Consumer/brand relationships are going to shift massively in the next five years. What used to matter the most to both parties was delivering and receiving high quality products. Now, quality is a given. Consumers are desiring superior customer experiences, and some companies are already reacting to this change. This Econsultancy/Adobe report shows business leaders are even naming customer experience as the top method to differentiate brands.
Customer experience (or CX) is the way customers experience a brand through various touchpoints over the course of their relationship. These interactions can be direct through customer service representatives at a point of sale, or indirect through advertising. Both are vital in creating well-rounded, positive customer relationships.
Now, where to even begin in updating company CX? To start, organizations should be proactive in getting to know their customers. It is well worth it to acquire the necessary data to compile a user personas. Then, map out the customer experience. Consider the timeframe of their relationship with the brand, their communication channels, as well as their actions, motivations, and expectations along the way. By mapping out the customer experience, planning to meet their expectations will become easy.
Like mentioned earlier, CX happens through direct and indirect channels. A brand’s mobile and digital experience are examples of indirect touchpoints. Customers expect a pleasant, easy to use mobile experience. Mobile sites that are difficult to load or navigate are a hassle, and make brands appear less trustworthy. It may not be face-to-face, but a brand’s online presence is often one of the first times a customer interacts with a brand, and it can speak volumes.
Direct interactions are also extremely vital. Even if they do not complain, unsatisfied customers will not return and are likely to tell others of their bad experience. This infographic from Fundera on how to deal with difficult types of customers provides ways to de-escalate with an unhappy customer. If a customer feels understood during a difficult time, even if they decide not to return, it is much better than leaving angry.
The brands who begin taking steps to create memorable and enjoyable customer experiences are the brands who will stand out in the upcoming years. Take Vitamix for example. Every employee hired is given a Vitamix blender and welcomed into a strong company culture of wellness. This fosters employees’ personal relationships to the product, and this knowledge and passion is naturally passed on in their interactions with customers. Starting from the inside out is one strategy to improve CX.