As more competition arises, customers have access to a wider variety of businesses thanks to the ease of online searches. As competition becomes more fierce and niche, one strategy will maximize customer retention, conversions, and profits: customer experience enhancement.
Customer experience enhancement, or CX enhancement, is crucial to any successful business plan today. Customers have too easy access to too many options. If they are happy with you, they’ll stay. But if they aren’t, competitors are just a Google search away. It’s not enough to have a good product; your customers need to have a pleasant, nay, fun experience with you to make them want to come back.
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Customer experience is defined as all the interactions and experiences a customer has with your company, from first contact to becoming a loyal customer and beyond. It’s how they feel every time they visit your website, order a product, see an ad, open an email, call customer service, etc. You get it. If they interact with your brand in any way, it falls under customer experience.
To put it simply, people do things that are easy and that they enjoy. Emphasizing customer experience enhancement knocks out both these birds with one stone. It makes interacting with your brand simpler while also making it enjoyable. Customers will have more positive interactions, leading them to look forward to interacting with your brand vs. only doing it when needed. This will lead to more traffic, conversions, sales, and profits.
Don’t take my word for it; let the numbers talk.
Yup, you read that last one right. Companies that prioritize improving their customer experience can see their revenue double. Investing in customer experience enhancement will help your company boost conversions, increase customer retention rate, and improve customer loyalty.
Customers who have a better experience on your website will be more inclined to click through to new pages, sign up for newsletters, receive product news, follow you on social media, and make more purchases. It’ll boost the conversion rate of all the actions you want your customer to take.
Customers enjoying themselves are much more likely to take the actions you want and make more purchases. Customers who have an excellent experience spend 140% more than those who have a terrible experience. A lot of that is due to cross-selling and upselling. If customers have a good experience, they will be more open to buying complimentary products and upgrades. If a customer buys a new phone case and they have a good experience, they might also be interested in purchasing a recommended phone stand, pop socket, or headphones. 42% of businesses that plan to invest in CX enhancement want to increase cross-selling and upselling, thereby increasing their average order value, customer loyalty, and profits.
We all know the old stat that it’s ten times more expensive to get a new customer than keep an old one. You have to win a new customer over, but you just have to keep a current customer happy. Many businesses recognize this, as 33% of companies investing in CX enhancement do so to improve customer retention. We all love getting new customers. It’s a sign of achievement and growth, but keeping the old ones is just as, if not more, essential to growth.
Enhancing your customer experience will help keep more customers happy and on board. If a customer has a bad experience, there’s a 43% chance they will leave you for a competitor within the next year. Meanwhile, customers with a great experience have a 74% chance of remaining a customer a year from now. While it isn’t as flashy as new customers, they’ll be more open to cross-selling and upselling when making a purchase, increasing your average order value (AOV) and your customer lifetime value (CLTV).
Enhancing the customer experience will make the prospect of looking at your competition seem alien and like too much work. As customers stay with you longer, they’ll form a deeper relationship with you and become loyal customers. They love your products & services and know how to navigate your website like the back of their hand. They probably engage with your social media posts and read all your emails. They love and identify with your brand. 33% of companies investing in customer experience enhancement are motivated by increasing this deep customer satisfaction. An enhanced CX experience helps create loyal customers who will talk about your brand to others, essentially becoming free brand ambassadors. After all, word of mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising.
You get it now; customer experience is vital to growth and success. Not only that, but many companies are investing in CX enhancement, so if you aren’t jumping on board, you’ll get left behind. But how do you get started? We’ve got 16 strategies to enhance your customer experience:
It all starts here, knowing who your customer is and understanding their needs. In a world full of incredibly niche products and highly personalized marketing, it’s essential to understand your customers’ needs and what appeals to them, not just sending the message you want to put out. To understand your customer, you need to:
Researching who needs your service and would be interested in your brand is always the first step to understanding your customers. Looking at data and conducting interviews will give you a good starting point before testing your audience’s needs.
Your customer service team’s sole function is to interact with your customers, giving them a unique insight into your customers’ mindset. They know their frustrations, pain points, and what helps solve their problems. More than that, they want to help make customers happier, which makes their jobs easier. Getting the input of your customer service team can help you identify the most significant problems your customers face and what potential solutions are.
