A key priority for business leaders is to get their customer experience strategy right, providing them a distinct edge in a highly competitive market. According to Gartner's customer experience survey, 86% of brands compete on customer experience in the market.
Today, customers have easy access to ratings, reviews, and detailed market information. They are in a position to make informed choices to solve their needs. However, to attract, engage, and retain them, companies need to understand these evolving customer buying journeys and adapt to them.
Just being customer-centric is not enough. Companies must define a robust customer experience strategy that drives revenue, growth, and profits.
Wondering how to create a customer experience strategy? This blog will explain customer experience strategies, the CX roadmap, and the best practices for creating a powerful CX strategy to help your company succeed in the market.
What is a customer experience (CX) strategy?
Customer experience is the sum of all experiences gained by a customer across their interactions with a company. It includes all communications they are likely to receive from the moment they discover your brand to ultimately purchasing your product.
A customer experience strategy is a planned approach to conceptualizing, organizing, and improving customer experience to meet business goals. It includes carefully-crafted plans to improve customer interactions across multiple functions, such as:
- Market research
- Competitor intelligence
- Consumer behavior
- Social media
- Digital marketing
- Customer service
Why does customer experience matter?
Customer experience is a key focus area for companies as it significantly reduces customer churn and positively impacts a company’s bottom line.
Every action by a brand influences the customer's perception of your company. But why exactly does customer experience matter so much?
Customer experience drives growth
74% of leaders agree that customer experience significantly impacts brand loyalty.
Happy customers are loyal to a brand, leave glowing reviews, and spread word-of-mouth marketing — which is exactly what every business wants.
Keeping up with the competition is integral
Research from Walker confirms that a great customer experience is the number one thing that customers want from a company. In fact, price and product quality come much later on their wishlists.
In a crowded marketplace, customer experience can make or break a brand. If you don't keep up with customers' evolving needs, they'll switch to your competitor.
Increase the customer lifetime value
Customer lifetime value is the total money spent by a single customer during their association with a brand.
Customers are essential intangible assets for a company. However, the customer lifetime value needs to increase consistently for the company to grow and profit.
Creating and implementing a carefully-planned customer experience strategy can increase the number of loyal customers and their lifetime value to the company.
Reduce customer churn
Many companies struggle to retain customers. While controlling customer churn sounds challenging, companies need to prioritize it.
Research from Bain & Company states that even a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25% to 95%.
Customers feel valued when companies genuinely care about them and go the extra mile to deliver a fantastic customer experience. This helps build strong customer relationships and increases their loyalty to the brand.
How does customer experience impact sales?
Delivering a great customer experience is the foundation for sustainable business growth. Here are a few compelling customer experience statistics that highlight this fact:
- 74% of customers switch brands if they encounter a complex buying process
- 32% of consumers change brands after having one bad experience
Customer experiences never stop, whether you're proactively managing them or not. Brands deliver customer experiences with every social media post, email campaign, in-store merchandising choice, customer service call, text message, or paid marketing initiative.
It is important to note whether the experience is positive or negative. Is it bringing prospects close to making a purchase or driving them away from one?
What makes a great customer experience?
A great customer experience happens when delighting customers is the number one priority for all employees. Every customer touchpoint, channel, and platform has only one goal — to exceed customer needs in every interaction.
You must train all employees in customer-facing roles to adopt a customer-centric approach to ensure a seamless execution across the organization.
Personalization has a significant impact on the bottom line of any business. According to a survey by customer data platform Segment, 49% of buyers say they make impulse purchases when they receive personalized attention from a company.
71% of customers expect brands to personalize their customer experiences, while 44% of customers become repeat buyers after receiving a personalized experience.
Limited pain points
Delivering a good customer experience is not rocket science. One of the easiest ways to do it is by simply asking customers what they want. By minimizing friction in the customer journey, companies can help customers and make them happy.
Think about the last time you got frustrated as a customer. If your favorite coffee shop doesn't maintain its quality every time you visit them, that's a cause for concern. A regular customer who has started expecting a certain level of service may never visit again.
Customer experience strategies must maintain uniformity across time, locations, and products.
Great customer service
Providing exceptional customer service is not a one-time task. Delivering amazing customer service is also not the responsibility of any single department but the collective duty of all teams.
Prioritize customer service from day one. Let your customer support team know that your brand's core goal is to deliver a world-class customer experience. This way, they'll work towards the same goal — delighting customers.
Train your staff regularly on how to be customer-centric. Provide direct feedback and give them the freedom to develop creative resolutions to customer issues.
How to create and develop a CX strategy and roadmap
Follow this step-by-step plan to build a CX strategy that’ll be useful for any industry:
Create customer personas
Designing a customer experience strategy can be hard if you don't know who your customers are. You need to have a fair idea about who your ideal customer is and what they want. But how can you do that?
Start by building two to five detailed customer personas. A customer persona describes your ideal customer, including their demographic profile, likes, preferences, behaviors, and pain points.
By creating different personas, brands can target various customer segments within their overall target market. Here are some of the criteria you can use to segment your customers:
- Demographic information: Age, income, gender, language, occupation, education
- Geography: City of residence, place of work, state, country
- Psychographic information: Goals, desires, preferences, likes, dislikes, values, lifestyle choices
- Behavior patterns: Time and frequency of purchase, amount spent, product variant purchased
Take for example a company that sells software as a service (SaaS). This company will have customers across geographies with different subscription plans based on their requirements.
Teams can interview prospective customers to identify these meaningful details and outline customer personas for their brand. This helps companies gain a deeper understanding of their key customer segments so they can cater to them in the best way possible.
