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Customer Experience; What Is It and Why Is It So Important?

“Customer experience:” it’s a term that we’re hearing more and more as the years pass. Is it just another buzzword, or should you sit up and take note? You might say that your business is already focused on customer service, and that’s great, but customer experience is so much more than that. Let’s unpack this two-word term and discover why managing customer experience helps you to build a better, and more profitable, business

Read our guide to customer experience.

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience refers to every interaction your customers have with your business or brand and your products. It begins when they first become aware of your existence and continues until they dispose of your product or dispense with your service. Will they purchase a replacement from you? The chances of them doing so will depend, to a large extent, on their experiences. 

We’ve expanded our two-word term into a paragraph, but even that still leaves a lot unsaid. What is customer service experience? As you’ve no doubt guessed, it’s a big contributor to the overall customer experience, but it’s only part of the overall picture customers form when they support your business and use your products. 

How Customer Experience Works

Try putting yourself into your customers’ shoes to see how customer experience might work in context. Here are examples of some of the questions you should consider.

  • How do people find out about you? 
  • When they visit your store or website, do they find what they’re looking for with ease? 
  • If they need help or advice, are they able to access assistance easily? 
  • Were their needs recognized and addressed with empathy and technical skill? 
  • Having decided to make a purchase, what happened next? 
  • Was it easy to make the purchase and was the product or service delivered in line with their expectations? 
  • When they made use of your offering, was the outcome satisfactory? 
  • Was after-sales support needed and if so, was it of a high standard? 

When considering these questions, remember that great customer experiences occur when you not only meet but exceed expectations. What do your customers expect? Broadly speaking, they’re looking for a solution to a problem or pain-point. They want it to be easy to do business with you, and they want your solution to work well when they get it.

But how can you know what your customers are really thinking? Remember, something as small as a mouse click becomes part of the overall customer experience. Let’s look at the things you can do to find out.

How to Measure Customer Experience

Online businesses will have the edge when measuring customer experience, but similar principles apply to brick-and-mortar stores. Various metrics are used, but these are the most frequently applied:

  1. Customer Effort Score (CES)

How easy was it for your customers to get the desired result? Get the information by asking them. Offer a one to ten ranking or a choice of options to click on. It need only take them a second, and they’ll be glad you asked. Read more about customer effort score.

  1. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

“How satisfied were you with the service you received today?” This question is usually posed after customer service interactions. Again, a quick rating from your customers tests the waters. 

  1. Net Promoter Score

“Based on your experience with us, would you recommend our business to others?” A one to ten rating divides your audience into detractors, neutrals, and promoters. A neutral score would be between seven or eight, with promoters giving you a higher score and detractors a lower one. 

  1. Customer Retention Rate

Do your customers keep on supporting your business, or do they go elsewhere for their next purchase? Online businesses are especially well-equipped to determine this based on sales figures and client profiles.

  1. Churn Rate

“Churn” is the opposite of retention. If you’re losing a great many customers, it will be up to you to find out why. 

  1. First Contact Resolution (FCR)

If your customers had queries, were they resolved in a single contact? FCR impacts customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, and research shows a direct correlation between FCR and CSAT.

  1. Average Handle Time (AHT)

How quickly is your support team able to solve customer issues? Quicker is better, and like FCR, AHT directly impacts CSAT.

  1. Customer Referral Rate

Ask new customers how they found your business. If you are getting referrals, that means you had some very satisfied customers. Find ways to do even better and get even more referrals.

  1. Monthly Active Users (MAU)

In the online services industry, your MAU is a strong indication of customer experience. If they aren’t using your service, it could be because it doesn’t meet their needs or is too complicated. 

  1. Trial to Paid Conversion Rate

Many online service companies offer a free trial period. What percentage of these users convert to the paid version when their trial expires? Those who have a positive customer experience are more likely to convert. 

What is Customer Experience Management?

The simplest way to define customer experience management harks back to the elements involved in any management process.

Plan to deliver positive customer experiences by design.

Organise your business to deliver an unbeatable experience.

Lead your team by motivating them to help with continuous customer experience improvements. 

Control customer experience by monitoring results and implementing improvements. 

The important point here is that customer experience must be managed and built on instead of just offering something you think will satisfy your clients and leaving the rest to chance. It will require a team effort, so making your team aware of the importance you attach to customer experience is a must.

Customer Experience Management Tools

With customer experience management becoming so important to businesses, a great many customer experience platforms have been created to help you with gathering the intel you need to make informed decisions. They include:

  • Online survey platforms
  • Pop-up tools for instant surveys
  • SMS survey tools
  • Voice and Text analytics tools that indicate customer sentiments
  • Customer journey analysis tools
  • Software that monitors support team and customer language use to identify negative interactions
  • User test services to check your website’s user friendliness
  • Support ticket management software
  • Live chat widgets
  • Customer service automations
  • Reputation monitoring software that alerts you to social media mentions and reviews

Customer Service and Support for First-Hand Customer Experience Information

Help menus, FAQs and chatbots can go a long way towards helping clients to help themselves – but make human support easily accessible at all times. After one or two attempts at finding the right information and failing, your customers will want access to a real, live person, and if reaching one is hard, you’ve lost them. 

Customer support agents can also feed back real information from customers regarding their experiences. What are the issues that most frequently lead customers to reach out for assistance? What frustrates them? What do they struggle with? It’s information that’s worth gold if you’re hoping to gain referrals and loyalty from customers by offering an excellent customer experience. 

If this sounds like a big investment in live agents and the software they need to serve customers while keeping you in the loop, you’re perfectly right. But there is an alternative. 

Instead of trying to do it all yourself, choose RSVP. We’re already equipped with all the tech tools and personnel you need to serve your customers and keep you informed. Responses are rapid regardless of fluctuations in call or message volumes, and a well-trained, specialised team of customer service agents is on call 24/7. What are your customers saying about their experience? We’ll keep you up-to-date, and knowing what needs attention places you in a good position to deliver the customer experience you want your business to be famed for. 

The best people to tell you about customer experience? Your customers! RSVP keeps you in touch with them through customer service agents you’ll be proud to have as your representatives. Hoping to improve customer experience? Let’s talk solutions

 

Read more about Customer Service

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