Posted by Paladin on February 18, 2016
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says this about creating a great customer experience (CX), “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts.” Imagine hosting a special event at your home. You’d strive to make your guests happy with pleasant decor, music, food and all the rest. Like Bezos suggests, why not apply the same attitude during business hours?
New studies show that marketers are increasingly expected to assume the CX. According to a 2015 survey by The Economist, the marketing function will increasingly take the lead in producing positive experiences for customers. In fact, over the next three to five years, 75% of marketers say they’ll be responsible for the end-to-end experience over the customer’s lifetime.
What makes great CX?
A great experience goes beyond treating people politely when they shop online, walk around your office or store, or converse with you via email or phone. Here are telltale signs of great CX:
- A customer’s complete experience with your business is better than your competitors. That may mean that your order process is more efficient, that your digital interface is seamless across various devices, or that your call center operations are optimized.
- Customers sing your praises and, in return, act as volunteer marketers for your organization.
- Your external surveys find relatively low instances of complaints and negative feedback compared to historical and industry benchmarks.
- You’ve thoroughly reviewed and maxed out the helpfulness of your website. You anticipate user paths, sending visitors where they desire. And your site makes product and services suggestions based on visitors’ purchase histories.
- Your company has an industry-wide reputation for great service, especially relative to your direct competitors.
Amid fierce competition and uncertain global markets, great CX is as critical as ever. That means marketing departments will play a more important role in CX, making it a successful revenue center. How you solve the CX puzzle determines whether your company can keep your customers and capitalize on their lifetime value.
CX Considerations for Businesses and Marketing Pros
Part of keeping—and gaining—market share and sales is from developing loyal customers that repeatedly buy from you and recommend you. Most are even willing to pay more for a better experience. And remember that old marketing adage—it’s much more costly to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.
So when it comes to CX, consider the following:
1. List all the ways in which your customers interact with your company, then find areas for improvement that will have the biggest impact on CX. For example, your touchpoints may include the following channels: physical store, phone, website and mobile app.
Walk in your customers’ shoes. Test all of those channels and make tweaks that will provide a seamless and enjoyable experience for your customers.
2. Marketers will increasingly need to be an advocate for the customer, while balancing their preferences with business goals. For example, are your call center agents responsive and showing genuine care for callers, while also suggesting and selling the right complementary products when the timing is right?
Keep your customers happy, while ensuring their interactions and purchases contribute to department- and company-wide goals, when possible.
3. Find ways to improve the quality of your product or service, and tell your company’s leaders. For example, use customer feedback to find out what matters most. As basic as this sounds, if your product or service is subpar, it makes little sense to prioritize improving other touchpoints.
The customer cannot have a great experience when they’re given a mediocre product or service. And if they provide a legitimate, reasonable way to improve your product or service, they expect you to do just that.
The Top Takeaway
“Your challenge is not just to improve,” says Jack Welch, the former chairman and CEO of General Electric, “[it] is to break the service paradigm in your industry… so that customers aren’t just satisfied, they’re so shocked that they tell strangers on the street how good you are.”
Modern marketers have access to digital analytics that can reveal customer preferences, although it can take artful interpretation of the data to reach the right conclusions about user behavior. Creating a great customer experience requires paying attention to details. By observing and listening, marketers can help their organizations become easy and pleasant to do business with. And companies who go the extra mile are in better position to attract and retain new business.
When are you going to host your next house party?