Delivering a great customer experience is extremely important for any business. The reason is simple – the better experience customers have, the fewer customers will churn and the more positive reviews you'll receive.
Let’s go back to basics and analyze what a customer experience strategy is and what specific strategies you can implement within your own business.
What is a customer experience strategy?
In a nutshell, customer experience, or CX for short, is, well, the experience customers have with your business to influence how they view and feel about your brand. It’s shaped by every interaction they have with you – be it a post on social media, a visit to your online store, making a purchase, or communication with your support team.
Each individual interaction forms the customer’s general perception of the business: the customer experience.
Why is the customer experience so important?
In other words, why does the SaaS industry care so much? Why has ‘customer experience’ become such a buzzword in the industry?
The answer is straightforward: if you don’t create a great customer experience, you’re going to lose business.
If, on the other hand, you invest in building memorable experiences, your business is going to benefit in more than one way:
- Customer experience influences purchase decisions. According to PWC research, 73% of customers name experience one of the main factors that drive their decision to buy from a business.
- Customer experience creates resilient and long-lasting relationships between businesses and customers. CX has a direct impact on customer retention – in the B2B sector, 66% of customers abandon a business if their experience with it was poor.
- Good CX increases customer satisfaction. This makes sense, seeing as customer satisfaction is a direct result of all experiences the customer had with the business, and the more positive experiences the customer has, the higher their satisfaction will be.
- Good customer experience leads to higher customer lifetime value (LTV). Obviously, the better experience the customer has, the longer they’ll stay with the business and the higher their lifetime value will be.
9 tips to create a great customer experience strategy
Good CX doesn't just happen on its own. Unsurprisingly, it takes a lot of careful planning and preparation to make each interaction between the customer and the business positive.
In other words, it takes a strategy.
Let’s see how you can build a successful CX strategy and implement it to get the maximum benefits and reduce customer churn.
1. Analyze your business objectives
Your business goals and objectives are a good starting point in shaping your CX strategy. Look at them through the prism of customer experience and see how you can adjust and improve to achieve the goals you have set. Try to answer core questions such as:
- Is our overall business approach customer-centric? If not, what can we do to make it more so?
- What do customers expect from us? Does their experience match their expectations?
- What is our customer satisfaction rate? What can we do to improve it – revamp the product, train our internal team, or implement technology like live chat or chatbots?
- Do customers realize the value of our product?
Answering these questions will help you see where CX stands with respect to your business goals and how you need to shape your CX strategy to achieve them.
2. Research competitors
Today, the competition in the SaaS world is fierce, and businesses invent new tactics to improve CX and attract customers. In such a landscape, it’s a great idea to invest in researching your competition from the point of view of customer experiences.
What do your competitors do to impress customers? Can you do something similar to improve your CX?
Or, on the contrary, is there a tactic that makes you stand out? In such a case, think about how to highlight it to your advantage.
3. Understand who your audience is
The deeper you’re able to understand your demographic, the more likely you are to deliver what they need. If you’re looking for ways to improve customer experience, you need to have this fundamental understanding of your customers.
Such research will help you see why they do business with you and what they expect from you. Based on this knowledge, you will be able to map customer journeys noting each interaction, from an online ad to a product demo, and see how you can improve your flows to create even better customer experiences.
Your research can include the theoretical, or assumptions about the customer based on their demographic, but you should also make an effort to regularly interview real-life existing customers.
Understanding your customer audience and defining personas will help you in many other ways, from targeting your ads and building a content strategy to fine-tuning your product to fit customer expectations.
4. Capture customer feedback in real-time
By collecting feedback, you are bridging the gap between your perception of the CX and your customer’s actual experience.
The important thing is to ask for feedback in real-time, while the impressions are still fresh. This way, you will be getting the most accurate data.
There are so many ways to collect customer feedback. You can do it the old-school way, by reaching out via email or phone. If you use live chat as a communication channel for your service team, you can include a feedback form at the end of each chat.
There are plenty of apps that offer live chat with a feedback option to choose from.
5. Engage in social listening
Every SaaS business has at least some social media presence. Businesses have accounts in the most popular social networks and develop detailed plans and social media calendars to maintain a regular presence and contact with their followers.
However, if you want to learn about the true experience you create with customers, your official accounts and pages may not be enough. Often, the real feedback comes without a direct mention of your brand’s account, and this is where social listening can be handy.
With social listening tools that crawl posts and comments searching for particular keywords or hashtags, you can get a complete picture of what customers ask about you, which problems they have with your product, how they describe your business, and whether they recommend you to their online colleagues.
Use the feedback that you get from social listening to improve your CX strategy and address customers’ pain points they mention in their online discussions.
6. Create an emotional connection with customers
Emotional connections based on empathy can help you understand your customers’ needs and expectations better. This is true even in a B2B customer relationship.
People act based on their beliefs and emotions, even when they make business decisions. Therefore, try to “step into your customer’s shoes” and view your interactions through their eyes.
Do you think they’re comfortable with you? Is your offering in line with their beliefs and principles? How can you adjust it to make your product resonate better with the customer?
7. Make use of automation and AI
Self-service resources play a big role in creating successful CX. 67% of customers prefer a self-service tool over speaking to a representative.
Include implementation of automation and AI tools in your customer experience strategy:
- In a live chat or knowledge base, use AI to guide the customer to the relevant topics by keywords.
- Use an AI-based chatbot as the first line of customer service to identify their issues and direct them to the corresponding experts as quickly as possible.
- Collect your customers’ browsing, inquiry, and purchase data to create personalized emails and notifications.
8. Prioritize team training
Your customer success and support teams should be a part of your CX strategy, too. Their roles are extremely important, as they help customers use your product to its fullest.
Invest into your team training to develop the skills they need to provide excellent service and build great experiences–for a winning CX strategy, this goes beyond product or technical knowledge. Your customer-facing representatives should have plenty of soft skills like:
- Empathy, and
- Emotional intelligence.
9. Measure the ROI
Building a CX strategy is an investment, and investments should bring returns. In customer experience, the ROI is not as visible as in sales, still, it exists and can be measured.
For example, customer-centric businesses were found to be 60% more profitable than those that don’t place the customer at the forefront. Such findings express customer experience ROI in real figures and make it easier to understand whether your strategy is successful or not.
Develop your CX strategy and don’t be afraid to change it
Each business is unique, so it requires a unique CX strategy to make customers happy and retain them as long as possible. The tips gathered in this post may help you shape the strategy that fits your business.
However, the world is changing fast, and even the best customer experience strategy may need improvement somewhere along the way. Always keep your ear to the ground and be prepared to act quickly to respond to new challenges.