Building a great customer experience and continuously improving it requires company-wide commitment—and that can’t happen with just a handful of meetings. You’ll need a comprehensive plan that gets everyone on the same page, which is what a customer experience strategy is all about.
A customer experience (CX) strategy is the set of plans, actions, and guidelines designed to create and maintain a memorable customer experience.
A successful CX strategy demands something from every department, because your customers' experience always spans the entire journey: it begins the moment they discover your company and continues across all subsequent interactions including purchases, support calls, repurchases, and word-of-mouth referrals.
Customers expect a great deal of personal care these days, and if you can’t give it to them, they’re more likely than ever to walk away.
It makes sense: not long ago when a customer left for a competitor, the switch involved a fair bit of risk and no guarantees. For example, a customer might go through the trouble of finding a new supplier only to learn that they have an inferior product after all, or terrible support, problems with fulfillment, etc. Rather than wasting time to end up back at square one, many customers would stomach whatever issues they had and stick with a mediocre supplier.
Today, these risks are reduced because customers can easily research a company (on Facebook, Google Reviews, Yelp!, etc.) before giving it a try. In other words, your customers have options like never before, and you’ve got to make a real impression if you want to retain their business.
The good news? If you create a flawless customer journey, you are likely to be successful. And it all begins with a great customer experience strategy.
If you’re ready to build your strategy and you want to do it right, the following three steps will help you create stronger customer relationships that live beyond the initial purchase—and hopefully last a lifetime.
We strongly believe that the best customer experience is rooted in one principle: treat your customers how you would like to be treated.
This mindset begins at the top: when leadership and executives model a customer-first mindset and fully buy into the strategy, the rest of the company is more likely to follow suit. A culture of one-to-one interactions and constant improvement of product, service, and operations will provide an intimate, successful experience for every customer.
When we surveyed 2,000 CX professionals about their companies’ CX strategies, we found that the companies with the most mature customer experience management had the strongest buy-in company-wide—it starts with leadership, and trickles down through the rest of the team. How to get there:
The experience extends beyond the screen. It’s the sum of all the little touchpoints that someone has with the product or company—the content on social media, the interaction they have with customer service, the emails you send them, the in-store experience or packaging, and the actual digital product experience.
Too often, companies get attached to the product and lose sight of the people. Some tangible ways to help evangelize the story of the product are to routinely review and discuss the customer journey, share research and insights about customers, invite people from other departments into the user research process, and circulate customer testimonials and praise to help keep the actual people top of mind.
Delivering a great product experience may help the customer achieve an outcome.
But what stops them from moving to a competitor that comes along is that trust and loyalty that’s formed through all the little touchpoints in the entire experience.
You probably have some idea of what your customers want, but there are needs, drives, and struggles you haven’t considered if you’ve never gathered their feedback. That’s why the most successful companies base everything they do—from product creation to marketing and fulfillment—on what customers tell them they want.
Figuring out what your customers want can have a huge payoff. In our state of CX survey, we found that customer feedback was the number one driver of successful CX strategies. In the same year, a Forrester study showed that customer experience-led companies achieve an average order value that is 1.9x greater than non-experience-led companies.
1. On-page surveys and feedback widgets: website feedback tools like Hotjar Polls slide in on a page while people are visiting it, and you can ask any question you’ll like about any aspect of your business—from how they heard about you, to what they’re looking for, to what they’re struggling to find.
You can also use feedback widgets to collect visual feedback via angry-to-happy emoji scales. Point is: there are plenty of ways to collect feedback from visitors who are on your website—and to prove it, here is a guide to website feedback with 10 practical use cases.
Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.
Talk to your customers. I don't care if this means polling, surveying, or hopping on the phone. But if you want to create an excellent customer experience, you need to understand your customer on a deep level.
We make it a habit to talk to our customers on the phone to understand what they need and what they want.
We deploy surveys to our top customers to help redefine our messaging and product development (to attract more top customers).
For example, we'll ask questions like:
And then, we quantify the data so we can rank it by asking a 0-10 question like: "How likely are you to recommend this [brand / product] to a friend?"
With this data, we have always been able to pull out messaging and data that has improved our marketing, customer onboarding, and products.
Additionally, we apply surveys to people who cancel or want a refund because we want to find out where we can improve overall.
Overall, if you want to deliver an amazing customer experience, the single most important thing you can do is learn more about your customers so you can custom tailor that experience to them.
It's not magic. It's not science. It is simply building a tighter relationship with your customer.
Have you ever been led through a sales funnel that lacked a human touch? It might be hard to put your finger on it, but the experience may just leave you feeling like a cog in an automated wheel. Even worse: have you ever struggled with a website or a product to the point where you realized it wasn't worth your time, and you just left?
Consider how frustrated you’d feel in the following situations:
This company probably wouldn’t win your loyalty, much less your referral, because they failed to deliver a human experience. To make matters worse, the entire process included unnecessary friction, making it every step much harder than it needed to be.
Pro tip: respond quickly and, if you can offer multi-channel support (phone, chat, email). Our 2019 State of CX survey found that waiting for a response is the #1 cause of frustration for customers throughout their experience.
Throughout my years in customer experience, I've worked on initiatives on surprising and delighting / going above and beyond / wowing when the opportunity strikes.
These approaches are important, and they have an impact on word of mouth growth. But time after time, I've learned that delivering an outstanding experience always comes back to one, much simpler thing:
The faster you help someone, the more impressed they are with your service. This is reflected in every CSAT survey again and again.
So the one thing I'd say to do is: scale your support operations with a focus on getting back to your customers as fast as possible and wow them with timely, helpful replies.