Equantiis

Five ways organisations can improve customer experience

Alistair Sergeant
Alistair Sergeant

Customer experience (CX), is now a primary factor in attracting and retaining clients, with 89% of consumers willing to pay more for a superior experience. Indeed, organisations are increasingly prioritising CX over other core aspects like product quality and pricing, upon recognising its pivotal role in securing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Understanding customer experience

Customer experience encompasses all the interactions that people have with your organisation throughout their complete journey. This includes initial awareness of and engagement with your brand, any ongoing interactions and, potentially, the culmination of their relationship with you.

A positive customer experience is characterised by ease of use, high-quality service and effective communication, not to mention a personalised approach that meets or exceeds expectations. In order to attain this, leaders must ensure that they understand their target audiences fully, addressing and continuously improving upon all aspects of their interactions to create lasting, positive impressions and enduring relationships that contribute to long-term success.

Reasons to invest in CX.

Multiple research sources have stated that customers are more likely to share negative experiences with others than they are a positive opinion. This is perhaps because expectations of great customer service and experience are now such an integral part of the way we interact that anything that falls short of this immediately stands out as a red flag, as it simultaneously becomes increasingly difficult to stand out for the right reasons.

It is therefore more important than ever to try to keep customers satisfied. Delighted customers become your brand advocates, positively influencing your reputation and potential for future client acquisition.

More importantly, however, satisfied customers are more likely to stay. It costs approximately six times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep existing ones happy, so it’s important to do all you can to prevent churn. Indeed, just one in 26 customers will complain to you directly, whilst the others will just up and leave, so prevention is definitely better than the cure. This is more so the case when you consider the widespread impact that negative word of mouth could have, with 13% of unhappy customers sharing their opinions with 15 or more people – the knock-on effect that this can have on future custom becoming even greater when unfavourable reviews make their way online for all to see.

So, what can organisations do to drive better CX?

  1. Invest in digital for a smooth, omnichannel service

As customers increasingly engage with brands in digital spaces, organisations must align their digital presence with their physical one.

Organisations must therefore ensure that their digital platforms are swift and responsive, providing easy access to the desired information and services. Indeed, just a two-second increase in page loading speed is enough to increase your bounce rate and, if this speed reaches five seconds in total, it could drive up to 90% of customers away.

However, investing in these digital experiences alone is not enough. In the age of multi-channel engagement, delivering seamless CX and consistent communications across all touchpoints is equally as paramount. This is not to say that customers should expect exactly the same service from each means of interaction, but they should still get a coherent impression of your brand and values, whether contacting your organisation via email, social media, chat or in person.

Embracing omni-channel service ensures that consumers can engage with you on their own terms, in their own time, making their overall experience with your organisation more convenient overall, whatever their personal preferences may be. A shining example of a company that does this well is IKEA, which managed to secure $40 billion in worldwide revenue growth as a result of investment in uniform service across all of its channels. This would not have been possible without the right digital management tools to back the furniture giant up.

The scale of the success that can be achieved simply by streamlining communication via digital services perhaps explains why 80% of companies are now looking into omnichannel services for their customers vs. just 20% back in 2010.

  1. Embrace AI

Of course, a major facet in providing the abovementioned streamlined communication is a constant, consistent point of contact with your organisation. AI chatbots and virtual assistants are one of the convenient and most affordable ways of making this possible, although many leaders do not take it into consideration, erroneously believing that algorithms lack a personal touch.

However, almost three quarters (67%) of all customers would actually prefer self-service to speaking to a human representative where possible and 91% would use an online knowledge base if it were available and capable of meeting their unique needs. As such, there is definitely a market for the instantaneous, low-effort customer service engagement offered by AI. Indeed, if used correctly alongside other means of communication, it can become an indispensable tool for delivering impeccable service with instant responses and exceptional consistency.

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of a good CRM

Beyond a digitised repository for contact information, customer relationship management (CRM) systems yield substantial returns. In fact, according to Nucleus Research, organisations make an average return of $8.71 for every dollar invested in one.

CRMs transcend mere data storage to organise and orchestrate information, monitor interactions, and deliver actionable insights. They allow for personalised marketing and proactive issue resolution, also facilitating the anticipation of customer needs. When the information at your fingertips is leveraged correctly, this translates into personalised customer experiences and tailored interactions based on data-driven insights. This not only increases satisfaction, but boosts potential interactions and uptake, too.

Moreover, the use of a CRM can facilitate more efficient issue resolution, reducing customer frustration by ensuring that the relevant information is readily available across departments. Likewise, CRMs promote timely follow-ups, automating processes like regular communications to ensure swift and caring customer interactions for better, loyal relationships. Indeed, the data-driven insights that can be generated via a centralised CRM can also be used to streamline communication, improving decision-making whilst conveying a consistent, reliable image that generates loyalty through trust.

Finally, a CRM system facilitates more accurate product and service suggestions based on consumer history and preferences, resulting in more cross-sales and up-sales opportunities. They enhance customer retention by nurturing more timely, relevant communications and making it possible to extend personalised offers. It’s a boon for marketing campaigns, too, allowing more precise targeting through segmentation and increasing the likelihood of a positive response.

  1. Stakeholder support

Effective organisations must also ensure comprehensive buy-in from all their stakeholders, including investors, decision-makers, leaders, employees and volunteers, to ensure their customer engagement endeavours are a success. Securing commitment and collaboration is paramount to the efficacy of CX initiatives, as it guarantees alignment across the organisation, mitigating the risk of failure due to a lack of investment, uptake or dissonance.

When stakeholders understand and are aligned with customer needs, they are more likely to make decisions and provide services that prioritise customer satisfaction. Moreover, well-supported employees are better equipped to handle customer enquiries and resolve issues promptly. Indeed, satisfied and supported employees also tend to be more engaged and motivated, with a positive attitude and commitment that translates into better service for and interactions with customers overall. As such, training is equally as important as technology when it comes to boosting customer experience.

  1. First-party feedback loop

Finally, any organisation looking to secure delighted customers must be prepared to act upon client feedback. It’s like a personalised roadmap for CX enhancement, whereby effectively integrating opinions and reviews into your strategic decision-making will allow you to refine products, services and interactions in line with real-time customer expectations.

The takeaway message

Organisations need to know their customers well and provide a positive experience if they are to stand out and gain loyalty. Digital tools, CRMs and data management and analysis programmes can make a world of difference when it comes to garnering this understanding but, likewise, investing in training and taking the time to explain decisions in whole team meetings is a great way of getting all stakeholders on board to ensure your mission is a success.

Interested in finding out more?

Equantiis is committed to helping our clients achieve their maximum potential by optimising their processes and technology. Contact a member of our team today to book an initial consultation.

 

 

Share this article

More about the author

Alistair Sergeant
Alistair Sergeant CEO

As CEO of Equantiis, his main focus is on strategic leadership and growth within the business whilst working through new opportunities that support this. Alistair manages client relationships so that they can benefit from his experience and knowledge. He thrives on leading a disruptive business that works with business leaders to identify and overcome complex business challenges, with cost certainty and transformative outcomes. Alistair is passionate about anything outdoors. Including running, camping and travelling with the family.