Why customer experience is business critical

Despite the constant buzz around customer experience over the past few years, it’s never really been afforded the credence it deserves by many business sectors. However, customer experience consultancy Walker predicts this is about to change, with customer experience set to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020.  The only surprise here should be that it’s taken this long – superior customer experience drives brand advocacy which is vital in the ever-competitive landscape we live in.

The cost of bad experiences

In a world where people are more likely to share negative experiences than positive ones, customer experience can truly make or break a business. According to research by Populus, 25 per cent of customers will defect after just one bad experience.

It’s no longer enough to provide the best product or service, because many prospects won’t ever become customers if they’re put off by the experience of getting to know you. In a world where competitors are offering similar services and targeting the same customers, businesses need to stand out by offering an exceptional experience for the customer.

While there are many factors involved in ensuring customer interactions are positive, here are some tips for improving the customer experience

1. Provide a tailored customer experience

It’s vital you have an in-depth knowledge of your customers’ needs, the challenges they’re facing, what they are shopping for and how they are using your product or service. Using analytical tools and a solid Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system will provide you with all of this information at your fingertips so that you can personalise the experience for individual customers, adding real value for the individual.

2. Be consistent

The customer journey spans a progression of touchpoints, and you need to deliver an excellent experience at every stage of the customer interaction. It’s therefore vital to define the look and feel of your customer journey and ensure all employees have the necessary tools to provide a consistently strong customer experience. Whether it’s sales, marketing or service, customers should have the same answer and interaction across the board.

3. Harness evolving technology

Truly knowing your customers and understanding how digital transformation can change the way you interact with them is central to delivering an excellent customer experience. The constant evolution of technology provides new opportunities to rethink time-worn processes. Where once businesses only had basic customer information at their disposal, the proliferation of channels and devices available means companies can build a 360-degree view of the customer. New technologies are enabling businesses to create complete customer profiles that help understand and measure customer behaviours across multiple channels, giving employees the information they need to deliver a truly superior customer experience.

4. Position GDPR as an opportunity

Customer experience is undoubtedly crucial for the future success of your business and with GDPR now upon us, the time has never been better to revaluate your customer journey. You’ll have already contacted your customers to justify why and how you obtained their data and the ways it’s being used. At the time you may have seen it as a burden, but GDPR can be used to a business advantage as the more insight that can be gained on the customer, the more tailored and personalised the experience will be.

In an ever-competitive marketplace, customer experience has become the key differentiator. Businesses need to utilise all the benefits new technologies can bring, as well as harnessing the opportunity GDPR compliance can offer. This is the time for businesses to increase customer satisfaction and brand advocacy by delivering a great experience. Ultimately, success comes from providing a customer experience that is significantly better than the competition at every touchpoint and businesses that don’t embrace this will fall behind.