It’s been drilled into us that the customer is always right. It may not always be the case, but when it comes to ensuring that your customers are kept satisfied in order to keep your business running, having a sound customer experience (CX) strategy in place is vital. It starts by analysing consumer behaviour and putting their feedback at the forefront, so you can provide the best possible experience at all times.
Happy customers lead to a happy business. And that starts by putting a solid CX strategy in place. Let’s unpack that.
What is a customer experience (CX) strategy and why is it important?
Customers today have high expectations and almost no patience when it comes to what they want from brands. And in this fast-paced, digitally high-tech world it’s only natural. They have choices at their fingertips and have no time to spare. You need to step up and shake things up by providing them with memorable, positive and outstanding customer experiences to stay relevant and ahead of the competition.
A successful CX strategy focuses on the relationship and dynamics between customer and business. Your reputation is on the line at every single step of the customer journey and can affect the ultimate impression your brand makes on them. More than half of customers won’t do business with a company after just one negative experience. Whether it's poor customer service or lack of information about your offering, a difficult buying process or not feeling valued as a customer - every exchange can make a difference.
But how do you know which ones are working or where you are failing? Simple. Ask them.
Gather customer feedback along every touchpoint of the customer’s journey and interaction with your brand. Customer feedback provides valuable insight into customer’s expectations, feelings and grievances. Customer reviews are a vital source of feedback, and many times can go overlooked. Besides, more and more people today search for customer reviews to not only influence their purchase decision but also to form an opinion about a brand, so keeping your reviews accessible and available is key to not only customer retention, but acquisition too.
Customer reviews have the power to convert potential buyers and deter those who come across a negative one. It’s up to you to change the narrative by taking it under your control for your business.
4 ways to incorporate customer reviews into your CX strategy
1. Place review touchpoints throughout the customer journey
Incorporating customer reviews and feedback panels throughout your website and other customer interaction points show the customer that you care about their opinions every step of the way. A touchpoint can be any interaction between you and your customer and will include those before, during and after a purchase too.
Let’s break it down so you know exactly what kind of customer reviews can go at which stage:
a) Before purchase
If a customer connects with your customer service team with any question, ensure that they are provided with what they are looking for. Then ask them for feedback on the assistance they received. Use glowing customer reviews from existing customers as part of your marketing and advertising scheme to entice new clients with social proof.
b) During purchase
Incorporate product reviews within your product detail page if you are running a shopping website. You can also place client testimonials throughout your website to catch the user’s eye while they browse.
c) After purchase
Just because a transaction was successful doesn’t mean your customer’s journey is over. This is your chance to follow-up by asking them to share their experience. Email the customer after their purchase with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to get more insights on customer loyalty and advocation.
2. Launch a user-generated content (UGC) marketing campaign
What do brands like Daniel Wellington and Pura Vida Bracelets have in common? They’ve been able to build a community following and social reputation by curating and sharing UGC across their platforms, especially Instagram. Users are happy to share their positive feedback about the product for a chance to be featured on the brand’s page. And UGC is not just about glowing recommendations.
Customers will go out of their way to post aesthetically pleasing and well-crafted messages about your brand that are shareworthy and engaging. It’s a win-win situation for you both, particularly when they're organic.
Customer reviews in the form of user-generated content can be anything from videos to images, podcast shout-outs to how-to tutorials. Start by creating an easy-to-use and memorable hashtag that can be used during a variety of occasions like travel, eating out, family events and more. This will allow the content generated to be relevant across different situations and remain timeless. UGC allows you to put customer experience at the forefront by providing them with a platform to share their story while curating positive customer experiences that align with your CX strategy along the way.
3. Incorporate customer reviews across multiple platforms
93% of customers say that they get influenced by online reviews when making a purchase decision. Whether it’s on social media or Google, TripAdvisor or Feefo, customer reviews are everywhere and it’s up to you to make sure the right message about your business is spread consistently across all platforms.
Pay attention to top customer review sites for your industry. If you’re in hospitality then TripAdvisor or Yelp will play an important role in the customer’s decision-making process. Most companies now have Google My Business pages where customers can see ratings, contact information, location and photos of a business all in one place.
With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to keep a track of them and respond to every review in a timely fashion. This is where Feefo’s tools come in to help you. You can now easily add customisable widgets that group together themes from customer reviews and helps enhance the customer journey.
From showcasing your customer reviews on paid ads to displaying them in an eye-catching manner on your website, it’s time to take your CX strategy to the next level by enhancing customer reviews to your benefit.
Be proactive in asking customers for their feedback by sending out surveys and conducting interviews for more in-depth answers. Whether you choose to send an email survey, chat with them on social media or talk to them face-to-face, remember to leave plenty of room for them to elaborate on their answers. Asking open-ended questions gives them space to think and express their real feelings about your business.
4. Create brand ambassadors
This is an extension of the UGC point, but this time you’re actively seeking out like-minded individuals to collaborate with you. You need brand ambassadors that believe in your company’s vision, who can communicate to your customers in a believable way and who can ensure that your business stands out from the crowd. When used efficiently, brand ambassadors can be the ones posting customer reviews that truly influence new clients to get on board.
Choose influential team players who are likeable and relatable in your industry, and who your customer base believe in. They must take a proactive approach to incorporate your products and services into their daily lives seamlessly so that when they do post a customer review, it's authentic and credible to the masses. Use brand ambassadors to tap into a new audience base by partnering with someone who has more than one target audience. For example, a fitness influencer may also have a pet dog, for whom they can create animal-related content. As long as their reviews are real customer reviews, it will tie in both your brand stories.
Another way to get started with brand ambassadors is to start a loyalty programme with rewards. For every successful purchase, ask that customer to leave a review for a chance to get a discount on their next purchase or a free gift. With a bit of nurturing these customer reviews will bring you repeat business, a growing fan base and organic referrals from their network.
Turn customer reviews into action points
It's clear by now that customer reviews should not be underestimated. Your CX strategy is dependent on customer reviews because they come from real people and have the power to influence other real people, who can be potential customers.
Customer reviews can also be very helpful in employee training. Incorporate a customer evaluation scheme that analyses customer reviews for feedback that can become an integral part of your overall customer experience strategy. Train your employees across every department and level to keep a careful eye on customer reviews and feedback. Your ultimate goal should be to better align with customer expectations and use their feedback to shape your business goals in the long run.