In the digital age, customers interact with businesses in more ways than ever before and the average consumer will usually explore multiple avenues before they choose to make a purchase. Customers can be introduced to new businesses, products and services in a variety of different ways, from traditional print media to targeted search ads. They then have more opportunity than ever to research these new businesses, products and services via customer reviews, social media and the wider web.
Businesses have to ensure they maximise the potential of every interaction with new and existing customers. Every single interaction is an opportunity to connect with customers, demonstrate value and increase their loyalty and advocacy.
So, how do businesses ensure their entire offering provides a consistent, positive and effective customer experience? Here, we dig deeper into what it entails and explore ways to help your business tighten up the customer experience and secure a greater percentage of advocates.
What is customer experience?
The customer experience, also known as CX, is the consumer’s holistic perception of every interaction they have with a brand. From the very first moment a customer discovers your business offerings, they are subconsciously building a mental image of your brand which will impact their buying decisions. Everything, from your brand’s tone of voice to the usability of the website, will drive their perception of your business, products and services.
Rational and emotional responses both impact the customer experience and their perception of your business. This means that even the smallest decision you make about your brand’s presentation and public image will impact the customer experience.
Why is it so important?
Customers now have access to more choice than ever before, with limitless scope to research the products and services they require on the internet. Additionally, customers’ voices are more important than ever thanks to the wealth of review sites and social media channels where their feedback can make them influential advocates or critics.
Therefore, every element of every customer’s experience has to be positive up to the point of sale and beyond. Something as small as an overly-zealous post-purchase email can dissuade a customer from becoming a long-term advocate.
What are the benefits of great CX?
Put simply, the better experience your customers have, the higher the chance of their repeat business and recommendations to others. Do it right and you can garner increased customer loyalty, satisfaction and great word of mouth.
Are customer service and customer experience the same thing?
No. If someone heads into one of your branches or sites or calls up and has a positive interaction with a team member, that’s good customer service but service is just one aspect of the customer experience as a whole.
To put it simply, if you have an online store and someone emails to ask about one of your products or services and gets a prompt, well-explained response, that’s great customer service. If they then order through your website and follow a clear sales pathway before receiving a great quality product or service that’s delivered on time and in great condition, that’s the customer experience.
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5 ways to ensure you’re delivering an outstanding customer experience
Taking a holistic approach to your customer experience is key, and while every brand and business may be different, most customers have pretty similar expectations.
Here are five tips from Gazprom Energy’s Head of Customer Excellence, Lyndsey Swann, that you can use to ensure your customer experience is on point;
Customers should be able to get in touch with the right person in a timely manner or where appropriate self-serve.
It’s crucial that businesses consistently demonstrate a real desire to help and solve problems for customers.
Businesses should always employ active listening when speaking/interacting with customers.
Either in real time via customer services or through customer experience programmes. Businesses should create a strategic plan that resolves pain points for customers.
Customers want to feel that someone is taking responsibility for their problems following the issue through from start to finish.Bottom of Form
As customers, we have multiple choices. If we receive a customer experience that we don’t like, then it’s usually pretty easy to find a competitor to go to instead. The upside to this is that there are plenty of opportunities to snatch new customers away from competitors. These days, people aren’t simply looking for the cheapest option on the market, and a great customer experience will factor highly in any purchase decisions. When businesses prioritise the customer experience, they’re setting themselves ahead of the competition.
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The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.
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