Develop a stakeholder management plan
Implementing a CX strategy becomes easier when all stakeholders agree. Involve all departments directly working on the product and those in customer-facing roles. Get their suggestions and feedback on the customer experience strategy. Identify their individual needs and interests before you nudge them towards the same goals.
Talk to any teams that are less supportive to understand their concerns. Then, create an appropriate stakeholder plan to address their issues with the CX strategy. Set up a mass outreach channel to keep all teams aware of the latest updates.
Map the existing customer experience
Once customer needs and stakeholders' expectations are clear, review the existing customer experience. Employees must think and behave like customers to understand the customer buying journey.
A customer buying journey is a process that a customer goes through, from discovering a product to purchasing it. It includes five stages:
- Awareness: A customer discovers a product for the first time
- Consideration: The customer realizes that they need a product and consider your company’s product as an option
- Purchase: The customer purchases the company’s product or service
- Retention: The customer becomes a repeat buyer of a company’s products
- Advocacy: A happy customer spreads the word, leading to more sales and new customers
Review your existing customer segments to see any patterns in usage, spending, or preferences. Is a specific customer segment churning more frequently? Are in-store conversions more effective than paid advertising on social media? Evaluate customer feelings and responses at every touchpoint to see how they can be served better.
Map out and plan future experiences
There isn’t a customer experience strategy that will work for every company. Use these tips as a starting point to plan out your CX strategy:
- Prioritize customer listening: 51% of marketers use social listening tools to learn what customers want. When a company prioritizes customer listening, it sends a strong signal to the entire team that customer-centricity is supreme.
- Train your staff in the best practices: Research shows that customers feel frustrated when dealing with employees who do not understand what they need. Train your staff on how to deal with customers.
- Focus on reducing friction: Long customer service wait times are the number one deal-breaker for customers. Ask employees to engage with customers and drive prompt resolutions. Establish internal CX strategy guidelines that outline specific KPIs and behaviors that should be emulated to reduce friction in customer interactions.
- Be flexible: Analyze customer feedback and include key insights in the customer experience action plan. Consider including customer suggestions, even if they are very different from what your team had thought of doing.
Invest in the right software and tools
Research by Groovv states that over one million people view tweets about customer service every week — and roughly 80% of those tweets are negative. However, brands that respond to customer complaints on social media gain a 25% rise in customer advocacy.
Power your customer experience by using CX software. Apart from providing real-time information on your customers, these tools can also generate meaningful insights and reports.
CX software can be used by companies to manage their digital customer experiences. It is especially useful for managing customers located across different time zones. It can also be employed to deliver personalized responses to customer feedback on social media.
Measure customer experience metrics
Measuring the results of your CX strategy is essential to:
- Find out if it is successful and has achieved the desired goals
- Know if it is generating a meaningful impact
- Discover ideas for improvement
Sometimes, teams struggle to explain how customer experience drives business growth. The easiest way to do this is to set up and track key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure customer experience.
A customer experience metric is a value used to measure the customer experience of a product or service. Consider these CX metrics to define and measure the customer experience for your product:
- Net promoter score (NPS): NPS is the probability that a customer will refer your product to their friends, family, and peers.
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): A customer satisfaction score measures a customer's satisfaction with a product or service.
- Churn rate: Churn rate refers to the percentage of customers that stop using a product or service. This metric is primarily used by companies with recurring payments or subscriptions.
- Conversion rate: Conversion rate is the percentage of customers undertaking the desired action to purchase a product.
Find the customer experience metrics appropriate for your brand and industry and track them regularly.
Incorporate customer feedback for further improvement
Studies have shown that 96% of customers do not communicate their dissatisfaction to the company, but they will personally share it with up to 15 of their peers.
No company wants its customers to be unhappy. Poor word-of-mouth feedback can stall business growth. It’s critical to collect customer feedback, generate meaningful insights, and act on them.
Pick a customer feedback method that works for your product, whether that’s in-app surveys, email questionnaires, or online forms. Consider public reviews and social media posts and scan the web for mentions. Uncover customer pain points and close the loop by resolving open issues.
CX strategy examples
When we talk of customer experience, Amazon has to be on the list.
Its founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says: “I would define Amazon by our big ideas, which are customer centricity, putting the customer at the center of everything we do, [and] invention. We like to pioneer, we like to explore, we like to go down dark alleys and see what's on the other side.”
Some of the customer service strategies adopted by Amazon include:
- Keeping the customer at the center of all corporate initiatives. Amazon’s vision is “to be the earth’s most customer-centric company.”
- Building a strong focus on customer listening into their corporate culture. Every new hire attends two-day call-center training that teaches them how to listen to their customers. Listening is the first step to understanding customers.
- Providing self-service that today’s customers want. According to Harvard Business Review, 81% of customers prefer resolving issues themselves instead of reaching out to a customer care representative. Amazon has created an easy interface where users can quickly find what they need.
How to create a flawless customer experience strategy with Wrike
There is no such thing as one perfect CX strategy. Your customer experience strategy must constantly evolve along with your business goals.
Designing a customer experience for your product can be a messy process. If you start with a focus on delivering the most exceptional experience for your customers, you’re already halfway there.
A great customer experience begins with a seamless end-to-end work management program such as Wrike. Get initiatives off the ground quickly with campaign templates, view progress with team Kanban boards, and delight your customers with on-time deliveries.
Get a free Wrike trial to track multiple projects, keep all stakeholders in the loop, and simplify your workflows to deliver exceptional customer experiences every time.