In today’s modern world, businesses of all industries and sizes are continuing to realize the importance of customer experience and the customer journey with their customers. As customers become increasingly aware of the different options available to them, it is no surprise that the most frequent deciding factor between which brand to do business with is how pleasant the customer experience (CX) is. But what exactly is customer experience, and how can you use your customer experience objectives to create a more streamlined and seamless experience for your valued customers? This is where developing and implementing a customer experience strategy comes into the picture.
Put simply, a customer experience strategy refers to a business’s actionable plans and processes in place to deliver a pleasant experience for its customers. Since customer experience is characterized by the sum of all customer interactions with your business, your customer experience strategy must cover all of the possible touchpoints that your customers come into contact with, both physical and digital. This includes all stages of the customer journey as well as your advertising and marketing efforts.
A customer experience strategy differs from traditional business strategies because it places the focus on the customer rather than the business or the brand’s products. This allows your business to create more personalized and engaging experiences for customers because you are using their experiences as the centerpiece of your strategy. A customer experience strategy is especially important for businesses that participate in the online market because there are so many options for customers to choose from that you need to provide them with a reason to choose your business over a competitor. Additionally, online shopping can be frustrating for customers when interfaces are difficult to use or businesses do not get back to them promptly.
So, you may now be wondering why a customer experience strategy is important and how to increase customer experience satisfaction for your business. Luckily, these two concepts are directly related to one another. If you want to improve your customer experience and offer more satisfying experiences, you will want to implement a customer experience strategy. A good customer experience strategy typically incorporates some or all of the following tasks.
- Review your current customer experience strategy or practices
- Create or study your customer journey map
- Determine which areas of this journey can be improved, where there is friction currently
- Determine strategies for improvement or partner with an expert organization for guidance and recommendations
- Discover or uncover your customers’ expectations by studying feedback, talking directly to them, and looking at industry trends
- Determine how you can solve their key problems via digital and physical touchpoints
- Collect feedback from customers routinely and frequently analyzing this feedback
- Tracking your customer experience performance and behavioral analytics
- Make changes based on feedback, trends, or other factors to provide the best customer experience for your audience.
Customer Experience Definition
Before diving into developing your own customer experience strategy and improving your customer experiences, you need to understand what customer experience really is. In short, customer experience is your customers’ overall impression of your business. This experience is determined by all aspects of the customer journey and is influenced by your products as well as your online presence, user interfaces, customer service, your values as an organization, and even your overall branding. A good customer experience will result in a happy customer — who is much more likely to become a repeat customer, promote your business to their friends and family, and otherwise support your brand and your offerings. On the other hand, a bad customer experience can lead to the opposite, which can damage your chances of gaining a loyal customer and/or damage your reputation.
After all of that, you may be wondering, what makes a great customer experience? Put simply, customers want a simple, frictionless, and personalized experience when they interact with a business. This is especially true when it comes to any digital touchpoints throughout the customer journey. These touchpoints may include digital menus or catalogs, online ordering or purchasing interfaces, customer service solutions (such as bots or chats), or even your business’s social media advertisements. Since so many people today utilize online shopping in their everyday lives, it is absolutely essential that any and all digital touchpoints your business has are a frictionless and pleasant experience for your customers — otherwise, you’re likely to lose them before they get to the end of their customer journey.
There are three main components to customer experience, and a great customer experience will have a good strategy for each of these components and create an overall pleasant experience. So, what are the 3 main components of customer experience? These components are acquisition, engagement, and retention. Acquisition refers to how a company attracts and interacts with a consumer for the first time. Engagement refers to the way that customers interact with your brand and your products or services over time. The easier this is, and the more interesting and personalized your intersections are, the better your engagement will be. Finally, retention refers to your ability to keep customers over time and keep them coming back (aka loyalty and advocacy). A great customer experience will satisfy the customer in all three of these areas.
How To Improve Customer Experience
Now that you know how important it is to offer a pleasant customer experience for your audience, you may be wondering how you can actually improve your business’s customer experience. Since customer experience is crucial for businesses of all sizes and industries, you can find many “10 ways to improve customer experience” articles online that may help spark ideas or offer inspirational examples of improving customer experience satisfaction for your business or others like it.
Suppose you are looking for innovative ideas to improve customer experience. In that case, you may want to consider following marketing and advertising trends in your industry as well as focusing on your own customer data and feedback. Some examples of practical tips you can use to improve your customer experience are:
- Focusing on your customer journey and determining where your customers are hitting the most resistance in their journeys.
- Optimizing your digital experiences for a seamless online experience.
- Implement a centralized customer data model to more effectively analyze customer data.
- Adopting an agile mindset that focuses on evolving with the times — not tinkering with a single thing until it is perfect if it is no longer useful.
- Listening to the market around you and checking out competitors.
While there are seemingly endless ways to improve customer experience online, we advise picking up to 5 ways to improve customer experience, trying them out, and see if they are effective for your business before trying any other approaches. This can help lessen the possibility of not understanding what has brought on the positive change in your customer experiences and, therefore, may make it easier for you to pinpoint which areas are getting the most improvement.
Customer Experience Examples
Suppose you are unsure where to go with your own customer experience strategy or are wondering how a successfully implemented strategy can positively impact a business, looking at customer experience. In that case, customer experience strategy examples can be a great resource for your business. You can find a number of in-depth examples online, and we will explore some here as well.
Specific to the restaurant/QSR industry, one great customer experience strategy example to take inspiration is Chick-fil-A One. This well-known fast-food company found that its kitchens could operate much faster than the front of the house could take orders — which resulted in incredibly long lines and many lost sales as customers turned elsewhere for their meals. To combat this issue, Chick-fil-A came up with the mobile loyalty app Chick-fil-A One, which dramatically increased business efficiency while eliminating the frustration of long wait times for its customers. The app allows customers to skip the long waits in a line as well as easily customize their orders. It also makes reordering extremely easy so customers can have increased convenience when ordering.
Another great example of how improving customer experience can positively affect a business is Fiesta Restaurant Group. By dramatically simplifying the previously complex menus of two of its franchise fast-casual restaurants, Fiesta Restaurant Group improved general customer experiences and made ordering easier for its customers.
More examples of how to leverage digital to create memorable customer experience strategies for your customers can be found here.
Customer Experience Strategy Framework
When creating your own customer experience strategy, you will want to implement practices that help streamline and simplify your most important areas of the customer journey first. These areas will form the core customer experience design principles on which you will base your CX strategy to improve your overall customer journey and gain more satisfied customers. If you do not know where to begin or are unsure how to determine which areas of your customer journey should be improved, it can help to look online for customer experience (CX) presentations. Today, customer experience is essentially synonymous with a brand, meaning that customers view your brand as the experience more than just the provider of products or services. Because of this, if a brand wants to be sought out in the increasingly competitive market, it needs to offer a good customer experience.
Whether you make use of customer experience presentation ideas to inspire your own strategy or you focus on key components of any good customer experience strategy — such as listening to the market, utilizing your customer data, leveraging innovative digital touchpoints, and adopting an agile mindset — your goal should be in creating an effective framework for you to improve your business’s customer experience. This framework will help you prioritize the most important areas to improve, as well as help you track performance and progress in your customer experience satisfaction rates.