Customer Experience: Is It Really That Important?
The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed how customers engage with brands and businesses. With the implementation of social distancing across the globe, brands and businesses can no longer solely rely on in-store customer service to fortify their customers’ experience. Instead, brands and businesses have to shift their efforts towards digital avenues to ensure that their customers can continue to enjoy satisfactory experiences throughout their interaction with brands and businesses. Before we take a look at the importance of Customer Experience (CX), let’s first understand what customer experience is all about.
What Is CX?
The Customer Experience (CX) concept refers to the experience that customers take away whenever they interact directly or indirectly with your brand or business. However, CX itself is a term that started gaining traction not too long ago. Recently, brands and businesses started using data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance their customer experience.
With that said, it is important to note that CX cannot exist without UX, also known as User Experience (UX). UX comes down to how your customer uses your product or service, whether or not the design is usable, useful, accessible, desirable, credible, and findable. UX heavily depends on how users perceive your product or service. For your customers to have great CX, they must first have a great UX.
Essentially, CX is the outcome of how customers react and interact with every aspect of your brand or business. It is the emotion that your brand or business elicits when customers come across it. Your branding, advertising, website, store, product, packaging, service, after-sales engagement, and customer service relations all play a key role in creating a memorable CX. You could say that a great CX is what makes your customers keep coming back for more.
Companies like Airbnb and Apple have raised the CX bar for other brands by providing a satisfying and well-curated CX from start to finish. Customers just can’t get enough of the Airbnb and Apple experience.
Why Is CX Important?
Think about the time you had a really good experience and a really bad experience with a brand or business. Now, which of those two experiences are you more inclined to return to? It’s very likely the former than the latter because let’s be honest, first impression matters in this case, and it will determine whether or not you will go back for more.
CX is important because it has the potential to either help your brand or business grow exponentially or identify areas for improvement. In this day and age, the customer is king; and he/she holds the power to make or break your brand or business. Why is that so? There are so many similar products and services in the market these days. Your customer can very easily choose your competitor over you if they are not happy with the experience your brand or business offers.
So how to know if your brand or business is doing things right when it comes to CX? CX can be measured using several metrics that are available out there. Here are three commonly used metrics:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS), which helps you understand how likely are your customers to promote your brand or business to their friends/family/colleagues using a numerical rating system. NPS will give you qualitative insight into your customers’ loyalty towards your brand or business.
- Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), which helps you measure your customers’ satisfaction rate with your brand or business. CSAT emphasizes on touchpoints where your customer was either satisfied or dissatisfied with your brand or business.
- Customer Effort Score (CES), which allows you to measure how ‘easy’ or ‘difficult’ it is for your customer to complete an action like resolving an issue with the assistance of your customer service personnel. CES is usually sent to customers after they have interacted with your customer service representative.
CX might sound like a subjective concept that heavily focuses on what your customers feel when they engage and interact with your brand or business. Still, it helps to use metrics to quantify how your customers feel about your brand or business and its product(s)/service(s) so that you will be able to make better-informed decisions. Measuring your CX can help you identify what your brand or business is doing right and what needs to be improved, which will significantly benefit your brand or business in the long run.
How Can Brands Improve Their CX?
Getting customers is the first leg of the challenge, retaining them is a whole other ball game and the pandemic has definitely changed the game for brands and businesses across the globe. More customers are turning to online shopping and e-commerce sites as they adjust to the drastic changes introduced in light of COVID-19. As a result, customer behaviors are changing too since it’s become harder for them to interact with your brand or business.
Hence, a lot more effort needs to go into ensuring that your customers are getting the same in-store experience when they interact with your brand or business through digital platforms (i.e. websites or mobile applications). The goal is to make sure your customers have a seamless experience throughout each touchpoint when they interact with your brand or business. Here’s how you can improve your CX and give your customers a great experience:
User Experience (UX)
Create a user experience that will give your customers the ultimate convenience in every aspect. One of the reasons why Airbnb and Apple excel in their CX is because their products and services are user-friendly and very easy-to-use. Albeit, Airbnb and Apple went through many years of trial and error to achieve the level of CX that they have today. Your brand or business can achieve great CX too. You just need to actively listen to what your customers are saying about your brand or business, conduct customer satisfaction surveys, identify areas of development, and make necessary changes to make it happen. Think of it as a constant work in progress that needs to be reviewed and revamped from time to time.
One too many brands or businesses take this aspect for granted. One example is the failure to ensure that their websites are optimized for mobile users. Mobile is the most preferred and convenient device for users to Google something, surf the web, search for products or services, engage with brands and businesses on social media, etc. To date, there are 5.15 billion unique mobile users, according to the data from GSMA Intelligence. That’s about 66% of the total world population who uses their mobile phones to do just about everything, from banking to Netflix and booking a vacation to finding a soulmate. If your website and other digital platforms are not already mobile-friendly, then it’s time to do so. If your customer can’t reach you using their mobile, then it’s likely that they would disregard your brand or business altogether.
So, maybe you’ve already created a great user experience and made your brand or business mobile-friendly. Great, but you’re not done yet. One key factor that largely contributes to great CX is how your brand or business continues to engage and stay connected with your customer long after they are done placing an order on your website or app. How to do that? Some of the common ways to provide continuous customer service support are through call centers, help desks, and live chats. These methods are good but they might not be sufficient these days, especially when customers are looking for more personable interactions with brands and businesses. Take your customer service game one step further by engaging with your customers through SMS and emails. Let them access your brand or business in an easier and faster way, using their mobile.
So, is CX really that important? YES, it is important. When done right, it can create a positive long-term impact that will benefit your brand or business. It pays off to start focusing more on CX. Perhaps you’re considering to make some small changes first. Sure, you can start with achievable changes like using SMS to stay connected with your customers. You can also opt for email services that allow you to interact with your customers on a more personal level. Talk to us today to find out how to optimize your customer experience through multi-channel servicing like SMS and email marketing. We also provide other social media advertising as part of our Digital Marketing Services.