You go into a store. The lights are dim and it’s hard to see. You look around for someone to help you find what you need but no one is there. None of the sections are clearly marked and the space is cluttered. Will you brave the storm and complete your purchase or will you walk out? This question is exactly why customer experience (CX) is the one marketing tool you should never neglect.
Customer experience is the invisible and unsung hero of most successful marketing strategies because it focuses on the usability of your offering: how easy it is for customers to interact with your product or service, how it makes them feel during the interaction, and how every element supports the others to create something whole and compelling.
CX is a customer-centered and empathic way of looking at your business. It is made up of your physical environment, your website, your product or service, the community you build, and customer service itself. Each element must be viewed through the eyes of the customer who will navigate them to purchase from you and, hopefully, go on to tell others about their experience.
Why is Customer Experience Important?
Looking back to the question from the store scenario, it wouldn’t be surprising if you chose to walk out. Why? Your experience as a customer was terrible because every aspect of the store worked against you buying from it. A good experience means a returning customer who may bring more customers with them, but a bad experience means one customer and counting lost forever.
In fact, a study from the Harvard Business Review found that 23% of customers who had a positive experience told at least 10 people about it.
How Can I Improve My CX?
Good CX is CX that is continuously evolving. It takes into account any shift in consumer behaviours or experiences and adapts to meet new needs that arise. For those who want to turn on the metaphorical lights, here are some tried and true customer experience tips we recommend:
User Research and Data Collection
CX is based on the idea of building an enjoyable and pain-free experience for customers but that cannot be done without first understanding your customer base.
Who are they? What do they like? Why are they interested in your brand? Where are they from? What are their goals?
Answer these questions by using the consumer data you collect from your website, and your social media or any information you may collect from clients in-person, through surveys or any other means to gain better insight into their wants and needs and how you may be able to set the bar higher.
Website optimization is a practice strongly linked to UX, or ‘user experience’, which is not to be confused with CX. Although they have certain things in common and both aim to improve the experience for the customer or the end-user, CX is a more encompassing approach while UX focuses more specifically on improving the design and the user interface to make it as relevant as possible for whoever is going to interact with it.
For instance, if you think of your website, it needs to communicate with your customers. It has to be as human as possible and create a pleasant experience by helping them achieve whatever it is that they came to your website to do.
Some of the easiest ways to ensure that your website acts as a helping hand are as follows:
- Prevent website errors as much as possible
- Make it easy to undo previous actions or return to previous pages
- Provide direction on what to do next (call to actions, buttons, etc.)
- Save any information customers have previously inputted
Online and Offline Consistency
The most important, and somehow most forgotten, tip to create a compelling experience for your customers is to make sure that their experience with you is the same in person as it is on the Internet.
Customers may first come into contact with you online and will develop a certain impression. If it’s a good impression and their expectations were met, it’s not unlikely that they’ll take the next step to come and visit your business in person. Do you think they’ll want to come back if the service is touch and go? Or if they’re being told a completely different story about your brand?
Again, the answer is undoubtedly no. The same can be said for the reverse: your customers will not go to your online presence to further connect with you if their in-store experience was terrible or not what they expected. Worse, they might take their bad experience to the Internet and share it in all sorts of ways.
Simply put, positive experiences with a business, online and offline, lead to sales and repeat business. This relationship between online and offline experiences is crucial to customer experience, and to doing business as a whole.
How We Can Help You
Here at The Storyteller, we understand that communication is key.
We can help improve your CX in a variety of ways, from performing an audit of your key marketing tools and touch points, to developing a customer experience strategy, to writing compelling copy that will allow your website to generate more leads.
Contact us to find out more about how we can be of service and subscribe to our newsletter to learn about other helpful tools you may be overlooking!