Every business wants to create an exceptional customer experience. It’s those unforgettable experiences that turn ordinary customers into exuberant, loyal fans. Those fans become brand ambassadors when they can’t stop talking about your company, which in turn, can bring in hordes of new prospects.
But, what if your customer experience is just mediocre? While the traditional loyalty methods don’t necessarily send customers packing, it does leave them open to being snatched up by a savvy competitor. According to McKinsey, in “The CEO Guide to Customer Experience,” “Delighting customers by mastering the concept and execution of an exceptionally good customer experience is a challenge. Yet, it is an essential requirement for leading in an environment where customers wield growing power.”
You need to become fully customer-centric to pave the way for lifelong customer loyalty. Here, we breakdown four must-haves for your business to improve the customer experience:
- Provide top-notch customer support
- Create personalized experiences
- Leverage big data to know your customers on an individual level
- Reward customer loyalty to foster brand ambassadorship
Let’s examine ways you can leverage these strategies to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary:
1. Provide top-notch customer support
Continuing to deliver a positive customer experience post-purchase can help keep customers coming back. That means customer support plays a crucial role in driving satisfaction and improving the overall customer experience – essentially serving as an extension of marketing that comes after a sale.
Today’s consumers demand instant gratification, because–let’s face it–they’ve become accustomed to benefits of immediacy today’s technology provides. So, now it’s up to businesses to leverage those same technologies to provide always-on, prompt customer support options through a variety of channels.
2. Create personalized experiences
Consumers also expect companies to treat them like individuals rather than just one more digit in an audience segment.
Personalization that consists of lumping email subscribers into different lists, based on a few of their interests, is long gone. Everyone wants to feel special and valued; your prospects and customers are no different. It’s more than just altering their name in an email greeting–it’s about catering messages, offers, and communication to their individual needs, likes, and desires. It’s well worth the effort.
“By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator,” according to “The Future of B-2-B Customer Experience” report, from consulting firm Walker. How do you gain the insights needed to personalize these experiences for your audience? With data, insights, and actions.
3. Leverage big data to know your customers on an individual basis
There’s a plethora of data about individual consumers who engage with brands, and businesses have to know where to find it, how to gather it, and translate that data into actionable insights. This in-depth, individual view of each customer should encompass several types of information, including:
- Rapidly-changing usage
- Service interaction
The available pool of data is vast, yet it’s crucial to consider various categories of information, along with how consumers interact and even influence data and outcomes in other categories. For example, a frequent consumer of lattes may be likely to stop at their favorite coffee shop along a certain route – but not during rush-hour traffic conditions. In this case, the context is influencing behavior.
That’s why it’s imperative for brands to leverage big data and customer analytics tools that eliminate silos and consolidate data into a single, comprehensive view of every individual consumer.
Gartner Analyst Melissa Davis explains, “Customer analytics is the No. 1 planned technology investment to transform the customer experience. Data and analytics leaders must understand how real-time responses, customer journey analytics, and leveraging AI are trending and will shape the future of customer experience in digital business.”
4. Reward customer loyalty to foster brand ambassadorship
Offering loyalty programs matters, and equally important to the overall customer experience is the loyalty program experience itself. According to Hubspot, “Customer loyalty is not easily created. Customers are driven by their own goals and will be loyal to the company that can fulfill them best. It doesn’t matter if they have a positive history with your brand, if a competitor puts a better offer on the table then the customer is going to take it.”
Provide consumers with tools and apps to monitor their rewards, make it easy for them to earn and redeem rewards, and, of course, personalize it.
Map your customer marketing, sales, and support tactics to these overarching strategies to create a customer experience that stands out from the ordinary and makes a lasting impression on your customers. Do it well, and your customers might just become those exuberant, loyal fans who can’t stop talking about your business.