According to a Salesforce report, “80% of customers say the experience a company provides is just as necessary as its products or services”. It comes as no surprise then that over the years “more than two-thirds of companies have competed primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from only 36% in 2010”.
As we’ve witnessed time and time again, customers aren’t settling for “okay” experiences. They want exceptional, memorable experiences that cater to unique needs.
And as preferences shift and markets become saturated, developing a plan to compete on experience can help push you in front of the eyes of potential customers and build lasting relationships with current ones.
With that being said, let’s take a deeper look into why you should be competing on customer experience and how you can get started with your own customer experience program today.
Why You Should Be Competing On Customer Experience
There’s no shortage of considerations when it comes to developing a strategy to stand out. Price, quality, service level, the list goes on.
While focusing on one of these items can help you in the short term, it’s the cumulative experience that sets you apart for the long term. This means developing relationships with your customers and enhancing elements of your service or product to reflect what the customer wants.
In our eBook, Experience is Everything; Here’s How You Get It Right, we highlighted an important statistic; that, 9 out of 10 businesses are now competing on customer experience.
Because it works.
When you compete on the experience you dedicate your practice to understanding the customer, learning their preferences and taking action. It puts the customer at the forefront and they always notice.
To reinforce the benefits of customer experience, aside from improving your businesses competitiveness, here are 3 more reasons why you should be competing on customer experience:
1) Stand Out To Potential Customers
A memorable, tailored and positive experience encourages positive word-of-mouth marketing. Think of all the people a single customer connects with throughout the day and then consider the reach that positive praise has on social media. When you meet and exceed customer needs it’s more far-reaching than you think.
2) Improve Customer Retention
Improve ROI and build lasting relationships. When you get customer feedback and take action on it, you show customers the value of what they say. Further, you improve satisfaction, because their needs are being met. Something as simple as carrying a certain product or lengthening your opening hours because a handful of customers suggested it – can make all the difference in brand preference.
3) Greater Employee Engagement
Happy customers equal happy employees. Consider the fact that your employees constantly engage with customers. Whether in person, virtually or over the phone, an employee who feels confident in the experience is better at communicating, more helpful and drives satisfaction. These all play a part in healthy and happy workplace culture.
How To Start Competing on Customer Experience
As we’ve touched on, a positive experience starts with understanding your customer. After all, you can’t cater to them if you don’t know what they want.
In this next section, we share some helpful tips on how you can start the process of competing on experience. While we cover some key points, this is by no means holistic. For greater insight on the below topics, click here.
Map The Customer Journey
Understanding your customer journey is the first step. This includes mapping at each key touchpoint, across every channel you offer.
Not only will this help you understand the purchase journey but also where engagement can improve. For example, where do customers drop off in the experience? Why? Is there an opportunity for recovery? What are common trending topics that customers are messaging you about? How can you use these to your advantage?
Answering these questions and pinpointing them on a detailed map will allow you to better understand your business operations, offer a personalized experience and deepen the customer relationship.
Understand Gaps & Opportunities
From your customer journey map and a lot of internal strategizing, you’ll more often than not find a plethora of customer experience gaps that you can turn into opportunities. Things like;
- Missing message requests from Facebook Messenger because employees don’t check it as often
- Key touchpoints you aren’t engaging customers on like point of sale
- Sending templated messages without personalization
Once you understand what main barriers stand in your way you can begin to build out your experience plan and enable proactive measures for a better experience.
Look Into A Solution To Streamline Processes
As you’ll soon come to find, developing a thriving customer experience program can get complicated if you don’t have the solutions to assist. Manual data entry, paper surveys, managing multiple communication channels, while guessing customer sentiment; it’s a lot of work that’s prone to error.
With a solution designed to enhance the customer experience, you get a leg up on your competition. Take the Loop Experience Platform for example, with it you can enable real-time communication, automating surveys to send at key moments within the customer journey (think arrival, on-site and after they’ve left). Once the surveys are filled out, Loop takes the data and places it into visual graphs and charts so you can understand your experience in its simplest form. Need to send it to your stakeholders to show your progress? Loop also enables exporting features for many different file types like PDF and Sheets, so you’re always prepared.
Lastly, Loop comes equipped with omni channel capabilities so no message is left unread. From Facebook Messenger to WhatsApp and email, all of your communication channels are effortlessly siloed into a single unified inbox – to take on the go or be addressed at your desk.
Developing a solid customer experience should be a key process when building your business.
With so many companies today competing on experience alone and developing their strategies to be more consumer-centric, it’s important to take the time to understand how you can stand out through a more personalized approach. You’ll find that once you understand your customers, the possibilities of improving are endless and competing on the experience is simplified.
Want more tips on how to constantly enhance your customer experience? Click here to sign-up for our Loop Report and get the latest customer experience insights delivered straight to your inbox.