Although price and quality remain important to consumers, customer experience (or CX) is rapidly gaining ground as the most critical factor in attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. But what is customer experience, why is it important and how can you leverage it to your advantage?
Customer Experience Defined
At its most basic, customer experience is how a customer perceives your brand. For example, you might brand yourself as a manufacturer of high-quality smartphones with exceptional support services. However, if a customer purchases one of your devices and it doesn’t work plus it’s a hassle to return the product, their perception of your brand doesn’t correspond to the customer experience you think you’re providing.
The Value of a Good Customer Experience
Clearly, it’s critical for businesses to manage the customer experience by ensuring that all of their actions, messaging, products, services, sales processes and support services are aligned with the brand perception they want to put out there. If these elements aren’t in place, customers will likely have a customer experience that doesn’t live up to their expectations — and that can easily lead to loss of business, especially when they share their impressions with others.
Evidence-Based Data and Customer Review/Feedback Information
Large amounts of data pertaining to the customer experience are generated every day. Sales numbers, data from customer support cases, Net Promoter Score, customer satisfaction surveys and competitor information can all be analyzed to provide an accurate picture of the customer experience. In addition, social media provides another avenue of information, as many consumers discuss their experiences with a brand on the various social media channels. On top of that, customer reviews offer additional inputs.
Customer Experience consulting services from Proactive Worldwide use evidence-based data plus your customer review/feedback information to discover the answers to important questions about how engaged and satisfied your customers are. While there are other firms out there that provide customer experience services, our differentiation is in our ability to utilize digital customer experience competitive research to benchmark experiences across the competitive landscape. This work helps you identify where strengths, or weaknesses, may reside.
Your business can then take positive steps to resolve negative issues causing friction within the customer experience and improve customer retention. Our Customer Experience service can be deployed singly or as part of a larger Customer Insight strategy.
Within the Customer Experience process, we use the following two steps:
- Journey Mapping: Today’s marketplace can best be described as “Living in an Omni-Channel world,” through which consumers must travel to buy goods and services. In this world, businesses that ignore the impact their various channels have on their customers’ experiences do so at their own peril. PWW’s Customer Experience program, part of our Customer Insights services, engages in journey mapping to help our clients ensure each of their channels—big box store, online shopping website, call center or tech support, for example—maintains or enhances the customer experience.
- Channel Evaluation: Our Customer Experience program evaluates each of your customer channels to measure their effectiveness in taking a customer through the initial introduction of your offerings to actually placing an order, all the way to bill payment and ongoing customer support. Where does friction exist? What are the sticking points, if any, and how do they compare with your competitors’ channels?
Note that the customer experience is continuously under pressure from internal and external factors and can evolve over time. That’s why it’s important to regularly map out the customer experience to measure the impact of the changes you’ve made and to learn where further adjustments could be beneficial to your business. In addition, by regularly evaluating the role of the different channels, you can efficiently manage the customer experience and fine-tune it so that it delivers the smooth, uninterrupted and personalized experience consumers are looking for.
Additionally, we don’t just evaluate your company’s CX initiatives in your organization. We examine the journey customers take with your competitors and evaluate what and how the competitors are optimizing the customer experience they provide. This provides your company with more comparable data against which to benchmark. But you don’t have to be limited to evaluating your direct competitors. We look at best-in-class companies that are known to offer outstanding customer service and gather insights from them that you may be able to apply to your business. Companies leading in CX may not be your competitors, so that might not be the best proxy to consider.
Proactive Worldwide — Your Trusted Customer Experience Partner
Since Proactive Worldwide was founded in 1995, we’ve grown from a small group of highly experienced consultants to a global leader in the competitive intelligence and decision support sector. We actively mine a host of media and other sources for primary, evidence-based intelligence that — combined with strategy development and implementation — enables our clients to make the most informed decisions possible to advance their businesses.
With an international reputation of business stewardship and collaboration, we’re recognized as valued and trusted advisors, and function as members of our clients’ extended teams. Thanks to our knowledgeable and passionate people, we’re able to always deliver outstanding client service with the highest possible level of quality. To find out how we can help your organization, contact us at your convenience.