By: First Union
What is Customer Experience and Why Does it Matter?
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When a customer has a positive experience with your products/services, you not only have a happy customer, but you open the door to retain their business and possibly receive referrals based on their experience. But customer experience goes beyond customer support; customer experience is the holistic perception your customers have of your brand. Customer experience is the customer's entire interaction, from start to finish, with your company.
Imagine this: you are at a department store searching for the perfect gift for your significant other. You come across a beautiful watch that you know they'll love. You look up for help and see three sales associates looking down at their phones near the register. You try to gain their attention, and when you do, one sales associate shuffles over with an exaggerated exhale, a look of disinterest, and a negative attitude. You ask the sales associate questions, and every question is answered with sarcasm and impatience.
Rewind. You're in the same store, looking for the same person, and you come across the same watch. You look up to find an associate and you notice they have already started to make their way toward you. They greet you with a friendly smile and ask you if you want to see anything. You ask them questions and they're answered in a pleasant and understanding tone and continue by asking you questions to make sure your purchase is right for you.
Based on the entire experience - from the moment you walked in the door to the moment you left, which experience would yield customer retention and satisfaction? How likely are you to buy the watch from the sales associate with attitude versus the sales associate who took an interest in your purchase? How likely are you to return to the store based on the customer experience you had? Did you notice anything about the department store as you were leaving based on that interaction that may have been triggered by the sales associate's customer service skills? Was there a negative waterfall effect that resulted in you deciding to return/not return to the department store?
Customer experience is impacted by everything you do, which is why it's a great way to measure your company's success. Companies that have proven successful with customer experience have found an:
- Increase in customer loyalty and retention
- Increase in customer satisfaction and positive company reviews
- Increase in the success of referral programs and marketing campaigns
Make Sure to Put Your Customers First
Every business is different. Every customer is different. And most interactions are different, which makes it difficult to provide a step-by-step plan to increase customer experience. However, there are a few principles that can always be followed to help your customers have a positive experience:
- Always be kind and patient with customers
- Collect customer feedback, so you can fully understand your customer's wants and needs
- Listen to your customers and make sure it's a priority for all of your employees
- Create a customer support/business inquiry workflow and tracking system, so you can analyze data overtime
- If customers must come on-site to your company's location, maintain a clean, safe, and welcoming environment
Don't Make These Customer Experience Mistakes
The last thing you want to do is make your customer's experience unpleasant. Many factors contribute to negative customer experience. Some of the top reasons reported as to why customers did not enjoy their experience are:
- Employees who do not understand what they are selling/supporting
- Lack of understanding of customer needs
- Long or extended waiting periods
- Lack of transparency
- Inefficient customers support (e.g., unresolved issues, unresolved customer support tickets, unresolved questions, etc./)
- Rude, angry, or disgruntled employees
- Lack of a personalized service
- Human interaction replaced by automation
Go back and look at your customer feedback - is it positive? Negative? What types of complaints have been made about your company or the service you provide? The beauty of customer experience is that it can be ever-changing and mold to what is best for your customers. Always remember - putting customers first is always a smart business move.
Also, think about your experience as a customer outside of your company. Which companies do you interact with that provide a great customer experience that you can reflect upon and possibly implement for your company? Have you recently had a positive experience as a customer that you can learn from? Keep your ear to the ground for new or recycled methods to improve customer experience. Chances are other business owners in your network who are regularly looking at how to measure and improve their customer's experience.
Measure Your Company's Success
If you are serious about increasing your company customer experience success, you will want to start asking your customer questions and tracking the answers over time. When you can measure customer experience, you have hard statistics to support decisions made on how you plan to make improvements.
Four questionnaires and trackers that have proven successful over time that you may consider for tracking customer experience are:
Customer Effort Score (CES/)
- The CES model measures customer experience with a productservice in terms of difficulty or ease. They are typically measured on a scale of one (very difficult/) to seven (very easy/).
Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSAT/)
The CSAT model measures customer satisfaction with the productservice with:
- A one-to-five/seven-point scale, where one indicates the customer is very unsatisfied and five/seven indicates the customer is very satisfied.
- Yes or No questions
Net Promoter Score® (NPS/)
- The NPS model measures a customer's loyalty score. This is accomplished by asking one simple question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely would you recommend these products/services to a friend or colleague?"
Time To Resolution (TTR/)
- The TTR model measures the average length of time it takes for customer service to resolve a question/issue/ticket once it has been opened/submitted by the customer. Typically, this model is measured in minutes or hours. This is a great indicator of how long a customer is waiting on a resolution, which can be a main pain-point in customer experience.
When it comes to the customer experience your company provides, put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. Consider tracking customer satisfaction to measure trends over time with the intent to better serve your customers. When you provide great customer experience, the perception of your company improves, and with an improved perception you will find an increase in revenue and customer retention.
Looking to Invest in Customer Experience?
If you find yourself needing to cover costs associated with your customer's experience, you may need financing. First Union Lending is here to help.
We have nine different business loan types to choose from. This means that we're uniquely qualified to help you find the perfect loan to open your small business.
Applying for a business loan doesn't affect your credit. Better yet, your business loan may be approved as soon as the same day.
To discuss our business loans with one of our lending experts, click here or call 863-825-5626. We'll talk about our various business loans and help you find the right one to improve your customer experience.
Get started with the process now by learning more about our business loan types here.