Chances are you’ve heard the term customer experience but did you know it doesn’t just refer to customer service? There are a million different levels to customer experience and we’ll be breaking many of them down in today’s blog, so you’ll want to read on. A recent Walker study found that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the end of next year. That’s just one of the many reasons you need to focus on customer experience in 2020.
Customer experience goes beyond having a fast response time on social. It is the sum of every interaction someone has with your brand from discovery to follow-up after purchase. Positive customer experiences can result in verbal recommendation of your brand from one person to another. Eighty-three percent of Americans are more interested in purchasing a product or service when they’ve received a verbal recommendation from a friend or family member. Intrigued? Read on for everything you need to know about customer experience in 2020.
Customer Experience Measures Feelings And Connection
Among my friends and family, I’m known as the referral queen. If I love something, I share it because I think others will love it too. That’s why I carry business cards for my favorite businesses with me everywhere I go. One of the ways you can measure how strong your brand’s customer experience is is by determining how likely your customers are to recommend you to others.
Recommendations don’t come from one positive interaction. With the amount of touch points technology has allowed for, customer expectations are higher than ever. That’s why it is essential that your brand or business is actively working to create real human connections with your customers.
I’ve referred dozens of people to my acupuncturist, and not just because I enjoy her treatments. From the second I walk into her office I feel at ease. The seating is stylish and comfortable, there is hot tea at the ready, and plants are tucked in every corner. She shows genuine interest in my life, and engages me in conversation about TV shows we both watch, stores we frequent, etc. Not too long ago, she listened to me freak out about choosing a new health insurance plan. After my appointment she took time to show me how to find the best one. Now that’s going above and beyond. It’s safe to say all these little things have resulted in a solid human connection that I feel compelled to share with others who may also benefit.
Customer Experience Starts At Discovery
How are people discovering your brand or business? It is through verbal referrals or are you seeing a lot of traffic from social media? Maybe you’ve been investing in search engine marketing, or maybe you are getting in front of people at events. Don’t know how your brand is being discovered? You’ll want to check out this blog on sentiment data.
The customer experience journey begins the first time a consumer lays eyes on your name. That’s why it is important to pay attention to both big and small things. From the overall message of an Instagram ad to your booth set-up at an event. What feelings are you trying to invoke with your ads? Why would someone be drawn to your display? When it comes to customer experience, first impressions matter.
The Purchase Experience Is Important, But It’s Not Everything
The next step in the customer journey is often the purchase. This may come immediately upon discovering your brand or after seeing several ads. While important, the purchasing process is not the be all end all.
You want the process to be easy and personalized in order to make a good impression. One of my favorite brands is Brooklyn Candle Studio. I love how fast their shipping is and that they include a card with each order that thanks me for my purchase. It also explains how to get the most out of my new candle. Sometimes, they’ll even tuck a set of matches inside the packaging.
All of the above are reasons why I would describe my customer experience with Brooklyn Candle Studio as positive. Even so, there have been other touchpoints I’ve had with the brand that have carried heavier weight in my overall experience.
Follow-Up Service Can Be A Deal-Maker or -Breaker
A consumer could be absolutely loving your product or service, but if they reach out to you with a question and are met with a robotic response, things could fall apart. Always consider how the consumer is feeling when interacting with your brand and take time to tailor communication with them to their situation.
Another aspect of this leg of the experience is being everywhere your customer is. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile, if it’s not, you could lose a lot of customers. Integrating text, social, email and instant messaging to provide a unified brand experience across multiple channels creates an omni-channel experience. A survey from PWC found that the number of companies investing in omni-channel experiences has jumped from 20% to more than 80% as we enter 2020 – showing just how many brands are focusing on customer experience in 2020.
Your Social Engagement Counts Too
Yep, it’s true. Even your social media posts contribute to customer experience. In fact, they can be a great way to create a stronger connection between consumers and your brand. Remember my acupuncturist? Connection isn’t just created in her office. She also happens to be one of my favorite follows on social because she shares fun content that makes me chuckle like the photo below.
The fun stuff is mixed in with tips about staying healthy in the winter, or cozy glimpses of her office, keeping it at the forefront of my mind even when I’m not there!
Outside of just having fun with your social media accounts, giving kudos to those who give kudos to you is another great way to foster connection. I recently showed off some new swag I got from Grounds & Hounds on my Instagram story and they not only replied, but added my post to their story as well. Small gestures like that can go a long way in contributing to a positive customer experience.
What You Need To Know About Customer Experience In 2020
As you move into the New Year, set aside some time to examine the experiences your brand is providing customers. If you find that you need to focus on customer experience in 2020 start with working on ways to create connection and spark positive emotion. Once you have that down, you can begin bringing that connection to all your brand’s touchpoints from discovery to purchase and follow-up.
What business or brand has given you the best customer experience? Share it with us in the comments!