Customer experience strategy to drive business growth
Customer experience (CX) is core to business success.
As essential as your product or service, your customer experience (or CX for short) is one of your key differentiators. To survive in these ever-changing times, your business needs to evolve. But that doesn’t change the fundamental components of creating a great customer experience.
Find out how to evaluate your current approach to CX and position CX at the forefront of your business. At the close, you’ll find some business-altering quick wins to help you prioritise your customer experience.
Developing a customer experience (CX) strategy for your business has never been more important. Whether you have a large contact centre or teams in various locations, your business cannot grow without one. It’s especially pertinent right now as many organisations navigate their CX through this crisis.
By giving your customers a positive experience, they will:
speak positively about your company
refer new customers
support sustained business growth.
CX is at the forefront of your brand identity. We remember our experiences, good and bad, and we carry them forward. If we have poor customer experience, we’re likely to become detractors. That is, we’ll speak negatively about our experience with other people.
Conversely, if we have a positive experience, we may become advocates. Advocates not only feel positive about their experience but are also likely to recommend your services to others.
Word of mouth is powerful. Damage the reputation of your company via poor CX and you’ll harm your bottom line. Deliver great CX and you’ll encourage people to become loyal.
A 2018 survey conducted by Salesforce asked 6,700 consumers and business buyers about their buying habits based on CX. It revealed that:
80% of customers think the experience that a company provides is just as important as its products and services
57% have taken their business to a competitor due to unsatisfactory customer service
67% would pay more for a better customer experience.
The benefits of prioritising CX are likely to outweigh the initial cost of establishing effective solutions. As well as retaining customers, you will also benefit financially from CX solutions that help you to better organise your staff. More efficient placement of your contact centre staff will help you to maximise their time and skills.
There are three key elements that define brilliant CX: emotional response, ease and efficiency.
1. Customer experience should elicit an emotional response
This is often considered the most fundamental element of CX.
It is important to adapt your response based on the type of business and customer. Acknowledge how the customer feels, validate their feelings and partner with them to reach a resolution.
Booking a holiday, for example, is emotive because it may cost a lot of money and is an exciting prospect. In this instance, a booking agent is expected to reassure the customer that everything is in place and build on their excitement.
In contrast, those interactions that happen in a negative context, such as insurance claims, require both empathy and a resolution from the operator. Here, a safe-space needs to exist, nurturing the customer through the experience.
2. Customer experience should be easy
Streamlining your CX is vital. Slick CX will benefit everyone. Easy experiences allow customers to seek help, make contact and resolve their issues.
Good CX should be low-effort for the customer, with maximum impact. This should be the case regardless of the channel they are reaching out from.
3. Customer experience should be efficient in solving problems
Effective customer experience will leave the user feeling satisfied that their issue has been resolved.
This resolution is vital. They should not need to phone back because the solution was poor or only effective in the short-term.
It is vital that, within your power, their needs are met. If issues cannot be resolved, why? Do your services need to adapt? Are you missing a trick?
Importantly, ask your customers whether their issue has been resolved. If not, provide alternative means of support.
Consider your CX ratio
Calculating your ratio of ‘emotional response: ease: efficiency’ is important when devising and refining your CX strategy. It could be the difference between a customer becoming a brand detractor or brand advocate.
These three elements are essential for CX in every business. But you need to get the balance right.
The emotive response can be minimised in certain CX models. The One-Click Purchase Model, for example, is a revolutionary method adopted by businesses such as Amazon, Just Eat and Uber. Here, ease and efficiency are more important to the customer than an emotional connection. They want to buy a product easily and receive it quickly.
We can help you to create a CX strategy
Great CX should be easy, efficient and elicit a positive emotional response. But how can you make meaningful changes to boost CX and, subsequently, business growth?
You can strengthen your customer experience strategy at any point. At Sabio, we divide CX into three elements: Insights, Solutions and Digital.
Feedback surveys can be really helpful if you ask the right questions. Construct your feedback survey with the three CX elements of ease, efficiency and emotional response in mind.
We would recommend posing around six questions. Providing a choice of answers is the easiest way to generate results quickly.
Finish your survey with an open question to get a genuine emotional response. It’s always good to hear how they’re feeling in their own words. You might well be surprised by the results!
There is no better way to capture emotion than with primary research.
Interviewing your customers on the phone will allow you to understand how they are feeling.
This is often more effective than asking for a written response as we generally speak far quicker than we type.
How to measure customer feedback
What do your customers value now and what might they value in the future?
There are various ways to measure feedback to produce robust, actionable data.
Speech and text analytics will help you to understand how your customers and employees are feeling.
Do your staff have enough information about a particular topic? Does your online feedback form ask difficult questions? Is your chat bot ineffective? You’ll only start to understand the bigger picture when all of this data is gathered.
