In an age where customers are harder to reach than ever, you’d think that investment in customer experience (CX) would be at an all-time high.
If only. We recently carried out a study among senior marketers and the results highlighted practically the opposite: 36 per cent of CMOs admit their brand hasn’t invested in CX at all, even though 88 per cent expect a focused CX programme to yield long-term customer loyalty and increasing sales over time.
One of the top reasons cited for this under-investment was the perceived cost of implementation. Businesses know that marvelous customer experiences are central to success, but the perception is that it’s a big and expensive job so they’re side-stepping the issue – to their detriment.
So maybe it’s time you took a step back and realised it’s not as big a task as you might think. It’s time to ask what you can do in small, manageable ways to make your CX better.
Have a baseline
To know where to start, you need to know where your customer journey is currently good, bad and indifferent. What are the major pain points for your customers, and where will a small change make the biggest difference with the least effort and cost? You need that baseline to work from.
After all, there’s no point investing thousands improving your sales funnel, if a few simple changes to how you handle complaints will actually do a better job of improving customer satisfaction.
Identify what you want CX to achieve
As a priority, are you looking to increase revenue, lower costs or increase sales conversions? Or maybe you want to reduce the number of complaints and so need more employee training.
If you want to do all of that, then yes, CX is a huge job. So prioritise the most urgent pain point and work on that one first. And remember that the solution might not be obvious. First Bus is a case in point here – the business found that their drivers were reporting that they were unhappy in winter because the vehicles were always cold.
The solution? A £5 heater. And why did that help the company’s CX? Because the bus driver is a passenger’s first and last touchpoint with the brand as they get on and off the vehicle. A cheerful greeting from a warm, happy driver is a world apart from the grunt of a chilly, miserable one.
CX must always have the human touch
In some ways, the digital revolution has been harmful to brands’ perception of CX. In most cases, it’s not just about making the purchase journey as streamlined and hands-off as possible. Technology is only part of the equation and most businesses still have customers who want to talk with someone.
But despite this, there are many brands that make it incredibly difficult for people to speak to a human. Uber Eats is an example of this – the online delivery platform provides a truly fantastic service, but it all seems to fall down in the customer service department. Finding a number to speak to someone is virtually impossible, and this results in frustrating an already unhappy customer.
CX is more than just ‘ease of use’
CX is every interaction between customers and your business – a holistic, lifetime experience rather than something that just takes place at the point of purchase.
For example, after hearing about customers’ chagrin at the scratchy flight socks provided, one junior executive at Virgin inspired the airliner to sell ‘Happy Socks’ onboard (free for Upper Class travellers) to provide customers with something that made them feel special.
Empower your people to make changes
And if a junior exec has a great idea like that, you need to make sure the business will support and empower them to make the change. If you need the global procurement team to sign off every CX tweak, you’ve already lost.
Chris Barnes is customer experience officer at digital agency AmazeRealise
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