The latest Salesforce research shows that 80% of customers believe that their EXPERIENCE of engaging with you is just as important as your company’s products or services.
That’s an astounding statistic.
The age-old criteria of price and quality have a new(ish) companion. It’s now irrefutable that modern customers consider Customer Experience (or CX) to be as important in their decision-making process for purchases as price and quality.
And, I wouldn’t bet against customer experience soon overtaking price and product as the key differentiator for most brands before too long.
So, how do you ensure that you are providing what customers now demand? How do you create an Exceptional Customer Experience?
Well, clearly exceptional customer experience is always evolving, but here are 5 quick steps to get started.
Articulate your vision for exceptional customer experience
First things first, make sure everyone in your organisation understands (and is on board with) your vision and strategy for delivering a winning customer experience.
Your vision will never become a reality unless you can get others in the company to invest their time and energy into making it happen. Make sure your vision is specific and clear with a roadmap of milestones towards the outcomes and objectives you are looking to achieve.
Spend time with people in every department in your business to communicate what the vision means for the company, as well as for their specific role.
Make sure those desired customer outcomes are aligned with employee incentives and compensation to help with employee motivation and “buy in”.
Know your customers
Have all of your customer data in one place (so there’s no need to dig for information). A CRM is a must have tool, allowing you uncover cross-selling opportunities, address customer needs and solve their problems proactively, as well as create relevant, personalised messaging and outreach.
From a better appreciation of your client’s business, to how often they open or engage with your emails, right through to their purchase history, a CRM system helps you better understand your customers and prospects, building up invaluable knowledge about each individual or account.
With all this data a CRM also enables you to effectively segment your target audiences to create personalized, memorable and satisfying customer experiences, with offers that are uniquely tailored to suit based on dimensions like; location, age, gender, interests, industry, hobbies etc.
Good CRM systems also have marketing automation functionality. For example, if a customer fills out a contact form on your website, your CRM can send them a thank you email instantly and create further touchpoints or communications as they progress through an onboarding process.
Ultimately, a good CRM system allows you to streamline your operations, helps you to sell more effectively, while also increasing customer loyalty and reducing churn.
Listen to your customers
Capture feedback in real-time with tools like Net Promotor Scores (NPS) and create a culture where everyone is “customer service” – from call centre staff to the finance team.
NPS is a customer loyalty and satisfaction measurement, usually constructed on a scale of 0-10 asking customers how likely they are to recommend your product or service to others. Based on the rating supplied, respondent customers are then classified into 3 categories; Promoters, Passives or Detractors.
“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our product or service to a friend or a colleague?”
Detractors most likely won’t purchase from you again, they have had a bad customer experience and could even damage your reputation through negative word of mouth.
Passives are just not enthusiastic enough about your products or services to actually promote them (nor are they likely talk negatively about them).
Your Promoters love you and your products and services. They are the enthusiasts who recommend you to other potential buyers – you want lots of Promoters!
NPS can be used as a predictor of business growth and strategically you can track and measure scores over time, creating internal benchmarks, goals and objectives.
You can use NPS as the measure for your “buy-in” metric for motivating your team (eg. target a certain NPS score and tie incentives to that score).
Just don’t forget to ask follow-up questions as part of your NPS progamme. Ask why customers gave a specific score and where and how you can improve.
We often think of the customer journey as linear, but in reality, it tends to move in more of a twisting, turning loop – where marketing, sales, service and even finance need to work together to create a great customer experience. Gather feedback from all these functions and use your CRM dashboards to display comprehensive customer data to every team so they all have the insights they need to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
If you’re interested in learning more about NPS, you can check out the Salesforce Definitive Guide to Net Promoter Score here.
Just make it easy
Make any onboarding process elegant and simple, and offer adequate trial periods (if you can). Ensure the WHOLE experience is designed to be amazing (and super-easy) on mobile devices.
By far and away the most likely reasons customers churn (and leave you) are that they:
A). Don’t understand your product or how it works.
B). They don’t derive any value or benefit from it.
A great onboarding experience simply affirms that your customers have made the correct choice in choosing your product or service.
It’s vital to remember that in the early stages most customers require some hand-holding as they get started. Those early days are almost always where you will lose the most new users – flip that around and it’s a recipe for success.
In the same way, you need an overarching strategy and objective for your total customer experience, make sure you have a plan and process for your customer onboarding program.
Ensure that your product or service gets used early and regularly and clearly demonstrate the value and benefit so your users simply can’t live without it! You can create customer set-up milestones, celebrate those milestone completions and provide routine check-ins along the way.
For any product or service, a knowledge base or resource section is also essential, allowing users to solve their problems quickly and autonomously.
You also need to communicate constantly in those first few days and make use of the personalization capability your CRM provides to make the customer feel valued, with content that is unique to their situation.
And, with the latest data showing that the majority of internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, make sure you design the whole experience with mobile in mind.
Get started with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
If you haven’t already, AI and predictive personalization enables smarter, deeper customer relationship and support.
AI platforms learn from your data to make smart predictions and recommendations for your customer-facing business processes.
Reduce friction and respond quicker with chatbots & self-service. That essential knowledge base will be even smarter and more helpful for self-service when powered by smart AI like Salesforce Einstein.
Einstein, the first comprehensive AI for CRM, now delivers more than 80 billion AI-powered predictions every day across all Salesforce products for sales, service, marketing and commerce.
“AI is now an imperative, not a nice-to-have. Einstein substantiated what many have asked for years: How and when will AI really drive enterprise-level value, at scale. The pandemic forced companies to invest in the technologies that quickly add value. Einstein does exactly this by working invisibly behind the scenes to predict customer behaviour and preferences, at scale.” Marco Casalaina General Manager of Einstein, Salesforce.
AI is here to stay, and used right is a powerful tool to reach, understand and connect with your customers in a highly personalized way – at scale.
Exceptional customer experience is poised to be the great differentiator of the next few years.
Organizations that lead with customer experience will reap the benefits and no longer have to rely on price as the key driver for customer decisions – imagine that!