Top-Shelf Tip No. 181:

"The customer experience is the next competitive battleground."

Jerry Gregoire

Seven Ways To Improve The Customer Experience, Part 1

A good customer experience doesn't just happen organically. Companies who do it right spend a great deal of time understanding what's important to that customer. For example, take a look at Nordstrom. The department store is known for creating a great customer experience, from its selection of clothes to its personal shoppers to its return policies. And this experience pays off, as the company can charge more for their goods and customers accept that price threshold because of the value they receive.

Today and tomorrow in Promotional Consultant Today, we'll take a look at seven ways to create a great customer experience strategy to help you improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn and increase revenues.

1. Create a clear customer experience vision. The first step in your customer experience strategy is to have a clear customer-focused vision that you can communicate with your organization. The easiest way to define this vision is to create a set of statements that act as guiding principles.

For example, Zappos embeds its core family values into the company culture, which includes delivering "wow" service, being humble and embracing change.

Once these principles are in place, they will drive the behavior of your organization. Every member of your team should know these principles by heart and they should be embedded into all areas of training and development.

2. Understand your customers. The next step in building upon these experience principles is to bring to life the different types of customers who deal with your support teams. If your organization is going to really understand customer needs and wants, then they need to be able to connect and empathize with the situations that your customers face.

One way to do this is to create customer personas and give each persona a name and personality. For example, Anne is 35 years old; she likes new technology and is tech savvy enough to follow a video tutorial on her own, whereas John (42 years old) needs to be able to follow clear instructions on a web page.

By creating personas, your customer support team can recognize who customers are and understand them better. It's also an important step in becoming truly customer centric.

3. Create an emotional connection with your customers. The best customer experiences are achieved when a member of your team creates an emotional connection with a customer. Research by The Journal of Consumer Research has found that more than 50 percent of an experience is based on emotions as they shape the attitudes that drive decisions.

Customers become loyal because they are emotionally attached, and they remember how they feel when they use a product or service. A business that optimizes for an emotional connection outperforms competitors in sales by 85 percent.

According to a recent Harvard Business Review study, The New Science of Customer Emotions, emotionally engaged customers are:

  • At least three times more likely to recommend your product or service
  • Three times more likely to re-purchase
  • Less likely to shop around (44 percent said they rarely or never shop around)
  • Much less price sensitive (33 percent said they would need a discount of over 20 percent before they would defect).

Still not convinced about the value of the customer experience? Read PCT again tomorrow for more reasons why the customer experience makes a difference to your bottom line.

Source: Driven by a passion for customer relationship management (CRM), SuperOffice makes award-winning CRM software for sales, marketing and customer service. As the leading European CRM provider, SuperOffice is trusted and used by more than 6,000 companies.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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