Customer experience (CX) has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, as more and more businesses are recognising its importance. No matter what industry you’re in, competition is at an all-time high, and providing an amazing customer experience is a great way to stand out.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term customer experience or just want to know how to improve your CX, this blog covers everything you need to know!
What is customer experience?
Customer experience is how a customer perceives your brand across every interaction they’ve had with you. CX usually consists of multiple touchpoints, so to create a great CX, you need to consider every part of the customer’s journey, from your website right through to the delivery of the product or service.
Why is customer experience important?
There are so many reasons why your business should be focusing on its CX, but here are the top three:
1. Word of mouth is powerful
Amazing (and awful) experiences often prompt us to tell others, and not just friends and family either. Leaving a customer with a positive lasting impression can reward you with lots of free advertisement in the form of personal recommendations, happy social media posts and five-star reviews.
94% of shoppers read reviews before buying a product or service, so make sure your brand leaves your customers walking away with a smile, otherwise they could be damaging to your business.
2. Stand out from your competitors
Unless you can afford to be the cheapest or have a completely unique product, there aren’t many differentiators available to businesses these days, but if you’re known for providing a great CX, customers will come back to you time and time again.
3. Leaders in CX grow faster
It’s common knowledge that it costs more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, and a good CX will create loyal customers and help you gain new ones through recommendations (at no cost to you!). Leaders in CX typically see a 17% growth in revenue compared to a 3% average growth for businesses lagging behind in CX.
What’s the difference between customer service and customer experience?
Both customer service and customer experience are important, but there’s a big difference between the two.
- Reactive – customer service only comes into play when a customer makes a complaint or has a query
- Sits with your customer support team – not every customer will end up needing support
- Customer service is a small but important part of customer experience
- Proactive – CX is focused on optimising the customer journey so complaints don’t happen
- CX is the responsibility of every team, not just support
- CX can’t be pinned to a single event, person or experience – it’s about the relationship a customer has with a brand as a whole
To read more about the difference between CS and CX, check out our blog.
How to measure customer experience
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to measuring CX. There are plenty of metrics and tools out there, but which one is best for your business depends on what you do, and the specifics of your customer journey. Let’s go through some of the most commonly used metrics.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
What is CSAT?
This is a broad term used to describe customer service survey questions which measure – you guessed it – customer satisfaction. A CSAT score is usually determined by asking customers questions, whether that be a single query or a long survey.
Respondents usually use this scale:
1. Very unsatisfied
5. Very satisfied
The results are then averaged to give a score, which with a quick calculation is then turned into a percentage. As you’d expect, 100% represents the most satisfied customers, and 0% the most dissatisfied.
Why is CSAT important?
CSAT is one of the single most important metrics for customer support. It’s a great indicator of how your customers are feeling and can be extremely useful in giving insight to help you improve your business. It’s particularly effective when looking at individual touchpoints, as it’s based on a ‘here and now’ reaction, rather than the experience as a whole.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
What is NPS?
Used by millions of companies worldwide, NPS measures the loyalty of customers by asking them how likely they are to recommend a company to friends, family or colleagues.
NPS scores are measured with a single question and reported with a number from -100 to +100. As you may have guessed, the higher the number, the better the score!
Depending on how customers rate the business, they fall into one of three categories:
Why is NPS important?
You can measure almost anything with an NPS score, whether you want to see how your customers feel about the overall experience with your company, or something more specific like a particular product, member of staff or store. It’s important because it helps to evaluate customer loyalty, which is also a good indicator of how likely it is that customers will churn.
You can find more information on NPS here!
Customer Effort Score (CES)
What is CES?
CES measures the user experience with a product or service. Customers rank their experience on a seven-point scale which ranges from ‘very difficult’ to ‘very easy’.
The most common use for CES surveys is right after an experience with customer service, so it’s a great way of generating feedback on specific touchpoints rather than a general overview of the CX.
Why is CES important?
Measuring CES helps you to address any obstacles that are related to the quality and ease of your service, making it particularly useful for support teams.
How to improve your customer experience
Improving your CX isn’t a quick fix – it’s an ongoing process which should evolve with your business. Getting started can feel a little overwhelming, so here’s what we suggest you do to get the ball rolling.
1. Map out your customer journey
Before attempting to get any customer feedback, you need to get your head around the customer journey and identify all the relevant touchpoints. Consider everything from PPC ads to post-sale interactions – it all has an impact on how your customers perceive you!
2. Listen to your customer feedback
Listening to the voice of your customers is key to improving your CX. Whether you generate feedback from customer reviews, surveys or even from your social channels, use what your customers are saying to identify key themes and figure out what your customers love, and where you could make improvements.
3. Create a strategy
Once you know which touchpoints need some work, you can set some objectives and start thinking about what you need to do to hit those goals.
At this stage, make sure you’ve included all departments, not just those who are dealing with customers on the frontline! Using feedback and insight from across the company means the whole business will be aligned, and the customer journey will feel nice and cohesive.
4. Make small, measurable changes
Improving your CX should be a constant focus, and the process will naturally evolve with your business. This means that as well as making small, meaningful improvements over time, you should be regularly measuring and reporting on the results to help guide your strategy moving forward.
What makes a great customer experience?
