Customer Experience – How customers experience your company
The necessity of a holistic orientation towards the target group and thus the potential customer is something we have often discussed at EXCELLENT.ORG. However, in hardly any other area is it as essential as in customer experience. This week we want to explain in more detail what the Customer Experience and Customer Experience Management are all about. In addition, we’ll give you valuable tips that can improve the user experience.
Customer Experience – the perception of the customer
The Customer Experience (also CX) is the overall customer experience from the first to the last point of contact with a brand or company. The respective contact points, also called touchpoints, are located along the customer journey. They range from an initial contact, such as advertising or visiting a website or store, to buying and paying for a product, to its use. Contact points also include repair services or the use of service offers.
The decisive factor here is to focus on the customer and to align the company holistically to the needs and wishes of the target group. If wishes are fulfilled and expectations met, customers are satisfied and have a positive customer experience. In many cases, customers then give positive feedback, for example in the form of ratings that have a radiating effect on others. A good customer experience therefore helps to retain customers on the one hand, but also to acquire new customers on the other.
Customer Experience Management – controlling the customer experience?
The task of Customer Experience Management (also CEM or CXM) is to positively influence and control the customer experience. A good customer experience is to be created by different measures of different departments. This includes all advertising measures, as well as social media activities, content marketing, service measures and quality controls.
The customer should get the maximum benefit from each contact point and have all information and offers available at any time. One of the most important tasks of the CEM is therefore the definition of the target group. Only in this way can individual needs be explored and all processes aligned accordingly.
However, the individual touchpoints must also be identified in order to make adjustments and continuous optimization. The central instrument for this is the customer journey with the corresponding customer journey map. This map shows all touchpoints that the customer passes through on the way to buying and using a product. Digitalization and the introduction of new channels in particular mean that customer journeys are becoming more and more individualized and more touchpoints are available. Each individual touchpoint must be identified, prioritized and optimized according to a positive customer experience.
Improve the customer experience – but how?
As you have already seen, the customer experience depends on many different contact points in different channels. Strategies should be developed for each one to reach the target group in the best possible way. And then, of course, there are very specific recommendations for action for each individual, based on the respective contact point. Nevertheless, in the following we would like to try to give you some generally applicable tips for increasing the user experience.
Linking online & offline
We have already discussed the trend towards linking online and offline on this blog. We are talking about a so-called omni-channel strategy in which you interlink different channels. This enables customers to switch seamlessly between, for example, stationary retail and an online store. This combination of traditional and digital is particularly user-friendly, as it requires little effort on the part of the customer and can provide him with information anytime and anywhere.
Know the Customer Journey
As mentioned before, the customer journey with the corresponding customer journey map is a central and important aspect when it comes to the user experience. By engaging with it, you learn important things about your customers that can be useful in creating a consistently positive customer experience.
Where does your customer become a customer? Why does he buy the product? What needs does he want to fulfill? Which channels does he use? By asking these questions, you can identify weaknesses and corresponding potential for optimization.
Orientation to the customer
Once you have identified your customers‘ journey with the respective touchpoints, you should now take the customer’s view. Try to put yourself in the customer’s shoes in each process and at each touchpoint and feel their emotions. Are all his wishes and needs fulfilled? Are all actions the customer has to perform intuitive? Is the effort involved low? Where might there be room for improvement? In which step does the customer not yet feel comfortable? Use surveys or feedback terminals in stores to determine preferences and adapt your processes accordingly.
Create emotional loyalty
Products are becoming more and more similar in quality and are becoming qualitatively interchangeable. Digitization, which enables consumers to compare many products with one another, also makes differentiation increasingly difficult. In addition to defining and communicating a clear unique selling point, you should therefore win over your target group on a different level. Create an emotional and personal bond through social media and other marketing measures. Respond to your customers and give them the feeling that they are taken seriously. In this way, you can create positive experiences for your target group.
Involve all important departments
Many departments can provide important data and insights to better define and refine the customer journey map. Optimizing the customer experience should therefore not only be the task of the CEM representatives, but marketing, sales and IT, among others, must also be involved. Only through a holistic orientation of the company towards the customer can the experiences at the contact points be optimized.
To ensure customer loyalty, needs and wishes must be met and expectations exceeded. At each individual touchpoint, the customer must have a positive experience in order to remain loyal to the company as a satisfied customer in the end. This satisfaction can have a radiant emittance on others through positive feedback, word of mouth or evaluations and consequently contribute to the acquisition of new customers. If you know your target group and their journey to your product well, you can optimize your processes and generate sustainable success.