Top tip – make the most of your speech data by creating audio files. These will help you to understand customers on a more emotional level. Businesses tend to see better engagement from their staff when they bring data to life in this way.
NPS is the main way to measure CX for many companies. In order to generate your NPS, ask customers to rate their experience with your business on a scale of 0-10. Your customers are then scored as either:
Detractors (those who rate their experience between 0-6)
Detractors are those who are likely to speak negatively about your business to others. They stand in the way of your business growth.
Passive customers (those choosing 7-8)
This group feel neither one way nor the other about your service. They didn’t have a terrible time but are more likely to be swayed by competitors in the future.
Promoters (those who score their CX between 9-10)
Promoters are those who are happy with their experience. They not only feel good but are likely to recommend your business to others. These are the people who advocate for your business and share their positive experience with others.
Making the most of your NPS data
As helpful as these scores can be, you’re still missing out on the details if NPS is your only CX measurement technique. If your Net Promoter Score isn’t supported by further insight, you can’t be sure what you need to change or how.
Even if you do break your NPS up by category, a score of 2 for ‘contact centre experience’, for example, is not particularly helpful. Was the operator seen as rude? Did the customer feel rushed? Were they given incorrect information? You need further insight.
Asking people for more information will enable you to action meaningful change to put CX at the core of your business.
Include free-text boxes for people to input their experiences and feelings. Remember, numerical scores may be easy and efficient, but they do not reflect emotion. Failing to capture this is a huge error and where many businesses fall down.
Once you have generated and measured your feedback, you need to take action. Often a business will collect reams of CX data but struggle to put all of this into action.
Pockets and silos are the elements that make up your business. Each silo contributes to the overall customer journey. In order to create an effective CX strategy, these silos need to connect.
If you oversee a particular silo, where is this area of the business placed in the customer journey? How does this link with the previous and subsequent steps? If everyone in a company considers their department in terms of the wider customer journey, CX will improve.
To break down silos, road-mapping is vital. You can only communicate effectively as a business when you understand how customers interact with you, what their expectations are and how they anticipate those to be fulfilled.
A road-map will show you how customers interact with your business. You will identify every touchpoint. Visualising your touchpoints will reveal the complete user experience from every angle.
Only at this point, can you begin to put CX at the core of your business strategy, positioning the customer at the forefront of your decision-making.
Understand your personas
It can be useful to think about touchpoints in terms of personas. Many companies fall short at this point. You need to consider age, gender, geography etc, but also think about deeper factors such as personal values, morality, community and past experiences.
This rigorous approach to persona road-mapping facilitates more valuable action and consequently helps to drive business growth.
Put simply, a fully integrated CX system will not work unless everyone is plugged in across the business. That’s why individual CX KPIs don’t work. These very personal goals fail to create fundamentals that will benefit the whole business.
If a whole business benefits from mutual KPIs, these will trickle down and impact the performance of each individual. Every employee is given the opportunity to improve under the umbrella of ultimate business-growth.
Your customer experience is only as good as your weakest link. The whole company is responsible for championing good CX, not just those on the frontline. Operators need to be prepared, ready for every call, message and referral. But the entire company must be ready to translate feedback into solutions.
When considering contact centre KPIs, we might suggest choosing a KPI that says, ‘Do whatever it takes to delight your customers’ over one that states, ‘Each operator must spend no more than 3 minutes per telephone call or interaction.’ The former gives operators more opportunity to resolve an issue. By fulfilling their emotional needs, customers are more likely to become business advocates.
How do you find out which CX KPIs will best suit your business? The simple answer: spend time with the people who speak to your customers.
If everyone is responsible for customer experience, you need to find out what your operators think.
Consider asking open questions such as:
What are the main barriers preventing you from doing the best job you can?
How often do you find customers becoming frustrated? Why do you think that is?
Do you have enough information, or could your team be better resourced?
You will begin to elicit emotive responses, which we already know are highly valuable in the CX field. These responses will then improve your strategy.
Some operators might not be confident to come forward and answer direct questions. But spend some time in your contact centre and you’ll start to get a feel for those common issues and successes that arise over time.
James Hughes, Group Head of Solutions at Sabio, discusses the importance of making sure your CX infrastructure is both robust and optimised. Long-term success depends on the quality of the underpinning network services and infrastructure.
There are several reasons why more businesses are choosing to host their CX services on the Cloud:
The Cloud provides higher levels of security than on-premise solutions. This enables businesses to have better data protection.
Cloud CX systems will save your business money. The Cloud is relatively inexpensive to implement and will remove the cost of physical on-premise servers.
When all of your data sits on one Cloud platform, customers can expect a frictionless user experience when interacting with your contact centre. Operators can view a customer’s entire history with your business to contextualise each interaction.