Essentially, great CX all comes from understanding your customers. It’s knowing what they want, what their frustrations are, and what’s important to them. Customers today have high expectations. They expect a seamless, efficient and relevant experience at the most basic level, and are ready and waiting for the ‘wow factor’ that so many businesses are competing to deliver.
Of course, everyone’s ‘perfect CX’ will be different, but the main principles are often the same. Here’s what we think makes up a fantastic customer experience:
- Use customer feedback: Utilising feedback is the best way to get an in-depth understanding not only of your customers, but of your business too!
- Show you’re listening: Implement a system which allows you to collect feedback, analyse it, and act on it quickly. Make use of tech which can not only reduce your workload, but make your service more engaging and efficient to customers
- Tailor the customer journey: Don’t underestimate the power of personalisation!
- Incorporate your brand’s personality: If you want to create a memorable experience, you’ll need to inject your brand’s personality. Remember what makes you unique and keep it at the forefront of everything you do
- Eliminate hurdles: Make the whole experience as seamless as possible. Your customers should always be on the shortest path to get where they want to be
- Be consistent: A great customer experience means nothing if it’s not consistent. To build loyalty, you need to deliver the same great service time and time again
What makes a bad customer experience?
As scary as it sounds, the only way to determine what could contribute to a bad experience with your own business is by venturing into your customer feedback and picking out the most common pain points.
Here are some of the more consistent issues that could result in a disappointing customer experience:
- Poor customer service and rude employees
- Unresolved problems
- Long wait times
- A service which isn’t personalised
- Not enough human interaction
Unsure how to respond to negative feedback? Read our guide.
What is customer experience mapping?
Customer experience mapping is the process of plotting how your customers think and feel as they engage with your brand. A good customer experience map tells a detailed story of your entire customer journey and includes every channel and touchpoint where a customer might come into contact with your brand during the sale and post-sale cycle. By identifying how your customers think and feel at each stage of their journey, you’re able to zero in on the areas that are working well, and the things that could do with some improvement.
The great thing is, your customer experience map can look however you want, as long as it includes the right stuff. We love this fun design for Emirates.
Customer experience mapping vs. customer journey mapping
A customer journey map is best used to understand a definitive process in the overall sales cycle, such as the buying journey for a specific product. A customer experience map, on the other hand, digs a little deeper to help you identify successes and failures in your overall customer experience.
Although both look very similar, where a customer experience map really comes into its own is by taking it that one step further and shining a light on the behaviours and emotions that a customer goes through at each of the key touchpoints with your brand.
What should you include in your customer experience map?
Every customer experience map will be unique to you and your business, so there is no one ‘golden’ rule for how to create one, or even what it needs to look like. There are, however, some things you’ll need to include if you want to get the best feel of how your customer experience is performing:
- Customer personas – Each of your customer personas will have different needs and expectations when they encounter your brand. It’s important to take this into account and map them separately
- Multi-channel experiences – Customers experience your business across a whole range of channels, from in-store to mobile. Understanding how each of these channels link together and what’s going on at every touchpoint is crucial
- Customer goals – Consider what the customer is trying to achieve during each interaction with your brand. How hard are these to accomplish? Are there any barriers?
- Positive and negative experiences – At each of the touchpoints, state what you’re doing well and what’s adding value, but also factor in where your customers have experienced issues
To build your customer experience map, you need to find out how your customers really feel about your business. There are plenty of ways to do this, from surveys to social listening, but nothing beats talking with your customers first-hand. Asking for product and service reviews at every stage of the customer journey is a great way to connect with your customers and start gathering genuine insights into what’s working and what’s not.
Does customer experience differ between industries?
So, what does good customer experience look like for your business?
The truth is, every company’s customer experience is going to look and feel different, regardless of your industry, so benchmarking yourself, even against your direct competition, can be a complicated process. CX metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) can help you gauge where you sit against industry averages, but it doesn’t paint the full picture.
Although customer experience differs from business to business, there are still several things shoppers have come to expect from certain industries. An ecommerce site, for example, needs to offer cheap and speedy delivery, whilst an insurance company needs a responsive customer support team to deal with the constant stream of claims and queries quickly and efficiently.
The best thing you can do is focus on delivering a first-class experience to your customers by going above and beyond these expectations. Once you’ve got that nailed, start looking at how you compare to others in your industry and what CX trends and techniques you can use to improve further.
How a great customer experience turns customers into brand advocates
There’s no better sales person for your business than a happy customer! You can tell people until you’re blue in the face about how great your products and service are, but actually hearing it first-hand from those that have experienced it can go a long way towards convincing others about your brand.
On average, happy customers will tell nine people about their experience with your business. So, going above and beyond to provide a memorable customer experience is a great way of making sure your customers go away happy and start spreading the word.
Once others start hearing about how great your service is, they’ll be a lot more likely to pay for it. In fact, 69% of shoppers will pay more to get a better customer experience.
The more happy customers you have, the easier it is to keep on selling. The probability of selling again to an existing customer is 14x higher than selling to a brand-new customer – so doing everything you can to keep them coming back for more is going to work wonders for your bottom line.
Learn more about how reviews can help
Hopefully we’ve answered all your CX-related questions, but if you want to find out more about how Feefo can help you improve your customers’ experiences, get in touch with our friendly team today.