What is Customer Experience Optimization?
Perfect Customer Experience (CX) has never been more critical than now. According to the Customer Experience Trends Report, half of the customers say that CX is even more important than just a year ago. In addition, just one negative experience is enough for as many as 61% of customers to leave the competition. No wonder that nowadays, every company is doing everything to optimize the customer experience.
Many areas can be improved on your own (e.g., customer service), but meeting customer expectations often requires investing in creating a mobile application or a professional website. For this, you need a proven software development company. Investments in improving the customer experience pay off quickly, so many customers choose this solution.
But before we start talking about customer experience optimization, it is crucial to understand what customer experience is.
What is Customer Experience?
The customer experience (CX) is the sum of all interactions between the customer and the company. It covers the entire customer journey through all the touchpoints encountered when interacting with your company. It can be a contact with the website, a conversation with the customer service department, social media platforms, a mobile application, or even a simple leaflet with information about a given product. The customer interacts and creates touchpoints that influence the perception of your company. The quality of these interactions will affect customer satisfaction and, consequently, customer retention and the acquisition of new customers.
What is Optimized Customer Experience?
Customer experience optimization is the process of improving the user journey at all touchpoints. It requires a thorough understanding of the client's needs and seeing reality through his eyes.
There is a misconception that optimizing the customer experience is only about improving the work of the customer service department. Meanwhile, customer service is one of the many touchpoints with which the customer interacts. Our experience shows that customer experience optimization should cover all possible points of contact between the customer and the company: both digital customer experience optimization and direct contact because customer loyalty and satisfaction is a way to achieve a competitive advantage.
Of course, you need to remember that optimization should be approached with common sense: optimization is both a process of improvement and finding a balance between what your customers want and what you can provide them at the moment. Perhaps after collecting customer feedback, it will turn out that your customers would prefer to get a modern application with elements of artificial intelligence. Still, as the company's owner, you know perfectly well that you cannot afford such an investment at the moment. Fortunately, the application is not the only point of contact between your customers and your company, so you can focus on optimizing other points first, and until you find funds to create a new, innovative mobile application, you can think about how to improve the existing application.
Is Customer Experience Optimization Essential?
Customers who rate a company's customer experience positively are 37% more likely to recommend it to others. In addition, products optimized for the customer experience have an almost 2x higher return on investment. No wonder all companies, regardless of size and industry in which they operate, strive for the best possible customer experience because it translates into their market success.
However, it is worth remembering that customer experience optimization is a constant process and work because customer needs are constantly changing, and new technologies are continually evolving. Despite many changes, the holistic view of the customer's experience cannot be forgotten because focusing only on one or two contact elements is not enough to gain recognition in customers' eyes.
Using customer experience optimization to build a long-term relationship with the brand and long-term customer lifetime value will pay for itself.
How to Optimize for Customer Experience
The customer experience is shaped by three factors – people, process, and product. If you want to optimize the customer experience successfully, be sure to focus on these 3 factors:
The best virtual assistant cannot replace empathetic and helpful customer service employees. Therefore, please make every effort to ensure that your employees are not only properly trained but also that they know that working on improving the customer experience is the work of every employee of the company, regardless of whether they are negotiating contracts, designing leaflets, or packing goods for shipment.
People are also your customers. Remember that the best way to optimize customer experience is to get to know your customers, their opinions, needs, and expectations. Carefully analyze the customer journey and locate all contact points between the customer and your company. The more points of contact you discover, the easier it will be for you to plan actions to improve what should be improved.
Customers greatly appreciate the simple and transparent process of purchasing a product or a complaint. Therefore, pay attention to whether there are too complicated or time-consuming areas from the customer's point of view. Each process should be transparent and intuitive. If not, it should be changed as soon as possible because most customers will use competitors' services faster than they will delve into the complicated way of order fulfillment.
A product that meets customer expectations is essential for building market position, brand awareness, and customer success. If the product does not meet customers' expectations, then even the best customer service will not make the customer come back to you. Therefore, consider whether any areas can be improved. Keep an open mind because sometimes these are elementary things, such as the way of packing or thanking for purchases added to the shipment.