Customers share their thoughts and feelings online; all you have to do is seek them out and listen by responding to reviews and compiling them. Listening will help you understand what your customers appreciate and what doesn’t work for them.
User personas are a fundamental part of marketing and will help you craft the best experience for your customers. Once you’ve learned about your customers, you can find trends and create general personas for the different types of customers you cater to. That way, everyone in your team can refer to it to understand where a customer is coming from, what they need, and how to help them.
Once you understand your customers, the next step is to appeal to them at a deep emotional level. It’s not enough to have a quality product with a recognizable logo. There needs to be an emotional draw to your brand. You know you’re still drawn to the brand of soap you used as a kid or the make of your first car. They mean something to you.
Emotions are the driving force in our decision-making, so it’s no surprise that 50% of an experience with a brand comes from the emotion we’ve attached to it. Companies that recognize this and appeal to the emotions of their customers perform 85% better than companies that don’t. There are two ways to create an emotional appeal to your audience, to develop messaging around a core motivation for them or to connect with customers personally.
You must understand what drives your customers to create an emotionally appealing message. Nike wants to appeal to athletes who want to go out and leave it all on the court, hence their “Just Do It” tagline. Customers turn to Nike because they know Nike shares their value of taking action and performing at their best.
On the other hand, Zappos is known for its excellent customer service. One of their classic stories is of a woman who was late returning a pair of shoes because her mother had passed away. When the company learned of the story, they gave her a full refund for the shoes and shipped them back at no cost. Not only that, but they sent her flowers the next day to offer their condolences. Similarly, the online pet retailer Chewy will send condolence notes when they hear your pet passes away. I apologize for all the references to death here, but I think you see my point. These companies have no obligation to do or say anything, but they try to recognize the importance of giving in customer relationships. These companies show support during difficult times because they care about their customers. Actions like these will keep your customers around for a very long time.
When customers look at a brand, they expect consistency. That starts with having clear, concise, consistent messaging. Returning customers want to know what to expect when they land on one of your web pages or social media channels, while new customers want to learn quickly and easily what you offer, so they leave your website with answers, not questions.
Clarity is the most crucial aspect of branded content. If your message is ambiguous, your customers and potential customers will get confused and leave. The best thing you can do is stick to the fundamentals:
Once you know what you are trying to convey, keep it brief. The human attention span is getting shorter and shorter; customers want to get all their necessary information at a glance. To enhance the user experience, keep your messaging as straightforward as possible. The more words and space you use to get your message across, the more likely the user will get confused and frustrated. A great customer experience comes with getting the information they want in a quick, easy-to-digest format.
If a customer sees one message in an email and another on an Instagram post, they will likely get confused (I know, I’ve said it a lot, but it’s true, that’s what happens). So, you have your short, direct message, now stick to it. Stick to specific phrases and themes across channels, campaigns, and time, so your message is engrained into your customer’s brain. It may seem repetitive to repeat the same phrases and message over time, but customers want to see consistency in messaging so they know what value you provide and what your priorities are.
The messaging, emotional pull, and knowledge of your customer are all incredibly important, foundational actually, but we have got to mention a few technical aspects here. These days, customers demand a seamless website experience, and that means not waiting for pages to load. Page speed is incredibly vital to not just customer experience, but also your website health.
Customers expect desktop and mobile webpages (we’ll get to mobile in just a second) to load fast. Within about three seconds, to be precise. After that, you’ll lose 40% of the people visiting your website. Even if they don’t leave the page, they will be much less likely to convert. Pages that load in two seconds or less have the highest conversion rate. Then, the conversion rate drops by two percent with every additional second the page takes to load.
Google understands as well as anyone the importance of web page speed, which is why they’ve made it a significant factor in their ranking algorithm. Google wants customers to have a great experience on the websites they recommend, and they see that if a website takes too long to load, they leave and go to a different website. Users stay on web pages that load quickly and convert more, so to provide the best user experience, Google ranks web pages that load quickly over sites that don’t. So having a fast-loading website affects your customer experience, and because Google sees it, it also impacts your search engine ranking. Optimizing page speed by reducing image size, removing unnecessary code, and limiting redirects will help pages load faster, much to your customers and Google’s liking.
