80 percent. That’s how many businesses report providing superior customer (CX) experiences. An embarrassing eight percent of customers agree.
66 percent. This is the percentage of customers who are happy to give you more of their money if you’ll just make sure they have a great experience in return.
71 percent. That’s the percentage of organizations which cited customer experience as a competitive differentiator in Dimension Data’s 2017 global CX report.
Noticing a trend here?
The majority of consumers report that most companies could use some work when it comes to customer experience—while the majority of businesses think they’re killin’ it! This presents more than just an opportunity to scratch your head in bemusement at the disconnect. It gives you the chance to be the knight in shining armor who sweeps customers off their feet by providing an amazing customer experience.
Let these five best practices be your weapon as you ride into battle against an apathetic company culture, disjointed customer communication, low returns on CX efforts, and all-around bad customer experiences.
Develop a Customer-First Culture
We’ve written before about the importance of creating and maintaining a strong company culture that keeps your organization on track and on target even when the business landscape all around you is shifting. And we’re not the only ones who think culture is important.
Deloitte found that 86% of executives believe corporate culture is important to the success of a business. However, only 12 percent of these execs feel their company is promoting the “right” culture—and only 28 percent even understand what their culture is!
If you want to build a company that actually succeeds it when it comes to customer experience, it only makes sense to build it right into the culture that guides your company and all its personnel on a daily basis.
It’s one thing to say you care about the customer. It’s another thing to consider how every little thing might affect their experience—from the policy changes you make to every new product or service you release.
We love CustomerThink’s write up on the seven tactical steps any organization can take to create a culture that’s laser-focused on the customer experience:
- Train every single role in every single department to make CX a priority
- Embed a framework to empower sustainable growth and alignment in your CX efforts
- Take a spin through your customer journey
- Initiate projects for improving the customer experience
- Implement customer experience in your overall business strategy
- Don’t ever stop talking about it!
- Celebrate those who do a great job prioritizing CX in your organization
If you’re interested in seeing a real example of this, here’s how we think about maintaining a culture of customer success at HelloSign.
Customer Care, No Matter Where
Today, it’s harder than ever to follow the old marketing adage to “meet your customers where they are.”
Customers expect their experience with your organization to be smooth and continuous whether they’re tweeting you sizing questions one day or calling your customer service line the next.
Companies that rank strongly in providing a complete omnichannel customer experience retain an average of almost 90 percent of their customers. For companies with weak omnichannel strategies, that retention number shrinks to just 33 percent. When it can cost up to five times as much to acquire new customers as it does to keep the ones you have—the value of creating an omnichannel experience that retains customers is clear!
The Forbes Technology Council recommends a few key steps to achieve a seamless customer experience:
- Operationalize CX according to what your customers expect: Does the channel require 24/7 staffing (like text)? Is this the best channel for your ideal audience (Medium for marketing tips, YouTube for demo-ing a cosmetics line, etc)?
- With all your channels, make sure you have a strong single source of truth for customer relationships (like a CRM)
- Don’t develop an omnichannel strategy at the expense of ruining the customer’s actual experience when they interact with your customer service team
Customer Experience Meets User Experience
Keep in mind, channels don’t just stop at social media and your customer service center.
Just like the brick-and-mortar locations of years past, your company’s website (and/or app) is the first stop for many customers. Before anything else, you need to make it really easy for them to simultaneously give you money by completing transactions and save you money by doing it all on their own.
A great digital user experience is the easiest way to achieve a great customer experience. If your team doesn’t have the technical chops—or the time between answering all those tweets—to pull it off, find yourself one that does.
Whether it’s an application, a signup form, a purchase agreement, a contract, a simple eSignature, or an entire onboarding workflow—there’s literally a single tool that can handle anything you need when it comes to pulling off secure and legally binding digital “paperwork.”
It’s called HelloSign API and it’s already waiting for you to find out how you can use it to smooth and shorten your path to revenue.
Learn Your ABC
You’ve heard of every salesperson’s motto: Always be closing (ABC). Well, this is a different spin on it.
Always be collecting. Feedback, that is. Collecting feedback is a really great way to take the guesswork out of making your customer experience the best it can be.
Make it abundantly clear to your audience that their feedback is welcome. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck chasing outdated trends or retroactively responding to issues once customers already have one foot out the door on their way to your competitor.
These days, feedback collection takes make forms. It could be a simple post-interaction survey sent via email or text. Or maybe it’s a question each customer service agent is instructed to ask at the end of every phone or chat conversation.
Plus, by empowering your customer service department—and other customer-facing teams—to collect valuable feedback, you can count any costs they incur toward revenue instead of everyday operational overhead.
Return Rules Everything Around Me
So you’ve built a commitment to providing great customer experiences right into your core company culture, you’ve optimized every possible channel through which a customer can interact with your organization, and you’re systematically collecting and acting on customer feedback—What else could you possibly need to consider when it comes to knocking customer experience out of the park?
While R.R.E.A.M. (return rules everything around me) doesn’t quite have the same ring to it at C.R.E.A.M., return on your efforts is just as important as cash when measuring the external effectiveness and internal efficacy of your customer experience program.
To find the return on your investment, you have to be able to measure the extent of your efforts. Measuring something as intangible as “experience” can be hard, but global customer experience firm iperceptions has tips on how to monitor four key metrics to help you understand (and improve) the effectiveness and value of your CX.
1. Customer Satisfaction. The customer satisfaction metric helps set a baseline by which to monitor your overall CX performance and general brand sentiment.
To collect customer satisfaction data, iperceptions co-founder Duff Anderson recommends using the question “How would you rate your overall experience today?” Scores are collected using a 0 to 10 numeric scale with six offset labels.
2. Net Promoter Score. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a pretty mainstream metric these days. It’s meant to give you a general sense of how customers feel about your company and their experiences with it as a whole. To collect your NPS, you’ll ask customers “How likely is it that you would recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague?” Collect scores using a 0 to 10 scale with end-point labels (with 10 being the "perfect" score).
3. Visitor Intent. It’s likely that if you’re offering your products or services online, you’re familiar with terms like “bounce rate,” “pages visited,” and more. While these metrics are great for telling you what’s going on, they don’t provide much insight as to why it’s happening.
To better understand what you already know about visitor behavior, you can actually ask with a visitor intent question like “Which of the following best describes the primary purpose of your visit today?" followed by six or fewer questions to choose between (like in the example below).
4. Task Completion. Like the visitor intent metric, monitoring customer task completion helps you separate successful visits from unsuccessful ones and put all that behavioral data to use.
This one’s easy. Simply ask whether or not the visitor was able to complete the purpose of their visit and give them two response fields from which to select “yes” or “no.”
Still can’t get enough of customer experience metrics? Don’t worry, there are plenty more recommendations over at iperceptions.
Are You Battle-Ready?
Gartner has estimated that half of all consumer product investments are now pouring directly into customer experience innovations—and for good reason.
Customers crave a thoughtful, easy-to-use experience. You crave a simpler way to enable more customer interactions while expending less human capital. Improving customer experience is a win for both parties.
Luckily, there’s no need to actually get in a jousting match with your competition. With best practices that help you develop a customer-first culture, tighten up your omnichannel communication strategy, use HelloSign API to streamline customers’ digital transactions, gather important feedback, and prove the value of your CX efforts to gain internal support—you’ll be lancing the leading spot in your marketplace in no time at all.