Once upon a time, companies could compete only on price or quality. The lowest price or the best quality won, depending on what was most important to that particular customer. The customer experience and the service or help you received were not quite as important, if the price was right.
People have bargained with both Ullared and Ryan Air and have accepted that the level of service is also reflected based on the price.
With the digitalisation of our daily lives, we have become accustomed to being constantly aware of the choices we have. We can search for the product or service we are looking for ourselves and can find the solution that suits us best. As consumers have been able to easily post feedback and evaluations of their experience, the focus has also shifted more towards the buying experience itself.
Instead of competing on price or product quality, you can now compete on delivering an exceptional customer experience. It has even been predicted that by 2020, companies will stand out by delivering a truly great customer experience rather than by price or product.
What is customer experience?
It's basically about the interactions that someone has with your company or brand. Both before and after a conversion to purchase.
With a poor customer experience, you risk your target audience turning to a competitor next time. Delivering a good customer experience will help build loyalty and hopefully word-of-mouth as your customers recommend you to others.
Customer experience does not consist of a customer service department but happens at every point of contact your target audience has with your brand.
In short, this means that you need to develop a strategy not only for marketing, but also for the entire customer experience. Think about how and when you can give your customers that extra something, and get help from both customers and employees. Everyone who interacts with your business has their own customer experience. Listen in and look for both what works well and where there is room for improvement.
Together with an inbound marketing strategy, you will ensure that your target audience both finds you and increases the likelihood that they will not only convert but also recommend your company and products/services to others.
How do you create a great customer experience?
We are now able to collect large amounts of data about our customers and their buying behaviour. Make sure tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Hotjar are connected to your website to give you accurate information about how your audience interacts with your content. You can't optimise the website or customer experience if you don't know how your audience actually behaves when they interact with you.
Use social media
Use social media to engage with your audience. Get feedback, see what people are saying about you, respond to customer messages and create targeted campaigns aimed at your different personas.
Make sure your content is responsive and adapts to your customers' behaviour and preferences. Your audience should be able to look up your contact details even on their mobile phone or download a guide when they're on a bus or between meetings. Even if 70% of your audience finds you on their desktop device, you don't want to lose the 30% who use their mobile or tablet.
The marketing department can no longer work in isolation but needs to work with other departments such as sales. Marketing cannot effectively create valuable content without input from the company's product managers. Nor can they provide the sales department with relevant material unless there is a dialogue about what the sales department is looking for and, above all, what customers are actually interested in. In order to create situational content and set up targeted campaigns that reach the right people at the right time, several departments within the organisation need to collaborate and communicate with each other.
Checklist for creating a good customer experience strategy
- Is the interface user-friendly?
- Does the website load fast enough?
- Are there conversion points such as contact forms, chat, downloadable guides or buttons to easily book appointments?
- Are you publishing relevant content that answers your audience's questions? Do you have situational content?
- Are you open about who you are and what you can do? Do customers trust you?
- Are there several ways to get in touch with you?
- How quickly do you respond to incoming requests?
- Do you focus on customer satisfaction in your interactions?
- Is the experience the same every time a customer contacts you?
- Are there analysis tools linked to the website?
- Do you have a marketing automation system to collect and follow up on leads?
- Is data collected to ensure that marketing activities are relevant and provide a good ROI?
Culture and organisation
- Do employees feel that they have the opportunity to influence and contribute to improving the customer experience?
- Is there communication and exchange between departments?
Measuring in your own channels or asking your customers
As mentioned above, a big part of understanding the customer experience in digital marketing is understanding the customer journey itself, from the initial search through a search engine to a purchase to them becoming a repeat customer who also recommends you to others. If you can answer all the questions above, you have done a very good job and probably have good reviews from your customers. If you can't answer the questions yourself, or if you don't fully trust what you believe about your customers' experience, there are analytical tools that provide an overview of how well you are doing in your work, focusing on the customer experience itself.
For example, you could send out a questionnaire in your next newsletter asking what your customers and leads think about you and how you work. There are two traditional models that are still relevant in digital work and that you can use.
NET Promoter Score
The NET Promoter Score or NPS is about how willing someone is to recommend you to someone else on a scale of 0-10.
Those who answer 9-10 are loyal customers who are happy to recommend you to others. Those answering 7-8 are passive respondents who are quite satisfied but could be lured over to your competitors. All those who answered 0-6 are dissatisfied and there is a high risk that they will speak badly about your company and your products/services or their experience with you as a supplier.
Your score is then added up and based on how many dissatisfied customers you have compared to how many satisfied and loyal customers you have.
NPS is a commonly used model to find out what the general perception of your company is, and how it changes year on year.
CSAT or Customer Satisfaction Score is a more comprehensive model that takes into account the entire customer journey. By using this model, you can measure customer satisfaction with a specific purchase or interaction. The scale can be 1-3, 1-5 or 1-10, depending on what is appropriate at the time.
Instead, this model asks how satisfied the customer is at a particular time. By asking the question at selected points during the buying journey, you get a more comprehensive picture of how satisfied or dissatisfied a customer or lead is at different points during the buying journey.
For example, you may have a very good chat and support service that provides quick and relevant answers to customers' questions, but when signing a contract, the process is complicated and difficult to understand. Even if the average score is good, it's valuable to know exactly what works well and what doesn't so you can make changes to improve the overall customer experience.
Start by looking at the whole buying journey and customer experience today. Use the checklist in this post to tune in to what you think is working well and what areas you think could use improvement.
Don't just trust your gut, ask your customers and employees about their experiences when they contact you. If you don't know how best to reach your target group or customers, you can use the two common models, NPS or CSAT.
Once you have a good picture of the current situation, you can then go on to develop a really sharp customer experience strategy that is likely to deliver more satisfied and repeat customers.