Our top-tier developers are experts at optimizing your code and improving your website’s loading speed. See how they can help your company’s website speed.
One more technical tip to improve customer experience, I promise. But these two are biggies. We’ve seen page speed’s importance, but mobile optimization might be just as important.
How your website loads on a mobile device is easy to forget but to keep up with this digital world, you can’t afford to. Globally, 59% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. So not only should you optimize your website for mobile use, more customers are going to your website on a mobile device than on a desktop. If anything, you should probably prioritize it over desktop performance. This isn’t a flash in the pan or a pandemic-related trend either. Mobile searches have been steadily increasing for years. And who can blame users? As web searches have improved on mobile devices, it’s become more convenient to quickly search on your phone and then slip it back into your pocket.
But users aren’t just searching for and opening websites on mobile devices; they’re interacting with them and even making purchases. Purchases made on mobile devices, known as m-commerce, currently generate $312 billion and are expected to grow to $700B by 2025. As a percentage, 40% of all eCommerce now takes place over mobile devices. To add on, 80% of smartphone users have made a purchase on their device within the last six months. Ensuring that your website looks good, functions well, and fits mobile devices is key to improving the customer experience. Sometimes they’ll want to visit you on a desktop, but they’ll also want to have as good, or an even better, experience on a mobile device.
It feels like it should go without saying, but we all need a reminder. We get so caught up in what we want a product to be or how we think a website should look that we forget that it’s not for us. It’s for the customers. What matters is that they get what they need from it and have a good experience. Putting your pride and vision of the brand aside and product to listen and implement what your customers tell you works through their reviews and actions is crucial to growing and evolving. This isn’t easy and requires control and restraint, but it is easier if you have research and *cough* customer personas to fall back on.
Customers likely aren’t just engaging you on one channel but across channels. They get emails, follow your social media channels, visit your website, and talk to your customer service team. They even will start a task in one channel and finish it in another. Because of this trend, a large part of enhancing your customer experience is to create a seamless experience between channels, where their information and activity are stored not just in one channel but in all of them. 42% of customers see a consistent experience across channels as a top priority. They want to contact you through any medium and have the same experience that they would on another. This means two things: investing in the channels your audience will use and keeping everything unified and consistent across channels.
Yes, different channels have different purposes, a customer won’t expect to look at lots of photos on Twitter or read newsletters on Instagram, but they do want to base message and experience to be the same. Again, knowing your audience helps make these decisions easy. If your audience consists of moms who are 35-55, you probably don’t need to have a heavy TikTok presence. You might want to have a strong Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest presence and a solid email strategy. Then you take all the stored information from each platform and keep it in one place, so Stacy’s favorite products show up easily no matter how she contacts you.
To improve your company’s customer experience, you must enhance your customer service experience. You can invest in your customer support team through additional training and incorporating A.I. technology. When customers come to you with questions and problems, you have the opportunity to win them over for the long run by quickly, efficiently, and empathetically helping them find a solution or answer.
When a customer contacts a customer service representative, it’s crucial that they can get their questions answered and issues resolved quickly. The longer it takes, for example, if a rep needs approval from a manager to do something relatively trivial, the more tired and frustrated the customer will be. Customers need to feel like the representatives have the knowledge and power to help them. 46% of customers will leave a brand if employees aren’t knowledgeable. Empowering your customer service team with a better understanding of the products and power to help customers on the spot will only enhance your customer service experience. Customers will get help fast, feel like your brand cares and understands them more, and be happier.
A.I., or artificial intelligence, can also be a valuable tool to enhance your customer service experience. I know A.I. sounds scary, and some people don’t like talking to robots, but they can make your customer support more efficient. Chatbots can:
Sure, they can’t handle everything. Customer service representatives are still needed for complex problems, but they can reduce the burden and help customers get the help they need, which is the ultimate goal. 40% of customers don’t care if a bot or person helps them as long as they get the support they need. Virtual customer assistants already conduct 25% of all customer support interactions, so this isn’t a foreign or new thing; it’s something we’ve all probably dealt with already.
