There are many sources of information online that discuss things like the best customer experience strategy or the best CX trends in 2022, but there are very few that solely discuss why customer experience matters. Garnering an understanding of where customer loyalty comes from and learning how to measure customer experience provides a holistic mindset that can only benefit brands.
The above paragraph is key in changing your mindset around customer experience, because thinking about a customer interaction from the perspective of “how can I get them to buy more of my products?” is significantly less effective than thinking “how can I create the highest level of customer success by offering the best experience possible?”
When you fundamentally adjust your way of thinking about your product or service to focus on providing an enjoyable experience for customers, it seems like a waste of time or money. It doesn’t intuitively feel like it would tangibly produce a solid ROI, but in reality, providing positive experiences and minimizing poor customer experiences is a tactic that can only benefit your brand.
Read on to understand why focusing on customer loyalty and your brand’s reputation are the keys to success in 2022.
This may come as a surprise to some business owners, but more often than not, customers will pay more for a superior customer experience, regardless of if the product is better quality than competitors.
A study from PwC on what customers perceive as important in their journey with a business collected multiple data points, but there are three key ones we want to discuss:
What conclusions can be drawn from this data?
Firstly, customer experience is extremely important. When nearly half of all consumers feel companies that offer a better customer experience automatically have a leg up against their competition, it goes to show that CX is important.
If you can improve one facet of your business, and convert 42% of your competitor’s customer base to try your brand out, would you not attempt to do so? This seems like a no-brainer once you’ve read the numbers, but to reiterate it: companies who are aware of the importance of customer experience and bring a positive experience to customers can charge more than their competitors based on their superior customer-centric approach.
These numbers suggest that putting more effort into training customer service teams to be more customer-oriented rather than profit-driven can lead to your brand’s front line of service appealing to what customers feel and want: to be heard.
From the same study by PwC, customer churn can be analyzed when looking at their discussion of bad experiences.
Customers were asked:
At what point would you stop interacting with a company that you love shopping at or using?
30% of the people surveyed said they would stop interacting with a company after a singular bad experience, and 48% said they would stop after several bad experiences.
What this means is that purchasing decisions are significantly influenced by the business’s reputation. If there are few positive customer experiences, even 50% of repeat customers are likely to switch brands. This leads us to again reiterate: there needs to be a focus on customer engagement to prioritize customer retention.
Further emphasizing this point is a study from Watermark Consult, a customer experience consulting firm that has worked with companies like Allstate, Gartner, TEDx, and many more.
Their 2021 study looked at and compared three groups’ 13-year stock performance. The first group was classified as the ‘CX Laggards’, the bottom 10 publicly traded companies in CX. The second group was the broader market, identified as the ‘S&P 500 Index’, with the final group being the ‘CX Leaders’, the top 10 publicly traded companies in customer experience.
The CX Leaders generated a financial return that was 3.4 times as large as the Customer Experience Laggards; further, the Laggards’ return was roughly 45% of the S&P 500 Index’s return.
What do all these numbers mean? The 10 companies that emphasized a focus on customer sentiment and digital customer experiences got over 3 times the return when compared to the 10 companies that provided a poor customer experience.
This should yet again reiterate: investing time, money, and thought into developing a positive customer experience will pay long-term dividends for businesses that care about their customer experience management.
Collecting customer feedback allows you as a brand or as an individual to understand how exactly your services are perceived from the customer’s point of view. This is truly invaluable information to have; while you may predict what your target audience is or wants, ultimately, it is impossible to know these things without surveying your customers.
Say, for example, you sell fleece sweaters. They’re soft, they’re comfortable, they’re fleece sweaters – nothing really special. You angle all of your marketing towards older women and target your Google Ad spend towards locations where the climate tends to be colder – say, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Rhode Island.
But once you start sending emails asking for customer feedback on your products, you realize – the vast majority of our customer base is younger, college-age women from all across the country.
Now that you have gotten this feedback, this allows you to adjust your marketing strategy, as well as your customer experience strategy to be more in line with who your customers are and what they would want. Without getting these reviews, it would have been far more difficult to connect with your ‘true’ audience.
All of this is to say – get feedback from your customers in some way, shape, or form. Some businesses prefer to actively manage their Google Business profile, ensuring that all reviews, positive and negative feedback alike, are responded to in ample time. Others like to send out Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction surveys to ascertain what exactly their customers think. We discuss these different survey types in our article What is Customer Experience? if you want to learn more about them.
Once you have gathered information in whichever way you choose, the next step is to utilize that information to improve your overall customer experience.
This is a broad point about customer journeys as a whole that is discussed further in our article, 10 Established Strategies to Improve Your Customer Experience (CX). But, if you’re looking for the CliffsNotes version of that article and just want some quick, actionable takeaways, fair enough.
Once you have gotten feedback from your customers, you can focus on creating a customer centric experience in a few ways. The most obvious way is to directly implement customer feedback. If hundreds of customers are complaining about a similar issue, fixing it will likely change sentiment from irritated to satisfied, all in one fell swoop.
The next is to think about the customer expectations based on the information you have collected. When you understand what your customers expect out of your brand, you know the exact formula to create brand loyalty – you simply have to act upon it, meaning if you have data on the customer demographics who most frequently buy your product, you can invest more money into advertising to that demographic to maximize your ad spend.
The last key way to optimize the customer journey is to draw out a customer journey map and discuss it with employees. A journey map is simply a visual representation of the path that a customer takes to become loyal to a brand. Typically, it includes steps like this:
This is when the customer realizes they have a problem that they want to solve, and our product appears as a solution. This is the first time a customer interaction will occur with your brand.
How is the customer acquired? What channels do we advertise to them through? How do they see our product or hear about it?
The customer has been ‘acquired’ or has converted.
This is the stage where you attempt to maintain some sense of friendship with the customer to keep the customer in touch with your brand.
Here, the customer has stepped through the past four stages and has become a repeat customer, an advocate of your brand. Thinking about various strategies to keep customers loyal is key here.
Once the customer has made their way through the sales funnel, and you have data on what steps they took to proceed, you can see through a visual journey map which customer interactions are most important and how loyal customers are ‘formed’.
Using this journey map will offer you data on which stages of the process are most successful, which are least successful, and where you have to improve. This can lead to overall company-wide growth with a renewed focus on CX; but, that’s something we’ve already discussed.
There are a few key points that we’ve distilled from this article for you so that you can always remember why customer experience matters.
We appreciate you reading our article. We have created a few tools to assist you in elevating your customer experience since we want to give our customers a terrific experience while also sharing our knowledge to help other professionals improve.
Dissimilar to email or traditional print marketing, handwritten notes have an 80% open rate, and a vastly greater likelihood of opening means a greatly enhanced chance of influencing the customer’s purchasing choices.
Do you believe you would be more interested in a company if you were given a gift card or a single-serving coffee bag along with a handwritten note? Along with these notes, product inserts or gift cards can automatically be included to increase mail open rate and client retention.
Customer experience teams can even stay in contact and on top of past and present buyers’ minds by sending personalized, pen-written birthday wishes and even ‘happy holidays‘ cards. This will leave a statement that very few marketers can.
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