product information on them. The repository should be further augmented with company information and customer data so that employees can rely on it to deliver all of the answers they need when dealing with a customer. This can also be further improved by adding in common questions which are posed by customers and how the rep should respond.
It can be difficult to convey meaning when communicating with people via email or live chat and research has shown that consumers easily find a negative implied where none exists. With this in mind, customer service reps should be trained in how to respond to questions neutrally. It’s also useful to leave out sarcasm and humour when it comes to live chat, email and social media platforms as these are very easily misconstrued.
The knowledge system can also be linked to the website where appropriate to offer a further knowledge bank to customers who like to browse the site for answers.
Join the Discussion
These are just a couple of the things you need to think about when considering customer experience. There’s also the use of analytics to further personalise the website experience and get customers coming back time and again. Then there’s the actual experience of using your website and much more as you see from our customer experience trends article.
These are just a few of the topics we covered in our recent guide on customer experience.
It was an interesting and illuminating discussion surrounding the key aspects of customer experience, such as understanding your customers’ journey, the role of your website, personalisation, CX in a multi-channel and multi-device world and much more.
You can access the guide here