Customers don’t just call your number or visit your website for help anymore, though; they also reach out through social media. Social media is the number one channel for interacting with brands, especially among younger generations, but it isn’t just for fun and brand messaging. They look for assistance and ask questions on social media and expect quick responses. 68% of consumers want to use social media to get information and ask questions before making a purchase, and 59% will after they make a purchase.
Improving your customer service experience depends on speed. Regardless of how customers reach out, customers want answers fast. Customers are 2.4 times more likely to stay with a company if their issues are solved fast. What does fast mean, though? When customers ask you a question, 52% of them expect a response within an hour. So even if they message you on social media, someone has to notice the message and be ready to look into the issue to provide a solution soon.
In addition to customer service, cx enhancement also means providing self-service options for customers. In today’s digital age, many customers would rather find answers themselves than wait to talk to a customer service representative or chatbot. 60% of customers look for self-service options first, and 75% of customers expect companies to have full self-service options available for them. 67% of customers prefer self-service options to contacting customer service. On top of that, 91% of people would use an online database to help themselves if it were easily accessible and could be tailored to their needs. Their information is saved in a portal, so they don’t have to keep explaining everything over the phone.
Self-service options can help ease the workload of your customer service team, as 20-40% of live volume is simple tasks that can be handled with self-service. With self-service options, your team can spend less time on menial tasks and focus on more complex issues.
A benefit of self-service options for customers that goes under the radar is that you’ll end up with better-educated customers. They’ll understand your brand, processes, and how to solve problems better. In the future, they’ll be able to troubleshoot problems more effectively, and if they need to talk to a customer service representative, they’ll be able to speed things up with their knowledge.
Did you know that 85% of customers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations? Customers like to research products these days, especially by seeing what other customers say about products and brands they are interested in. With reviews so easily accessible, it’s best to make them easier for customers to find by highlighting your Google or Yelp reviews or showing reviews directly on your website.
Reviewing reviews is a standard part of customer research before making a purchase. It’s recommendable to make their research phase easier to enhance the customer experience. Over 90% of customers now read three or more reviews before they make a purchasing decision, and they are digging deeper too. Only 22% of customers don’t look past the last two weeks of reviews, dropping from 55% in 2020.
Harnessing reviews and UGA, user-generated content, is an excellent way to enhance your CX experience. Your marketing messaging only gets you so far; customers want to see how your products are really used. If you share a video made by one of your customers highlighting your product’s benefits, it will feel more authentic to potential customers, help them make their purchasing decision, and improve their customer experience. Speaking of improved customer experience, what about the customer who shared the video? Their customer experience has been incredibly improved. They’ll feel recognized and validated by your brand and be more likely to remain a long-term loyal customer.
While harnessing the power of online reviews and social proof is important, you should also be reading them. An important and underappreciated part of enhancing the customer experience is paying attention to feedback and responding to good and bad customer reviews.
It can be a time-consuming task to go through customer reviews, but its importance can’t be understated. Customer reviews give you a unique chance to look at your business from the customer’s perspective and see what you are doing well and where you can improve.
Sure, not all reviews are helpful. The hard truth is that some customers look for reasons to complain, and fake online reviews will happen. However, you can’t let those bad apples get in the way. If you go through reviews and look for trends, like common praises and complaints, you can find where you need to focus your efforts for improvement.
If you see one person saying they have issues with payments not going through, that will happen, but if you see multiple reviews saying the same thing, you should look into that issue. If it seems to be a problem, addressing it as quickly as possible is vital to improving the customer experience. 86% of customers will leave after as few as two bad CX experiences, and 49% of customers who consider themselves loyal would leave a brand after just one poor CX experience. It’s vital to take reviews seriously to minimize these poor experiences.
Customers want to know that you pay attention to reviews too, so it’s essential to respond to reviews, good or bad. Customers expect to see you engaged and responding to customers. 89% of customers are ‘fairly’ or ‘highly’ likely to use a business that responds to all customer reviews. Meanwhile, 57% of customers won’t buy from a company that doesn’t respond to customer reviews at all. Taking the time to acknowledge customers that had a poor experience and thank ones that write glowing reviews makes customers much more likely to turn to you and improves their customer experience.
Speaking of listening to customers, what about listening to your employees? The people you hired to interact with customers directly could have excellent input on how to enhance the customer experience.
