The customer experience, or CX, includes every aspect of the organization that the consumer comes across. From the brand’s ads, website UX, sales representatives, product or service’s ease of use, packaging, to customer service, all these aspects create an impression. The consumer experience enjoys a marriage of convenience with retention and loyalty.
As pointed out in one of Harvard’s essays, CX can be divided into two parts, direct and indirect. The latter occurs in case of unplanned interactions with company reps, advertisements, product reviews, news reports, tweets, or criticism. Direct contact happens during the buying journey initiated by the consumer. Let’s look at how the overall experience throughout the consumer journey can impact loyalty and retention.
- CX helps to foster an emotional connection resulting in loyalty
- Experience management ultimately ensures excellent customer service via multiple channels
- Understanding consumer behavior as a part of CX helps in retention
- CX management helps firms in appreciating buyers with something beyond cash
- Delinking your CX initiatives from loyalty is a bad idea
- Companies that invest in CX are better equipped to deal with the effects of COVID-19
CX helps to foster an emotional connection resulting in loyalty
Recent research has concluded that COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted buying habits. Consumers don’t mind trying products or services from lesser-known brands due to the availability and price factor. Now, as an entrepreneur, you would think about ways to convince buyers to stick to your brand during these challenging times. A combination of consumer experience and brand loyalty has a solution for this concern.
A jointly conducted study by FocusVision and Forrester has highlighted that consumers show a willingness to spend money on brands with an emotional connection. Superb CX ultimately results in the same.
For offering the best experience, your brand will obviously do everything to make the buyers feel special throughout their journey. This also includes keeping them in the loop during order processing, paying close attention during interactions for feedback, and posting their feedback on social networking sites to make them feel special.
Some brands even repost user-generated content like pictures and videos as a part of various campaigns to trigger a sense of belonging among consumers. Consumer experience experts also recommend brands to use various colors for evoking emotions among audiences. Thus, depending on the occasion, brands often use different colors as a part of their ads, website themes, and logos. Such CX activities help to evoke brand affinity and loyalty, resulting in an increased sales percentage.
Experience management ultimately ensures excellent customer service via multiple channels
Providing the best possible support is always the most critical factor in any consumer experience strategy. It includes customer service before, during, and post the purchase of products or services.
As a buyer, would you appreciate poor-customer service? Obviously not, so being rude or delayed responses to consumer emails is a strict-no! Lackluster service can cost a fortune. Consumers cannot tolerate poor customer service, and studies suggest roughly 47 percent of buyers won’t hesitate to move to a competitor within a day of experiencing pathetic consumer support.
Northridge Group survey suggests 85 percent of consumers in the US appreciate online chat, while 90 percent of them prefer connecting with the customer service via phone. Put simply; telephonic helpline still scores better than social network messaging when it comes to customer service. So, you should have sufficient resources in support teams to handle social media conversations as well as phone calls and emails along with chatbots. A killer CX program involves the allocation of adequate resources for ensuring top-notch service for building relationships.
Remember, the brand’s most important segment of buyers can help in pushing margins upward. Thus, fostering strong relationships with such customers is crucial. Data retrieved with consumer experience tools can highlight shoppers with high lifetime value (LTV). These tools can guide you in segregating profitable customers and diverting support resources during downtime.
Understanding consumer behavior as a part of CX helps in retention
Learning as much as possible about shoppers helps your business in understanding their priorities and preferences. Analyzing the same assists in providing them the experience they need. Most importantly, market research results in improved retention percentage as customers remain loyal.
Such analysis plays a crucial role in creating different sections within audiences and determining their expectations. Personas can be made based on their location, professional, age, and the medium that diverted them to your website or physical store.
Cloud-based customer data solutions used as a part of CX strategy can gather and process shopper behavior data to determine products that visitors search for on your site. Depending on the bounce rate, you can determine the elements that visitors do not appreciate on the website and enhance the same for improving website UX.
Analytical tools can help you process all the data for determining buyer preferences and point out the best way to reach them. Plus, overall, better retention offers can be created to match customer’s needs if they decide to leave.
Lastly, such data combined with modern loyalty program solutions such as LoyaltyXpert can help you offer one-of-a-kind rewards to loyal consumers. It also tracks and monitors user preferences, trends, behaviors on a real-time basis.
CX management helps firms in appreciating customers with something beyond cash
Most loyalty programs do not succeed because they fail to help consumers in reaching their goals. Buyers will return for more if the brand offers special perks to appreciate their actions beyond purchases. Offering them access to things with a greater perceived value can do the trick.
What would be your reaction if an ecommerce portal offers a surprise in the form of cashback for shipping charges immediately after making an online payment? Won’t you feel satisfied and consider returning and making more purchases? You can wow customers and differentiate your brand with simple tactics like delight and surprise. Even something simple like offering double bonus points on purchases can help in boosting a loyalty program.
Delinking your CX initiatives from loyalty is a bad idea
Forrester’s superb study highlighted how customer experience and positive business outcomes, as well as loyalty, go hand in hand. There’re a lot of similarities between loyalty programs and consumer experience strategies. Both aim at ensuring positive interactions for retaining valuable customers and attracting new ones.
Unfortunately, many companies look at loyalty and consumer experience as independent initiatives. The experience factor often goes for a toss when businesses have multiple seniors to handle these elements. Their definition for CX varies, and they fail to understand that a decline in customer experience directly translates into a reduction in business growth.
Several firms also run loyalty programs that are not linked with the overall shopper experience. Their initiatives work as discrete earn-and-reward entities. Such an approach is a short-sighted one. Loyalty initiatives that are designed without data as their heart can become a colossal failure.
Companies that invest in CX are better equipped to deal with the effects of COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic and related lockdowns forced firms to shutdown call centers. They took time to train workers and adjust systems to support work from home. Increased uncertainty, market volatility, and job cuts forced shoppers to rethink various expenditures. Overall, the pandemic resulted in cancellations, ticket spikes, and unhappy customers.
Several parts of the world are witnessing the second series of lockdowns. Thus, most customer service associates are still working from home. And large volumes of tickets are impacting their ability to respond effectively. Numbers do show stability compared to March. A report published by Zendesk points out that service requests remained roughly 16 percent higher in September 2020 compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
Firms with a dedicated knowledge base and self-help centers for customers as a part of CX seem to have the upper hand. These solutions are helping buyers find answers for their concerns without raising tickets.
Help centre and knowledge bases for consumers witnessed a considerable rise in the number of views (visitors) since the pandemic’s arrival. Sectors like food delivery, health, gaming, groceries, and e-commerce witnessed a hike in the number of knowledge portal visitors. Coincidentally, brands with a perfect consumer experience strategy already had such self-help tools even before the arrival of the COVID-19 crisis.
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