How to Start the Customer Experience Optimization Process?
You already know what the 3 main areas to focus on are. You may be wondering where to start the optimization process. As a rule, it should start with getting to know your client and locating touchpoints, but the sequence of actions, in this case, is quite arbitrary. Below we have collected some points that should be considered before you focus on the technical aspects of optimization. They are universal, so they will suit your company, no matter what industry you operate in.
Get to Know your Customer
As we mentioned, getting to know your customer in-depth is the foundation for successful customer experience optimization. Therefore, try to learn as much as possible about your clients. Who they are (sex), where they live (city/village), what they like, what expectations he has towards your product, and what customer problems this product can solve. There are many ways to obtain this data. You can conduct a telephone survey among your customers, send it by email, or post it on the company's social media profile. You can also hire a professional agency with specialized tools to conduct such research. Still, unfortunately, this type of service is costly, so you need to assess whether such an investment will pay off.
Why did the Customer Make the Purchase?
Every customer buys a given product for a specific reason. Discover why they purchased a particular product. It will be easier for you to understand the motivation and expectations of customers. When you know what your customers' goal is, you will be able to optimize the offer to meet their expectations. Then you will not only keep your customers but also gain new ones thanks to referrals from current customers.
Create a Customer Journey
Thanks to numerous analytical tools, you can create a customer journey for your customers. But don't limit yourself to just the website. Please find out how customers found out about your product and what path they took before reaching you. You can do this through direct conversations with customers, surveys, or, as in the case of customer research, through a specialist agency.
Knowing the customer and his journey will help you define the touchpoints between your company and the customer. Remember that customer experience is the sum of all interactions, so approach the topic holistically and do not exclude any interaction. Sometimes one point of contact is enough to win a customer and provide a company with positive CU. Sometimes the sum of many different interactions is necessary. Each touchpoint is essential, and each should be adequately taken care of.
Defining points of contact will allow you to analyze them in detail. Thanks to this, you can determine which areas need optimization. Think about how you can improve them and how much work and costs it involves. Determine the order in which your team will deal with particular areas and, of course, start with the most important ones. Remember that the process of optimizing the customer experience is continuous work, so if you manage to improve one issue, two new ones will appear in a moment. It is a normal phenomenon, and every company faces it.
The consistency of messages addressed to customers is critical because it builds the authority and reputation of your company. Remember, however, that the word message has a broad meaning. It can be content on your website, an advertisement on Instagram, and a conversation with your employee. For example, suppose you communicate on your website that your company prides itself on high-quality customer service, then in direct contact with any employee of your company. In that case, the customer must feel this high quality. If your social media ad communicates immediate contact with the customer, this contact must be like that; the customer cannot wait several hours or days.
Customer Experience Optimization as a Common Goal
All employees of the company must be involved in the process of improving the customer experience. Every employee needs to know how to improve customer interaction with the company. Improving the customer experience must be a common goal for the entire company.
A common mistake is believing that only customer services are responsible for the customer experience. Customer service is one of the contact points and certainly plays a crucial role in the company. But even the best customer service will not help if the product or service does not meet the customer's expectations. In the article "Customer Service vs. Customer Experience: Why Does it Matter to Your Business?" we have discussed in detail the difference between these concepts.
Select Customer Experience Metrics
To know if your customer experience optimization efforts are effective, it is best to select and then monitor the appropriate indicators. Many universal indicators can be used in any industry. The most popular are Net Promoter Score, Customer satisfaction score, Customer Effort Score, or First response time.
Ongoing Customer Experience monitoring will allow you to substantiate the actions appropriately taken.
Providing a great customer experience takes time, work, and in-depth knowledge of customers. Due to the changing requirements of customers and the dynamic development of technology, maintaining and improving the customer experience is a constant process.
Companies that understand the importance of this process have a chance to achieve a market advantage, as excellent customer experiences turn one-time customers into repeat customers and facilitate the acquisition of new ones.
If you want to find out how we help our clients in this matter, arrange a free consultation with our specialists. For over a dozen years, we have been creating successful products that meet users' expectations, and we know what determines the success of a product.