I’d say a big part of improving the customer experience is fixing issues they are having, don’t you? By talking with your customer-facing team, you can better understand where customers need help and what systems need fixing. Salespeople will have a good idea of what questions customers ask and where initial points of confusion lie, while your customer service team will hear and take note of customer issues and complaints.
Remember when we discussed how happy customers purchase more? I know; it feels like a while ago. We noted that satisfied customers are more likely to want to buy complementary products or upgrades to products and services. They would like to make these additional purchases because they are highly personalized to the specific customer.
Customers want to have their cake and eat it too, have privacy but also have a highly personalized experience. However, when confronted with that choice, 66% of customers are willing to give companies more personal information if it means getting a better experience. They will share information about themselves, they just don’t want you sharing it with the world, and they want you to use that information to give them a personally tailored experience with product recommendations that match their interests. For example, if you send them emails with product discounts that are relevant to them based on products they’ve bought before or have looked at, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase that they are excited about, something fun, that enhances their user experience.
We all love the feeling of winning over a new, bright, shiny customer, but the key to an incredible customer experience is not stopping at the onboarding messages. If you want to enhance your customer experience, that’s the time to step it up and engage with them more, just not too much. Customers don’t exactly want to receive five emails from you a day.
Onboarding a customer may feel like the end for you, an accomplishment, but for the customer, it’s just the beginning of their relationship with you. If you continue to engage with them consistently throughout their lifecycle, not just when they initially become customers or haven’t made a purchase in a while, they’ll feel like they have a relationship with you that isn’t just transactional. They’ll have a more positive feeling toward your brand and a better customer experience.
By continuing to engage with them through birthday messages, announcements, offers, and responding to posts on social media, you can keep your brand front of mind so they recall you quicker when they could use your assistance or one of your products. You’ll see increases in marketing ROI, conversion rate, customer retention, and customer lifetime value.
Our marketing team is filled with experts who know how to keep customers engaged with your brand through email, social media, blogs, and more. See how we can help your brand develop long-term relationships with customers and grow over the long term.
Who doesn’t love rewards? Companies like Dominos, Dutch Bros, and Starbucks have had massive success from their employee rewards programs. Customers will go more often than they would otherwise to make enough purchases to get their next reward. When debating Saturday night dinner, families will choose Dominos just because they are only one pizza away from getting their rewards. The excitement around customer rewards is a significant boost to your customer experience.
You can reward customers through:
It may seem like an expense to cut prices or give away free products, but these rewards go a long way toward enhancing the customer experience and improving your profits. As noted above, when customers have a free coffee or pizza to look forward to, they’ll go to you more often to claim that reward. And if your service costs less, such as Uber reducing prices for frequent passengers, they’ll use you more often because you’re more cost-effective for them than your competitors. In the long run, they’ll come to you more often, speak about you more highly, and have a higher lifetime value, giving you consistent profits for many quarters in the future, beyond just the next couple.
Do you know what really helps improve your customer experience? Data tracking! I know, not as fun or eye-popping as some of these other solutions, but analytics are the backbone of everything in the digital age. By carefully tracking your analytics, you don’t need to guess what customers like from a few reviews or interviews. You can point to data to see what your customers are doing.
Regular and detailed analytics reports can be tedious, but they can show user behaviors and ways to improve your customer experience. A particular webpage could deliver a high bounce rate, indicating that customers get confused and lost on the page, which needs to be adjusted. You could compare this to pages with your highest CTRs to see what is working for customers. Once you see trends in the numbers, you can use reviews and interviews to create a story around ways to improve the user experience.
A.I. can help simplify these tasks by generating reports and looking for trends. Sure, it still helps to have human eyes looking over it, but A.I. can speed up the process and help you find solutions and implement a better user experience faster.
We know the secret to long-term growth and success is a great customer experience. If you can develop strong relationships with customers and get them to be excited to buy from you, they’ll help sell you to more people, bringing on more and more loyal customers. Customers should want to turn to you and be excited about their next purchase, even look for excuses to make a purchase.
Set up a meeting with us today to learn how we can help optimize your customer experience to expand your base of happy, loyal customers!