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Deliver an Impactful Customer Experience Strategy in 5 Steps

eCommerce
June 15, 2022
Deliver an Impactful Customer Experience Strategy in 5 Steps

Marketing, sales, and growth leaders are screaming “customer is king”. There is a palpable FOMO around customer-centricity:

“Every day we're saying, ‘How can we keep this customer happy?’ How can we get ahead in innovation by doing this, because if we don’t, somebody else will.” – Bill Gates

But what we are missing is a concrete guide that showcases how to build better customer experiences. 

In this step-by-step guide, we will dive deep and showcase how to set up a customer experience strategy from the ground up to delight your customers. 

What is customer experience?

Customer experience (abbreviated as CX) is the sum of all impressions your customers get as they go through the customer journey. This includes every customer engagement at every customer touchpoint: from brand discovery through purchase and all the post-purchase interactions. 

As you can see, CX is a bit abstract. It is built around the seemingly intangible “customer perceptions” of your brand. 

Sure, sometimes we can gauge how happy our customers are through customer feedback. 

But there is a better way to understand and improve the customer experience by building a measurable, repeatable, scalable, and impactful customer experience strategy. 

What is a customer experience strategy?

A CX strategy is a customer experience management plan. It defines and tracks every data point that helps you understand your customer needs and increase your customer satisfaction by delivering a great customer experience. 

Before we dive deeper into how to create a CX strategy, let’s ask ourselves the hard questions: is the effort worth it?

Why is customer experience so important?

In short, the quality of customer experience affects your bottom line.

The longer answer has three ways in which a poor customer experience hurts your company’s financials.

1. Loss of customers

Research from PwC shows that 1 in 3 customers will walk away from your business after a single bad experience

Customers’ expectations are rising. 

The modern consumer expects excellent service and will walk away from great brands if the experiences they provide are not up to par. 

But the negative effects of a dissatisfied customer do not stop at the customer themself. Unhappy customers are more vocal than happy customers. Through word-of-mouth, they spread the dissatisfaction that poisons the minds of other potential consumers. And people take negative feedback more seriously: 

“It takes roughly 40 positive customer experiences to undo the damage of a single negative review.” - Andrew Thomas

But there is hope. 

Once you meet the customers’ expectations, you keep them. Happy customers showcase higher brand loyalty. Providing a good customer experience leads to increased customer loyalty.

2. Loss of potential revenue

A great customer experience leads to greater spending. Research by McKinsey shows that across business verticals, companies that care for the customer experience and personalize their communication with the customer benefit from an overall 40% increase in revenue.

A superb customer experience is directly tied to a price premium. 

A great customer experience does not only increase the perceived value of the product and services bought. It also acts as a trusted intermediary to increase the spending size. 

Consumers are willing to pay 13-18% more for the same products when offered an excellent customer experience.

3. Loss of opportunities to competition

Garter’s research found that companies in many verticals have capped the gains obtained from improving pricing or product quality. So they made customer satisfaction their competitive advantage. 81% of companies compete primarily on customer experience

If you do not focus on improving the customer experience, your competition will. 

Not all is lost, though. There is a lot of room for improvement. 

Even companies that have not invested in customer experience yet have a chance to catch up. Why? Because the opportunity gap is quite wide: 54% of U.S. consumers say customer experience at most companies needs improvement.

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Why do you need data for improving customer experience?

Without data, three things happen:

  1. You’re flying blind. You might be tempted to trust your gut feeling and optimize the customer interactions with your chatbot. But if you “measured before you managed”, you would’ve realized the majority of customers have a very positive experience with the chatbot. They are raging over its jokes on social media. Reading the same Linkedin comments and analyzing the data, though, you might have found that you are losing customers over their interactions with the customer success team. The customer support team’s ticketing system is just a massive pain point. That makes the customers leave. 
  2. Managerial approval is hard to get. You need top-down support if you want to enact change throughout the organization. The same goes for implementing a successful CX strategy. Data helps you align with business goals and showcase how much CX improvements affected the bottom line. 
  3. Small progress is unseen and demotivational without KPIs. KPIs are not just a tool for management to torture the rest of the team. They help you keep motivated and focused on goals. Even small increments in metrics can raise spirits. Tracking customer experience metrics with data and KPIs helps you make your work visible across the organization and motivate your team members to improve processes. One small victory at the time. 

You might ask yourself: what data best measures the customer experience? 

Customer experience metrics

There are two ways to assess the CX via metrics.

The first type of metric help you understand the overall customer experience. The metrics here include:

  • NPS - net promoter score. An overall measure of how likely the customer is to recommend your product or brand to their network.
  • CSAT - Customer Satisfaction Score. An overall measure of how satisfied a customer is with your product or services.
  • Customer Churn. A measure of how many (%) customers stopped doing business with you. It is directly connected with retention.
  • And other metrics, like customer lifetime value (LTV), customer ratings (e.g. Google Reviews), etc.

