When we talk about customer experience, many of us think about support. We think about the touchpoints between customer and business when the customer needs help buying or using a product.
These interactions make up part of the customer experience, but not all of it.
Customer experience encompasses the entire end-to-end journey a customer takes. That involves a whole lot more than just your customer service or support team.
Creating an effortless customer experience is the whole company’s stance. Everyone in your company, from CEO on down, should look at effortless customer experience as the #1 goal. The means of contributing to that goal vary from one team to the next, but making the customer’s life easier is always the ultimate end game.
Rally employees around the customer experience
Putting radically easy customer experience first is often easier said than done. It gets even harder as your business grows. It’s easy for support teams to keep the customer in mind because real customers are directly involved in their day-to-day work. For other teams across the business, customers can follow the “out of sight, out of mind” principle in a flash.
An organization-wide focus on customer experience takes dedicated effort and cross-team strategy. Wootric recommends a few simple steps to keep employees across every team focused on the customer experience.
- Measure Performance with Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Metrics like leads, revenue, and sales put a large emphasis on customer acquisition. That means many teams focus more on winning customers than on keeping them happy.
NPS measures customer loyalty. It can help elevate customer experience to the realm of measurable business goals. That makes it easier to make customer happiness a priority and hold every team accountable to it.
- Share Performance with the Whole Company
Measuring NPS is all fine and good, but it doesn’t help employees focus on customer experience unless you share the results with them. Most NPS measurement will involve both a rating and testimonials. Make a point to share both aspects of NPS responses with the entire company.
That way, every team can develop a better understanding of customers’ lives – and the needs and desires that arise from them.
- Empower Employees to Take Action
Net promoter data empowers businesses. You can find what customers like and identify areas to improve the customer experience. But at the end of the day, it’s rank and file employees who have the opportunity to make a difference for customers.
That’s why it’s important for them to empower employees to do what’s necessary. Give them the autonomy and authority to improve customer experience and fix any customer problems that arise.
Customer-centric sales strategy
Sales is often the first one-on-one touchpoint customers experience with your business. They’re likely to come in contact with sales long before they need your support team. That means your sales reps are integral players in boosting the customer experience.
To put the emphasis back on customer happiness (instead of hitting a quota or closing sales), you need to design every aspect of your sales strategy with the customer in mind.
Your ultimate goal isn’t $1 million in sales or 1 million new customers – it’s happy customers. That means being honest and transparent when your product isn’t a good fit for a lead. It means putting people over revenue, and letting that concept guide every decision, conversation, and sale.
What does that look like on the ground? It looks like empowered, well-trained sales reps.
Make hiring decisions based on emotional intelligence, in addition to sales skill. Empower reps with both autonomy and the data they need to effectively serve leads and customers. Connect sales quotas with concrete customer experience goals.
Great customer experience is the main goal here, but customer-centric strategy lends itself to more productive and efficient sales reps, too. The goal is to find the right solution for each customer. That means reps have the power to to accept when a sale isn’t a good fit. Then move on to other leads who can actually benefit from what you’re offering.
Personalized, educational marketing
When it comes to both customer acquisition and retention, marketing plays a few different roles. They’re responsible for drumming up interest, finding qualified leads for sales, and lessening the burden on support.
Marketing’s role in boosting customer experience is simple. Cut out as much irrelevant communication as possible. Then offer, in its place, personalized, educational resources. Resources that actually help consumers find the information they need to make a buying decision and get the most out of your product.
That looks like top to bottom educational content designed to guide customers through every stage of the buyer’s journey. From learning about a problem to comparing solutions to leveraging your product. Personalized, relevant email marketing creates an effortless experience. One that runs all the way from lead nurturing to onboarding to support follow-ups.
Your marketing team works even closer with support today than they might have ten years ago. The ubiquity of social media and its role in customer support calls for seamless integration of social and support teams. It’s vital that social media managers be emotionally intelligent, well-trained, and consummate customer advocates. They should be empowered to help customers in whichever venue they choose.
Design with the customer in mind
Customer experience has a lot to do with what your business does for customers. But a big part of the customer experience is also how your product does what it does. A+ experiences come from every touchpoint a customer has with your business – not just with your employees. That’s why seamless experiences start with customer-centric design.
This can play out in a few ways:
- Overarching customer experience design. This is the strategy you set forth that paints a picture of what every aspect of the customer experience should look and feel like.
- Customer-centric product design. That means your design or engineering teams are also key players when it comes to improving the customer experience.
Designers can’t read minds anymore than you or I can. That’s why one of the best ways to design effortless customer experiences is to go right to the source: customers themselves. Instead of adding another cook to the kitchen, co-designing with customers gives designers invaluable insight. Insight they can use to create a seamless experience.
For designers, there’s no such thing as too much customer feedback. That’s where beta testing comes in. Beta testing can provide vital input from real people who use your product. That enables designers to build a constant feedback loop that sees customer experience skyrocket.
Feedback-driven product development
Are you starting to develop a product, expanding your offering, or looking to improve an existing offering? Product development is a key process. It sets the stage for who you’ll market to and how they’ll interact with your product and business.
No matter the stage of development, there’s one secret sauce that can help your product development team create the best experience for customers: feedback. Customer feedback is the most effective way to find out what people who will actually use your product are looking for.
Like the co-design process we already chatted about, co-development means developers work directly with customers. They can figure out what needs improvement and what to build out. Meaning they can identify where to invest to create a real difference for actual customers. Instead of throwing spaghetti at the wall, developers game the system. They can stop wasting time on product features or updates that won’t better the customer experience.
Your customer support team is another priceless resource for product development. Customer support reps talk to customers all day, every day. That means they’re a veritable goldmine of customer feedback. Working with your support team provides another layer of valuable customer info that helps development create the best product and experience for your customers.
Create effortless customer experiences
Unique from customer satisfaction and support, the customer experience encompasses every touchpoint between customers and your business, product, and team. Eighty-six percent of consumers say they’re willing to pay more for better experiences. And, 22% of companies can’t wait to invest in customer experience heading into 2018, according to Econsultancy.
As more companies focus on customer experience, those who don’t, risk losing out on both customers and revenue.
Creating an effortless experience for customers takes dedicated customer experience strategy and even more dedicated employees. But when you do, customer experience becomes the differentiator that leads to more business and happier customers.
And that’s a difference-maker.