Two-thirds of companies today rely on their customer experience to set them apart. In this blog post, we share a step-by-step guide to creating (or updating) a winning customer experience in your own organisation.
The secret is out: providing an excellent customer experience is the key to winning and retaining customers. In fact, how customers perceive your brand is so important that more than two-thirds of companies now compete primarily on customer experience — according to Gartner's research. This aligns with survey data shared by the CRM service SuperOffice, which found that most of SuperOffice’s clients prioritise customer experience over their products and pricing.
To ensure your customers are delighted with your business, you need a solid customer experience programme that covers every stage of their journey with you. But to get the most out of your programme, we must first understand why some customer experience initiatives fail.
Why customer experience programmes fail
We know that our customers value speed, convenience, consistency and friendliness. We also know that customers crave human connection — a factor that’s difficult to quantify but is essential in helping customers feel seen and heard. But knowing what your customers want is the easy part.
According to a Bains & Company study, most companies think that they provide exceptional customer experiences. In reality, 92% of businesses fail to deliver top-notch experiences. This disconnect occurs when companies don’t build robust customer experience programmes that account for every possible customer engagement.
From chatbots to a good old-fashioned phone call, each touchpoint is an opportunity to impress customers with high-calibre service. That’s why your customer experience programme needs to account for every touchpoint. This is especially important as one-third of consumers stop doing business with brands after only one bad experience — as revealed by this PWC study. So ask yourself; how many ways can customers engage with your business? And how can you make each and every touchpoint a winning experience?
Three steps to building a successful customer experience programme
To ensure your customers are delighted at every stage of their journey with your business, you need a well-planned and executed customer experience programme that covers every stage of the journey — from awareness through to post-sale, including onboarding and renewals. Thankfully, with some time and effort, it’s more than possible to do so. Here are three steps to ensure your success.
1. Architect customer lifecycle journeys
First, you’ll need to audit and/or design and configure customer lifecycle journeys that map the typical process a customer or prospect goes through with your company. To do this:
Define your target personas. Who are they? What challenges do your products or services help them solve? What are their goals and ambitions? We help you identify who you’re targeting in our blog post, What is a Buyer Persona and why is it important?.
List all touchpoints within your business. How do people first encounter your brand? How do they establish initial contact? From engaging with chatbots, to commenting on your social media accounts, or submitting forms directly on your website — know where they’re making contact at every stage of their journey, understand their challenge, what they’re looking for and how you can help them solve their problem with as little friction as possible.
Match every touchpoint with the right tools. Once you know how your customers are moving through your company, you can ensure every touchpoint is matched with the right tools and resources to cater to your customers’ needs efficiently at that point.
By now, you should have a reasonable representation of a customer’s typical experience with your business — and it’s definitely not linear! While it’s difficult to visualise accurately, and there are definitely variations to the norm, dropping this information into a customer journey map can help standardise service delivery across teams, and be a useful reference point when updating executive strategy. HubSpot’s created a fantastic guide to customer journey maps, with free templates, to help you get started.
2. Define your deliverables
Your customer journey blueprint defines why and where you’ll be focusing your efforts to improve customer experience, and defining your deliverables takes care of the how.
Content. A major part of scaling your customer experience lies in producing relevant, helpful content and making it easy for customers to find and access it at appropriate stages of their journey.
Self-service. The more customers can self-serve, the less pressure it places on your team and the faster they get their solution. Make sure you’ve got relevant guides, templates, and a comprehensive FAQ and knowledge base available that caters for every stage of the customer journey. Find out how you can create tickets in Hubspot and help customers self-serve.
Customer support. Can you offer convenient customer service and support with excellent resolution rates and lightning speed turnaround times? Or, do customers get frustrated as enquiries are ping-ponged between departments while they’re stuck listening to an insufferable caller-on-hold tune? Aim for the former! With self-service freeing up resources, empower your customer service team to provide effective and convenient support with appropriate tools.
3. Build, implement, and improve your customer journey
No plan survives contact with the customer, and no theory is perfect in practice. Be prepared to fail, and plan to fail forward! Whether they make unexpected requests or surprise you by engaging in novel ways, customers are also excellent at inadvertently helping you spot the flaws in your customer experience programme.
That’s why you have to build it for continuous improvement. Once initial journeys are mapped out, monitor them, and analyse your data to identify ways they can be optimised and updated (or replaced, if necessary). New journeys are also constantly being identified, so leave plenty of room for growth and change!
All of this can be a lot to take on, but it’s the essential difference between delivering a good experience for your customers and guaranteeing an outstanding one. We offer customer experience enablement services that cover everything from the development of customer lifecycle journeys, to content production services that take care of deliverables.