In a post-pandemic world, companies are realizing how critical customer experience is to their success. Given the dramatic changes in our society and economy over the past year and a half, brands and customers are connecting in different ways, and customers are craving a human touch in all of their interactions with brands.
Ensuring that they have a positive experience with your business at every step of the customer journey can build loyalty, help with retention and turn customers into advocates for your brand, which is why so many companies today are making excellent CX a top priority.
If you’re seeking to better understand how your customers feel and think about your business so that you can improve how they experience it, see the expert tips below. Here, members of Forbes Communications Council share their best insights to help you devise an effective strategy for improving your CX.
1. Have Every Level Of The Organization Speak With Customers
You can’t provide excellent customer experiences without knowing your customers and building personal connections with them. Speak with them directly and frequently at all levels of the organization—not just through the customer success team—and drill down for candid and honest feedback about your company’s work. This will give you the insight to provide every customer with an excellent experience. – Mandy Dhaliwal, Boomi
2. Send An Employee Through Your CX To Better Understand It
Implement processes where you can see firsthand how your services/products are experienced and received. Send an employee through your customer experience/journey from start to finish each quarter to ensure best practices and quality assurance needs are being met. Be open to hearing customer feedback and working with the client to resolve any issues that they may have independently experienced. – Makenzie Bonham, Burnett’s Staffing, Inc.
3. Think Of The Customer’s Pain Points First
What frustrates them? What makes them give up during the purchasing process? What deters them from being loyal to your brand? To achieve better CX, you have to listen to customers, whether it’s by analyzing data related to their user journey, soliciting direct feedback or paying attention to social media and reviews. – Colson Hillier, Alorica
4. View It From The Perspective Of Delivering Value
Think about it from the perspective of delivering value to your customer. Run multiple strategies that enable positive interactions anywhere your consumer comes into contact with your brand, with each one prioritized to meet their needs. These needs are changing all the time, so organizations must be adaptable and clearly aligned to a purpose that provides autonomy to teams. – Azlan Raj, Merkle
5. Focus Less On Who People Are And More On What They Do
Focusing less on who people are and more on what they are doing and how they are doing it will be the more important metrics in years to come. Having this data will have a dual benefit: It will not compromise a person’s privacy, yet it will be critical in shaping a high-value, meaningful CX. The future of CX is going to be rooted firmly in intent-based marketing. – Niki Hall, Contentsquare
6. Make Your Customer An ‘Insider’
Typically, you will have good enough relationships with a few customers to be frank with them and ask how their experience is with your brand. Not only will this give you an outside perspective on what needs improvement, but it will also continue to build trust between you and the customer. From there, you can strategize around whatever feedback you heard. – Sarah Lero, Peerless Products Inc
7. Conduct A Secret Shopper Experiment
Conducting a secret shopper experiment can uncover a lot about your customer experience in terms of what’s working, what’s not and what strategies need to be refocused. Go through your ideal customer profile’s step-by-step journey, from prospect to onboarding, and you’ll learn how to optimize your customer engagement to set them up for early success. – Shawn Herring, PandaDoc
8. Know That You Don’t Have To Choose Between Efficiency And Quality
Too many businesses think that it’s either efficiency or quality when it comes to customer experience; it’s not. Done correctly, efficiency-boosting measures such as self-service options and automated processes actually enhance quality by eliminating frustrations such as long hold times or misdirections. – James Freeze, Interactions LLC
9. Set Out Clear Goals And Put Tracking Systems In Place
Set very clear goals for what you are trying to achieve and what actions you want your customers to take. Explore one area and take one step at a time, unless you understand how to measure multiple touchpoints. Think ahead and set measurements and put tracking systems in place. – Anthony Wong, Attensi
10. Draw A Picture Of All The Activities In Your Pipeline
Check your data. Is there anywhere people drop off? Is there anywhere you lack visibility? How many clicks and pages do people have to navigate to get to purchase? Is there a way to eliminate or streamline that workflow? How much team effort does it take to maintain certain channels? What is the ROI of those channels? Optimize. – Sarah O’Sell, Anim8
11. Understand The Experience On A Personal Level
Immerse yourself in the customer experience by becoming a customer yourself, if possible, and encourage key leaders to do the same. Understanding the experience on a personal level can help to pinpoint areas of friction that may not stand out when reviewing processes and procedures through a more objective lens. – Kate Warrington, Academic Partnerships
12. Create Dynamic Target Customer Personas
Your target customer personas should be dynamic, not static. Review them annually for accuracy and identify any market changes in the demographic profile of your target audience. The widespread shift to virtual events is one example of why personas need to evolve. As customer needs change due to market conditions, so must you. This is how optimal customer experience happens. – Jennifer Best, AAE Speakers Bureau
13. Shift From Being ‘Driven By Goods’ To Being ‘Powered By Services’
Brands talk about personalization a lot, but many have underdelivered in this area. Transition your brand from being “driven by goods” to being “powered by services.” Ask yourself whether the customer is at the center of everything that you do. Do you understand what drives your customer? Listen and learn at every stage. Brand as a service is absolutely the next frontier. – Marija Zivanovic-Smith, NCR Corporation
14. Don’t Fake It, Don’t Overpromise, And Always Rely On Feedback
First, is your product/service truly remarkable? When it comes to customer experience, one can’t fake it. Second, are you overpromising? Overpromising makes it impossible to create the “wow” effect in the eyes of the customers. Finally, do you have a constant feedback loop so that you can constantly perfect the delivery and have a pulse on the customer’s perception? You need all of the above. – Andrea d’Agostini, American Power & Gas
15. Start At The End And Work Backward
Ask yourself, “What am I hoping the customer will do after they have had a great customer experience?” Knowing the answer to that question will not only help you curate the CX they deserve for spending their money with you, but it will also help you focus on an experience that will prompt an action at the end that benefits the company. Bring it full circle. – Boaz Santiago, energyware™