8 Principles of Customer Experience

The days of leaving customer experience (CX) to chance are over. Where businesses could once deliver quality customer service via a friendly smile and adhering to slogans such as ‘the customer is always right’, modern organisations are investing in CX strategies to give themselves every hope of not only attracting consumers but transforming them into brand advocates. While experts debate whether customer experience is an art or a science, what cannot be denied is the importance of getting it right.
8 Principles of Customer Experience

Given CX is defined as the impression customers have of a brand based on every aspect of their purchasing journey, the concept can be overwhelming for some businesses. Being judged on every interaction from initial engagement (eg: advertising) to purchase point (eg: ease of online checkout) and beyond (eg: post-sale follow-up) is not for the fainthearted but it is a powerful motivator for executives and staff alike.

Rewards undoubtedly await organisations that do customer experience well. Research has shown consumers who have a positive CX are 54% more likely to make another purchase, while those who enjoy a great customer experience are five times more likely to recommend a brand to other people. Numbers such as that reinforce the importance of CX, which leaves just one question – how do you do it well?

Principles of Customer Experience

Building and implementing a CX strategy takes time, effort and a whole-hearted commitment from every level of an organisation. Today’s customers have high expectations but with the right tools and a solid strategy, businesses can deliver an experience that transforms them into customers for life. Embracing the following principles is a key step towards enhancing CX within your organisation.

Study Customer Journeys

In years gone by, businesses only had to focus on a handful of ways a customer could engage with them. Needless to say, those days are gone. With multiple channels and platforms – both physical and virtual – organisations need to be strategic about where they dedicate their efforts, assets and dollars to ensure people get the most out of every interaction. From browsing products and providing feedback to redeeming a voucher and cancelling a purchase, customers have a myriad of reasons for interacting with a business and each of those moments needs to be mapped for each type of customer, along with visitor testing to learn what is working and, more crucially, what is not.

Personalise the Experience

Creating a personalised CX can work wonders for building rapport with and loyalty from customers. Take a chat window that opens with a generic statement such as ‘How can I help?’ Now imagine the same exchange beginning with the digital assistant asking an opening question based on information it has at its disposal - ‘I notice you have placed two Dan Brown novels in your cart. Can I recommend similar authors you may enjoy reading?’ By using readily available first-party data, this chat creates a personal experience with the potential to yield a much higher return on investment. Technology’s ability to use customer data both in real-time and based on past experiences is playing a huge role in allowing businesses to make recommendations, create targeted campaigns and ultimately build loyalty and trust.

Create an Omnichannel Experience

Offering multiple channels to make a purchase is no longer enough to guarantee loyalty. Consumers want an omnichannel experience, which essentially translates to seamless shopping regardless of whether they are online, on a telephone or in a traditional shopfront. With customers more digitally savvy than ever, it is essential to identify individual and collective preferences and behaviours to ensure they get what they want when and where they need it without disruptions. Tailor your omnichannel solutions appropriately and your ability to deliver a quality CX is certain to soar.

Invest in Technology

The modern concept of customer experience has risen out of the digital age so it goes without saying that investing in the right technology and tools is a key to delivering positive results. There are various CX tools that can complement existing systems, while the customer journey can be improved by adopting simple user interfaces that make engagement and purchasing as seamless as possible.

Automate CX Processes

Automation is changing CX for the better. Fewer human errors and more streamlined processes are resulting in happier customers as they venture along their purchasing journey. Automation also has a powerful role to play in analysing the customer experience. While feedback data, such as an open-ended survey, can shine a spotlight on a business’s CX practices and pinpoint where to focus one’s energy, at scale they can also be difficult for humans to analyse and lead to decisions based on hunches or random selections. Automation takes the guesswork out of such activities, with CX solution suites able to tap into customer data and provide an overall view of how customers interact, what they want and what areas may need to be reinvented.

Develop Quality Content

There is no longer just a battle for consumers’ wallets but also their eyeballs. Engaging and relevant content is the bedrock of modern marketing, particularly online, and can play a substantial role in improving an individual’s customer experience. From videos, webinars and interactive websites to landing pages and infographics, businesses should develop content that offers information, solutions and entertainment. Every CX strategy will benefit from a complementary content strategy that targets what interests specific customers and audience segments.

Tap into the Power of AI

Anyone doubting how artificial intelligence and machine learning is changing the retail landscape need look no further than a study that shows almost half of companies that use AI for CX reported an increase in sales per customer. Next-generation tools such as digital assistants, conversational search and voice assistants are providing customers with faster and more efficient ways to interact with companies and giving them more cause to recommend their products and services to others.

Measure Your Efforts

You may believe your CX strategy is on the right track but gut instinct can only be relied on so much. Investing in official customer experience metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) allow businesses to measure and showcase how their people and products are performing and, in turn, identify potential KPIs and areas for improvement. Knowing exactly what your customers are thinking is pivotal to enhancing how they interact with your brand and guiding the next phase of your CX strategy.

Summary

Developing and implementing the right CX strategy not only helps improve customer experience. It inspires sales, helps grow profits and, crucially, bolsters employee pride in their organisation. Whether a small business or large corporation, adopting the principles outlined above will go a long way to ensuring a customer-centric focus in everything you do.