The Cloud enables all departments, including those located remotely, to communicate effectively. This will improve collaboration across your whole business.
Cloud CX platforms include various digital solutions that contribute towards a seamless experience. The Sabio CX Cloud system is integrated with chat, voice and messaging solutions.
The most effective Cloud CX solutions occur when everybody in the business is on board, from top to bottom and across every department. This positive attitude was adopted by everyone at insurer DAS UK, a specialist legal expenses insurer, who implemented the Sabio Cloud CX platform to improve their customer experience.
“Sabio Cloud CX platform is a smart move”
DAS UK, a specialist legal expenses insurer, employed the Sabio Cloud CX platform. They used the Cloud to introduce new customer services and to aid the migration of on-premise systems to a digital space.
The Cloud platform provides comprehensive contact centre support and back-office user support. The solution also promotes workforce optimisation, including call recording and quality monitoring, workforce management and speech analytics.
Russell Levan, Group Head of Information Technology at DAS UK Group, said:
“Transitioning our CX infrastructure to the hosted Sabio Cloud CX platform is a smart move for us as it gives us access to the latest best-of-breed CX technology and tools while taking advantage of Sabio’s secure, resilient and highly available cloud infrastructure services…
Adopting this approach means we get to work with a single responsible technology partner, while still unlocking ongoing savings and benefiting from even greater levels of service and operational efficiency.”
It can be really rewarding to build your own Virtual Assistant from the ground up. However, before you take on a lengthy DIY project, consider these points from Paul Conlin, Principal Solution Manager – Digital at Sabio.
When engineered well, VAs can be extremely valuable in terms of business growth. A successful Virtual Assistant can:
Deliver quick answers to users
Provide easy assistance to those trying to locate an answer on a website
Use speech and text analytics to direct users to appropriate content
Respond empathetically by identifying emotional keywords and sentiment
Understand nuanced speech and text
Recognise the user if they are logged in, connecting to historic information
Provide an end-to-end service.
When your VA is constructed with the user in mind and powered by a database of learnt language, users can expect a satisfying customer journey.
‘You are now connected with an operator’… or are you?
Is your VA disguised as a person? If so, it’s a good time to re-think your approach. If a business fails to openly disclose the nature of a chat bot, customers might think they are engaging with a real person. As such, they will feed the bot more complicated information that it can’t compute.
Typically, bots cannot process more than 1-2 pieces of information in each message. They struggle to identify large or complex pieces of text. If you’re not explicit that you’re using a chat bot, people will become frustrated and disconnect from the service.
Be sure to keep your customers in the loop. You could provide an instructional video to explain how to phrase a question or list the sorts of keywords and phrases your VA can understand. Examples of questions that will produce successful results can also help a user to have a better experience.
I thought we had history? Customer tracking tips
When integrating digital solutions with your CX system, it’s important to think about tracking and information retention.
Customer history can be invaluable. It provides a great time saver for both your customers and your business. It is important to ‘remember’ a customer’s history, no matter what device or channel they’re using. This is known as an omnichannel approach.
The omnichannel approach enables contact centre operators to see a single customer view. Operators know, for example, what an individual bought and when and how many times they have made contact. With all the information and context available in one place, operators can provide a seamless, friction-free user experience.
A successful omnichannel approach will:
Connect all silos. Ideally, the customer is not aware that a number of departments are involved behind the scenes.
Bear the customer journey in mind. Before adding any new channels, take the time to map the journey to ensure that new channels integrate successfully.
Make existing services smarter. This doesn’t necessarily mean investing in brand new infrastructure. For example, implementing predictive intelligence to bridge the gap between your digital channels and your contact centre can be all it takes to help you refine the customer journey.
Adapt. CX expectations evolve over time. Consider these changes when reviewing your CX strategy.
Don’t forget your social media strategy
There’s no getting away from it, social media plays a big part in how people perceive your business. It’s also a really easy way to contact a business.
Customers will not find themselves in a queue on social media channels. They definitely won’t have to pay a call charge. And the transparency of a public forum guarantees they’ll get a response.
As such, your business requires a social media CX strategy to collect, measure and respond to incoming messages.
Being open and honest on social media will increase positive customer sentiment. This was certainly the case when KFC owned up and apologised during their rather ironic chicken shortage in February 2018. They were praised for their honesty and humour. They improved public sentiment, turning people who might have been detractors into promoters.
Putting CX at the forefront of your business strategy will delight customers and help your business to grow.
We believe that customer experience should be brilliant. Every time somebody engages with your business they are going on a journey. Sabio works with businesses to make sure that journey is great every time.
The journey to exemplary CX can be challenging but it is achievable. You can also benefit from quick wins. Download the PDF below, full of simple ideas to improve your customer experience strategy today.