The second type of metric help you understand specific customer engagement and measure a single customer touchpoint. The metrics are used to understand each step of the customer journey, for example:

  • Cart Abandonment Rate - helps you understand how good the CX of your shopping journey is within your e-commerce.
  • CTR on ads - tells you how many customers found your visuals, copy, and general ad interesting enough to click on it.
  • And other metrics (here is a detailed list if you want to dig into it). 

Now that we established the link between CX and revenue, and showcased how data can drive a better understanding of CX, let us dive into the core of the guide - the guide to making an outstanding CX strategy.

The 5 steps for creating a great customer experience strategy

There are five simple steps to create a CX strategy that will put you ahead of your competition.

STEP 1: Create a customer journey map

A customer journey map helps you collect in one place all the customer touchpoints. Think of all the different types of customer engagements and list them:

  1. Pre-purchase touchpoints. All the ways a new customer can learn about your company and brand. This includes emails newsletters, social media, digital marketing ads, blog posts, and all other acquisition channels. Don’t limit yourself, include the entire omnichannel. 
  2. Purchase or main activity. Your main digital assets, such as website and web app. How do users log in/sign up, what activities can they perform on your site, how does the purchase funnel look like, how do the recommendation systems work (“People like you also bought …”), and other functionalities.
  3. Post-purchase touchpoints. List every touchpoint and contact a customer can have with you. These can be proactive (e.g. calling the contact center for a refund, talking to customer support regarding some issues), or responsive (customer feedback surveys like NPS, reviews, post-purchase emails, comments under self-service knowledge base articles, etc.).

You can easily spend a couple of minutes just jotting down all the different customer engagements on post its.

If you run out of ideas, think about your customer base via personas. Often we only imagine a single target audience when building the customer journey map. In reality, customers can be segmented into a couple of personas, who interact with your company and products in different ways via different paths. 

STEP 2: Start collecting data from every touchpoint

If you have not already, collect data for every touchpoint. Software tools are your friends. Often, you will deploy devoted tools to do the heavy lifting for you. 

For example, Google Analytics can help you track conversion rates through your e-commerce shopping funnel. Delighted helps you automate collecting customer feedback via NPS and CSAT surveys. Etc.

(check the extensive list of tools that can help you speed up data collection)

Pro tip: Collect all your data into a single database. This will help you keep your data orderly and accessible for all analytics. 

STEP 3: Create a CX implementation roadmap by establishing your CX strengths and weaknesses 

Once you collect all your CX data and metrics, you can more easily understand what areas need prioritization.

The best way to establish what needs sorting is to find the biggest pain points for your customers. This can be in the form of a conversion rate drop-down (e.g. customer purchase great, until the checkout step, where everyone drops off massively) or determining if your overall metrics (NPS, CSAT …) are way below industry benchmarks

Once prioritized, you can create a roadmap that specifies which part of the customer experience you will improve first.

STEP 4: Deliver a great CX 

Delivering a great customer experience is all about delighting the customer. 

There are two easy ways to create better customer experiences:

  1. Remove obstacles to customer satisfaction. Often customers will be very vocal about what the biggest pain point is. Slow shipping? Unresponsive support team? Focus on what will improve your customer needs the most. This is usually done in the form of cross-organizational initiatives that test and try if a new approach to working with customers works. You do not have to know all the answers. Often, you will try and experiment with different solutions, until you notice that a metric has moved in the right direction. 
  2. Empower your frontline team. Think about what every stakeholder across your company might need to better improve customer experience. For a lot of coworkers, understanding what works and what makes customers angry is already valuable. Make sure to share your insights with them with regular reporting. But you can even empower them further. Build self-serve tools that help them solve customer problems. For example, the Customer 360 view can be used by almost any department to quickly understand what the customer wants and how to elevate their experience. 

STEP 5: Optimize and repeat

Creating a great customer experience is a process, not an end goal. The moment you will solve one issue, raise a metric above a benchmark, and get customers happy replies, new opportunities for improvement will arise (aka, the corporate lingo for “customer problems”).

A great customer experience strategy acknowledges that. 

Include in your customer experience strategy regular check-ins and updates. Meet regularly to discuss the tracked metrics and identify what incentive can move the customer happiness needle the most.

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Use the right tools to accelerate the implementation of your customer experience strategy

Keboola can help you speed up the deployment of your CX strategy:

  1. Collect data from every customer journey touchpoint. Keboola automates data collection and loading from over 250 sources and destinations, without additional engineering or maintenance needed. From CRMs to ERPs and every other app in between, customer data from all your data sources can be automatically collected using devoted Keboola components. 
  2. Build customer experience metrics with Keboola’s Transformations and Data Science Flows. Keboola offers out-of-the-box tools for computing your own aggregate metrics to get an overall customer experience tracking system. 
  3. Send your cleaned data to the data warehouse of your choice. Or even a business intelligence tool. With the automated integrations, you can quickly visualize and monitor your customer experience metrics and build data tools that empower your workforce to delight customers by themselves. 

Try it for free. Keboola has an always-free, no-credit-card-required plan. So, you can implement your CX strategy with a couple of clicks. Feel free to give it a go or reach out to us if you have any questions.

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