Can your business predict problems before they occur? Are you optimizing your website to meet customer demands, streamline information, and deliver 5 Star Customer Experiences? If so, then you’ve probably dabbled in experience management. If not, then you’ve come to the right place.
Improving the customer experience needs to be top of mind as you begin to focus on customer-centricity. So how do you make your company stand out? Through streamlining processes for personalized customer experiences. Over 70% of customers remain loyal to brands who provide positive experiences, leading to overall customer retention in the long run.
That means you can’t just respond to problems when they occur. You need to use experience management to create proactive solutions that prevent issues from arising.
How does this work? Let’s start by defining experience management (XM). XM is the process of closely monitoring every interaction a consumer has with a company to find opportunities for improvement.
Why Experience Management Matters
As more and more business is conducted through digital storefronts, you should look for ways to provide the best experience possible.
According to our 2022 B2B Report, 94% of buyers agree their company prefers to work with suppliers that continuously evolve their digital capabilities and are willing to instantly switch when needs are not met. That’s a pretty significant statement. Customer experience is about more than knowing where and what your customers buy. It’s about being able to craft a personal experience that meets all your customers’ needs, driving long-lasting loyalty.
How It Works?
Experience management is data-driven. This data can be gathered in a variety of ways. For example:
- Customer relationship management tools
- Analyzing bounce rates, exit rates, and conversion rates on your website
- Web-based, in-person or phone surveys
- Moderated user forums and blogs
- Focus groups
- Direct contact in person or by phone
- Analysis of specific customers or unique problems
After analyzing the data available, think about how it can be implemented into your business practices. A great way to utilize data is by improving and personalizing the customer experience. Customer data allows you to create a comprehensive customer profile, making it easier to create individualized experiences while also modifying your digital presence to better suit the current industry.
Data also leads to better decision-making. Having concrete numbers helps guide your business decisions and minimizes overall financial losses. One way to utilize data for decision making is A/B testing. This is beneficial for pulling insights, validating hypotheses, changing strategic course, and visualizing the results to get a bigger picture.
You can also use your data to streamline operations. By gathering data, a picture of where possible bottlenecks originate within the organization is generated, so you can prevent any future problems that may arise.
Data can also give you a deeper understanding of customer engagement online. Data tells us how consumers are interacting with marketing campaigns and can adjust accordingly.
Finally, data can be used to mitigate risk but also handle any setbacks. Data helps you take preventive measures, limiting losses after a setback occurs.
What is the Digital Customer Experience?
Customer service and customer experience management are related, but they’re not one in the same. Customer service is assisting a customer with a product or service your business provides.
Customer experience runs deeper. It involves all the ways a business interacts with a customer. Then, managing data pulled from these interactions to create better experiences in the future. This includes online platforms, apps, and social media. Ultimately, wherever your customers are engaging with your brand via the internet, there is a digital customer experience.
What Defines a Good Omnichannel Customer Experience?
By integrating a strong omnichannel customer strategy, companies retain an average of 89% of their customers, in comparison to 33% of companies with weak strategies. So what makes an omnichannel customer experience good?
A good customer experience is one that incorporates multiple channels all working towards the same goal. These experiences meet customers’ expectations such as ease, convenience, and speed. The Five-Star Experience Management Maturity Model is a great way to measure your company’s maturity in the digital experience management space. A successful digital experience is:
- Intentional. Digital experiences must be created with a purpose. What is the action you want your customers to take with each experience you create?
- Consistent. A quality digital experience requires a standard brand persona that transcends individual touchpoints.
- Measurable. Your customers’ interactions with your experiences must be quantifiable. That can be the amount of revenue an experience generated, or the number of web visits. Consider which metrics matter most to your organization.
- Valuable. Every digital experience you invest in must drive revenue or other outcomes important to your business (e.g., downloads or web traffic).
- Personal. You must have an understanding of your audience that’s deep enough to deliver tailored experiences. Looking to increase your website personalization? Check out the Personalization Guide here.
How has the Customer Journey changed in the Digital Age?
The rapid shift to digital in 2020 resulted in the consumerization of business tools, creating independent buyers with higher expectations. These buyers are willing to switch services if experiences aren’t up to their standards. Customers no longer have the patience for journeys that are hindered by inefficient systems. Your buyers expect businesses to understand who they are and what they want at all times.
With a rapid shift to digital, from retail businesses utilizing delivery and curbside pickup, individuals working remotely, and consumers starting to use digital shopping, contactless payment and subscriptions, the need for seamless customer journeys is more demanding than ever.
What is a Customer’s Journey and How is it Characterized?
The customer journey is the holistic journey that an individual has with your business. It refers to the path of interactions, both direct and indirect from awareness of existing pain points to becoming a user. Every customer has a different journey with different marketing touchpoints. It is the marketer’s job to guide customers through the journey that they believe is the best outcome for both the brand and the customer.
How to map the customer journey from your customers
It’s important to map the customer journey because it allows for the visualization of your end-to-end customer experience. This exercise will show all the places and touchpoints customers come into contact with. When it comes to creating a customer journey map consider:
The Buying Process
Gather data from relevant sources (prospecting tools, CMS, behavior analytics tools) to accurately chart your customer’s path from first to last contact. While creating the buying process, take into account your objectives, target customer personas, and touchpoints.
Detail what a customer does in each stage of the buying process to explore how your customers move through and behave at each stage. Remember, a customer journey map tracks the experience of a customer taking a particular path. Make sure to consider other buyer personas so your map accurately reflects the most important buying experiences.
Do you know your customers’ biggest headaches? Your data can give you the full picture. Identify them to help mitigate negative emotions at various points of the buying process. Then add pain points to your customer journey map to help identify which stage your customer is experiencing negative emotions and deduce the reasons why.
Come to conclusions for potential ways to improve your buying process so that customers encounter fewer pain points. Start by prioritizing and fixing roadblocks and then reassess your strategy through updates and improvements.
How to Get Started
One of the biggest shifts in recent years has been consumer demand for personalized experiences. In fact, it is so important that according to a recent Avionos study, 85% of buyers said they’d deflect from a supplier whose digital channel couldn’t keep up with their needs. A great way to combat this shift is through implementing experience management.
A good first step is to clearly dictate what your customer needs by listening to your data. From there, you can begin to prioritize how the vision you have for your company aligns with customer perception, and then finally, you can act on your insights.