How do customers form an opinion on your business and whether it’s worth supporting? They use their experiences when interacting with your business to shape their opinions. From the advert, website, or signage that first drew them to take a closer look at your firm, every step they take forms part of their experience.
Having read this brief explanation of what customer experience is, you may think you have a very good answer to the question: “What is customer experience management?” but it’s still worth considering in greater detail. Most businesses do some customer experience management without ever putting a name to it. For instance, they design their website to look professional and enticing and round that off with user friendliness. But if they don’t actively work on managing the customer experience, they’re going to drop a few balls along the way.
For example, customer experience management means that even the biggest businesses work to provide personalised service. They’ll use high-tech customer experience management tools to achieve this. But although personalisation is an important element, there’s more to customer experience than dealing with businesses that seem to “know” you. A single bad impression at any point of the customer journey is all it takes to undo your efforts towards delivery of an unbeatable customer experience.
Elements that Shape Customer Experience
Customer experience begins from the moment that prospective clients discover that you exist. They may have seen an advertisement, spotted your posts on social media, seen your website or store, or got a recommendation from a friend. The experience has already begun. For some, it will go no further. Your marketing team’s task is to guide as many people as possible to the next step.
Having decided that they’re interested in what you do, the next logical step is to find out more, so customers engage with your businesses. This could mean that they visit your website or brick-and-mortar business or pursue further enquiries over the phone, via social media, or by email. They’ll certainly have expectations when they do so, and if you don’t meet them, you just lost a customer. If you offer exactly what they expected, they’ll be mildly pleased. But what if you perform far better than they expected? They’re impressed!
By now, your sales prospect is warming up. If the engagement experience left them feeling that you’re OK or better yet, are excited to have found you, they turn their initial interest into action and buy your product. But the customer’s experience isn’t over by a long shot. In fact, it’s going to continue until the day when they no longer use what they bought from you. After completing the transaction, your product or service, as well as any after-sales service you offer, continues to shape their perceptions.
What You Stand to Gain From Good Customer Experience Management
We all like to feel that our businesses have happy customers, but apart from leaving you with that warm, fuzzy feeling of having done a good job, there are real benefits to a well-managed customer experience journey.
Since you did so well in meeting their needs and making them feel enthusiastic about choosing to support you, your customers will be back next time round. They probably won’t even bother to research the competition.
But there’s more. In a spirit of helpfulness, they’ll tell people they know about your business. So, in essence, although good customer experience management helps you to make an initial sale, it will also help you to make future sales. Best of all, those recommendations from your customers will be seen as being more trustworthy than any marketing communication from you, and it doesn’t cost you a penny.
Customer Experience Management Challenges
Customers expect more these days. When you start managing your customers’ experiences in a purposeful way, it’s worth remembering that you aren’t the first to do so. Many other businesses in your niche have gone before you, and that means elevated expectations. You’ll have to work harder to stand out from the crowd and do everything better than your competitors already do.
Your team needs to work in a unified way towards building a great customer experience and that begins with getting all the customer experience-related data you have in one place. Fortunately, there are customer experience management platforms that do just that, but you still have to pull everything together and develop a customer experience management system. And to make sense of how you’re performing, you’ll need up-to-the-minute customer experience analytics.
With the tech side of things sorted out, you can’t ignore the human element. Absolutely everyone who works for your business needs to focus on customers and their experiences with your brand. It’s not just a matter of paying lip service. It means identifying pain points that might sour the customer experience, deciding what to do about them, and addressing them in order of their importance.
Customer Experience Management Strategies
A strategy is the path to goal-fulfilment. Although all businesses are different, and the nuts and bolts of their customer experience management strategies may differ, their goals remain the same.
Every touchpoint on the customer journey must deliver a positive experience, and the strategy you choose helps you to work towards that goal. Like every strategic initiative you launch, tracking progress and measuring results tells you whether you’re succeeding. Your “payday” after all that work? Repeat business and referrals from loyal customers are your reward.
What happens if you don’t work according to a customer experience management strategy? Thousands of disaffected former customers take their business elsewhere. And even if they’re not actively warning their friends off – which they will if they’re dissatisfied enough – they certainly aren’t recommending you!
Customer Experience Management Software Tools
As you’d expect in an area that involves massive data collection and analysis activities, there are more software options than anybody could hope to list. You’ll even find people recommending software that only does part of the job as being good for customer experience management.
Having dozens of different tools and software doing different things can work for very small businesses, but in larger ones, this type of setup is going to give you exactly what you don’t want: lots of little bits of information across multiple platforms instead of unified data.
Reasonably comprehensive, multi-purpose platforms that help you to manage customer experience include Zendesk, Salesforce, Freshdesk, Zoho Desk, Podium, and HubSpot Service Hub.
Outsourcing Elements of Customer Experience: Increased Complexity?
The truth is that, just as you have different departments in your business, you can have some customer-faced elements outside your business and it could even boost your customer experience management efforts. However, you should choose your partners with as much care as you choose your key staff. You will need to partner with businesses that understand what you’re trying to achieve and bring a strong contribution to the table. And they need to share results-based information.
For example, if you choose a marketing company to help people discover your brand, they need to be very clear about what they can do, how they will do it, and how they’ll align that with your brand. You’re going to want to see results too. That means sharing analytics and helping you to interpret them. And since you’re the customer this time around, they must still leave you in control as the decision-maker.
RSVP adds a new element to customer experience management. As an omnichannel call centre, it manages and responds to communications from your customers, and since contact can happen several times throughout each customer’s journey, they could play a big role in helping you to achieve your customer experience-related goals. But dare you outsource a task that has such a big role in creating the impressions your customer will form of your customer service? And how can you remain on top of what’s happening?
At RSVP, our first commitment is to give your customers service that’s at least as good as anything you can offer in-house. From there, our next aim is to do even better! Meanwhile we’re liaising with your designated in-house specialists while giving you the detailed intel you need to uncover your customers’ pain points. And in case you were wondering, all this happens 24/7 with all information being recorded and reported to you using the latest customer experience management tools.
Are you working to make customer experiences even better than they already are? Simply choosing RSVP is already a decisive step in the right direction! Let’s talk business!