Customer experience management becomes essential
The customer's shopping experience can be the deciding factor in the success or failure of a business. Consequently, it is almost essential to constantly optimize the Customer Experience (CX) and create new incentives. But how do you know how your own CX is doing? And which strategy is the best to offer customers the right brand experience?
Sustainable customer acquisition
It's no new insight that customer experience must become the experience to have a lasting impact on business success. A recent study by Gartner shows that 9 out of 10 marketing experts expect a good customer experience to be perhaps the most important differentiator in their respective industries in 2017.
Despite this, CX is often not sufficiently actively pursued. The company's own strengths and weaknesses in this area are unclear, and customer behavior cannot be analyzed and interpreted accordingly. This already sets companies back in the competition - if customers start to complain, it is usually already too late.
It's important to note: A good CX strategy doesn't stop at friendly customer service. Every part of the sale, every touchpoint a potential customer has with the company, has a concrete impact on the development of the customer experience. Starting with the first marketing measures and ending with the purchase process in the store, both mobile and via an app. But the contact points after the purchase also have great relevance. For example, retailers can use the shipping process and the associated status messages to strengthen customer loyalty in the long term - provided they handle the communication themselves and do not leave this point to their logistics service providers. And returns management should also be seen much more as an opportunity to increase sales rather than just as an annoying evil.
Virtual Reality as Customer Experience
International companies have already found innovative ways to enhance the customer experience. Dutch airline KLM created a 360° video to visualize a business class flight. IKEA now offers furniture virtually combine and test in some furniture stores. Basically, the more creative, the better. Thanks to their high entertainment value, VR offerings are suitable for telling the story behind the brand and creating authenticity. Virtual reality, then, is a good example of excellent CX that can be used to reach both new audiences and existing customers on even more intense levels, increasing the brand's reach and influence.
Added value from data
There are numerous customer experience measurement tools that can be used to analyze the process across all customer needs. Companies should use them to take a critical look at their customers' current, average shopping experience, gaining important insights into the stages of the customer journey: discovery, interest, consideration, action, usage and recommendation. Knowing roughly where you stand means: What can be done to optimize? This is where concrete customer experience management (CEM) can help.
- Collect data: First, make sure you capture all customer interaction and make it measurable/scalable. From traffic to bounce rates to conversions, customer surveys and product reviews.
- Design Overview: Which sales and marketing channels are working well, where do improvements need to be made? If these values are expressed in numbers, a good picture of the current situation with strengths and weaknesses can be created.
- Eradicate weaknesses: Even a single situation or disappointing interaction that is frustrating for the buyer can turn a previously satisfied existing customer into an unhappy former customer. Such potentially difficult moments should be identified early and averted. Customer experience software can help combine and evaluate data sets.
- Use new insights: The data and insights gained must be incorporated into strategic planning and produce concrete recommendations for action.
How is the CEM system realized?
To realize a CEM system, Gartner specifies 5 stations:
- Initially: the company does not have a CEM strategy, individual departments work separately and without interdisciplinary efforts towards the customer.
- Development: The company develops an understanding of CX and then develops a strategy to improve it. Existing customer management is critically examined and weaknesses are uncovered. Initial plans for the use of new technologies and innovations are forged.
- Definition: Slowly forms a strategy development to the CEM. In this important phase, short-, medium- and long-term goals are defined. New processes within the company are introduced and the focus is supported by senior management.
- Managed: The new CEM system has the first positive effects. The costs of implementation may already be covered. Employees and management are convinced of the added value and competitive advantage of CX. There are workshops to maintain and optimize the system, as well as comprehensive data analysis and KPIs.
- Optimized: The new strategy is firmly in place and part of everyday life for employees. The implemented business processes and technologies are firmly in place and enable the company to improve its interaction with its customers. The metamorphosis into an efficient CEM system has succeeded.
Implementing a functioning CEM system is a lengthy process, but it has a major (positive) impact on all areas of the business. Where applicable, good monitoring across the various process levels, systems and support programs is needed. To meet the requirements often a large part of the technical infrastructure has to be replaced or renewed. The working style may also need to be adapted. This costs time and money, but is definitely worth it if implemented correctly. The fact is: If you don't offer customers added value, you'll lose them to the competitor who does.
Create new reasons for people to love your brand. Build standout post-sales experiences tailored to your customers. Deliver personalized touch points that grab attention and spark loyalty.